If you are a new mom, you may have come across more than one article praising a celebrity for getting back to her pre-pregnancy body just weeks after giving birth. For many moms, this blind praise for body shapes and sizes that are unrealistic can contribute to a feeling of defeat and depression. The reality is that pregnancy, especially the later terms, changes one’s body in many ways. Growing bellies stretch the skin and the hips may widen to ease the baby’s passage through the birth canal. You may also find that your breast size and shape changes, or that your foot size increases. Giving your body time to heal and adapt is vital to maintain both your physical and mental health. In what ways can you ensure you exercise self-kindness to your body during this unique time in your life?
Being a new parent can be a wonderful and stressful time, because you have to adapt to so many new changes and carry out a plethora of tasks for your baby, all while getting little sleep. Aim to remain grateful for the way your body has changed and the way it enables you to feed and hold your baby and provide all the care they need. Use a journal to list down around five things you are grateful for. Studies have shown that being thankful and joyful is one of the crucial pillars of living a good life.
Reframe Negative Beliefs into Possible Ones
Be vigilant of the negative messages you give yourself. If you find that you are telling yourself things like “I hate the way my body looks now,” or “I can’t stand my stretch marks,” try to reframe them into more positive ones. For instance, you can tell yourself, “My body is different now because I have had a baby and it has had to change for my and my baby’s wellbeing,” or “I am grateful that my skin has stretched so it could accommodate my growing baby.” Let your actions back up your statements. For instance, don’t try on your pre-pregnancy clothes as you may simply feel frustrated if the fit is tight. Try to shop for new items that are comfortable and that make you feel beautiful. Aim to disassociate change from negative self-perception. Start with pretty underwear, opting for supportive briefs and tops that are soft and stretchy. Today’s supportive underwear is so much more beautiful than in decades past. One trend that is big in the world of lingerie is skin-toned or neutral-hued items that exude elegance and timeless appeal.
Aim to Be in a Place of Acceptance
Some people encourage body positivity post-pregnancy, but you may find that telling yourself you love your body just now is unrealistic. If you aim for a place of acceptance instead of forcing yourself to send messages to yourself that don’t feel authentic, you can achieve better results. Mindfulness meditation can help you deal with emotions (both positive and negative) while separating them from who you are. It is okay to occasionally feel down, annoyed, or mad about the changes that have taken place in your body. In mindfulness, the aim is to recognize and accept these emotions, while realizing they are not permanent or definitive.
There are many incredible changes that take place in your body when you are pregnant and when you give birth. You may find it challenging to accept them and be tempted to rush into activities like workouts or weight loss regimens. Remember that the first few weeks and months after your baby is born is a time for healing and bonding. Embrace healthy food and regular activity, without setting unrealistic expectations. Aim to be grateful and rely on mindfulness-based activities to help minimize the effect that negative thoughts can have on you.