6 Ways New Moms Are Learning to Love Their Postpartum Bodies

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After giving birth, your whole life changes. Not only do you have a tiny human to care for, you also have to come to terms with how pregnancy and birth has changed you as a person, both inside and out — including how you look. Previously, moms were obsessed with getting their “pre-baby bodies” back, but over the past few years, a new movement has started to help moms embrace their postpartum bodies. Here are six things that new moms can do on their new journey of self-acceptance:

Focus on what your body can do, not how it looks

Pregnancy brings a whole host of physical changes, some of them permanent: postpartum incontinence, larger breasts, wider hips, darker nipples, stretch marks everywhere. With this many changes happening, it can be tempting to focus on your appearance and how you no longer look the same as you did before you got pregnant. While this impulse is understandable, try not to get hung up on your appearance. Instead, focus on your body and what it has done for you. After all, it nurtured an entire baby for nine months and then gave birth to an infant, and that is pretty amazing!

Don’t forget practical self-care

When you have a new baby, taking care of them is first priority and everything else goes out in the window — including taking care of yourself. Poor sleep, a bad diet, and lack of exercise can make anyone feel bad about themselves and how they look (not to mention that you also have to contend with post-pregnancy hormones that can cause bad mood swings). If you suddenly hate everything about yourself and how you look, do a check-in with yourself. Have you had enough water today? When was the last time you ate, and what did you eat? How much sleep did you get last night? You might be surprised how much these mundane factors can affect your self-image. While you might not be able to fix all of them (the baby might not let you sleep through the night!), taking control of what you can will go a long way towards helping you feel better.

new bourn baby

Source: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

Try a post-birth ‘boudoir’ photoshoot

Lots of expectant moms do a pre-birth photoshoot, showing off their pregnant body in all its glory. While many women also do a newborn photoshoot, they often cover themselves up with large sweaters and flowy pants, hiding their postpartum body and placing the focus on their little infant instead. However, now some new moms are doing post-birth “boudoir” photoshoots in only their bras and underwear, showing off their stretch marks, saggy bellies, and other hallmarks of pregnancy. Some of the boudoir photography options are more conservative — some moms even include their kids — while others lean towards the sexier side. Betsy McCue, a Lansing boudoir photographer shares that if you’re struggling to embrace your postpartum body, showing it the same photography attention you did during pregnancy might help you see that it is something to be celebrated.

See what other new moms are saying

When you’re a new mom, you might frequently feel isolated and alone. Not only are your social outings curtailed by the arrival of a baby, but your pre-pregnancy friends also might not understand what you’re going through if they don’t have kids. Reaching out to other moms and making friends with them can go a long way towards making you feel like you are part of a community that understands you. Whether you’re struggling with cracked nipples, having to use incontinence products for women, or body image, other moms will understand what you are going through and can offer advice and commiseration. It can also be really inspiring to see other moms embracing their postpartum bodies, which might help you do the same with your own.

mom and baby

Source: faithie/Shutterstock.com

Don’t hang onto your old clothes for too long

It’s smart to hold onto your pre-pregnancy clothes for a while. Many women do lose at least some of the weight, and lots of those clothing items can be worn again eventually. However, you might never get back to your exact pre-pregnancy weight, and even if you do, you might find that your old clothes still don’t fit due to other physical changes (such as your hips getting wider). If it’s been a year or two and you’re still hanging onto your old, ill-fitting clothes, it might be time for a wardrobe makeover. Quit beating yourself up for not being the size or shape you once were, and embrace your new body by buying clothes that fit you now. Your body gave birth to a baby and it deserves to wear some clothes that fit and look good.

Reconsider your relationship with food and working out

Before they get pregnant, many women obsess over-exercising and dieting because of the effect it has on their appearance. Once they conceive, their focus shifts to be as strong and healthy as they can be for their growing baby. But that doesn’t always last for long. Many women revert right back to their old way of thinking as soon as they give birth. Rather than viewing exercise and eating as a way to stay strong, they suddenly see it as a way to lose the baby weight (or to tighten their vagina with pelvic floor exercises). Instead of fixating on how what you eat and how you work out can help you lose weight, try to keep that mindset of staying strong and healthy instead. After all, just because you gave birth doesn’t mean that you don’t need to stay healthy anymore — now you have a little one to run after!

Embracing your postpartum body is an ongoing journey, but it’s a very worthy one to embark on. If you’re struggling with your appearance after giving birth, try one of these six pieces of advice to see if it helps you see your body in a new, more positive light.

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