You know there are a lot of things about having a baby that people don't really tell you. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before but before I had Luca, I pictured postpartum life as a delightful break from working, unlimited baby snuggles and free time to do whatever I please...HAHA.
Obviously, I was naive in my thinking and I learned that being a mom is the hardest job ever pretty quickly but I didn't expect as many, let's just put it as "surprises", that came with the postpartum body.
Let's talk about a few of those "surprises"...Now this may not be the case for everyone but before I was pregnant I was literally cold ALL THE TIME. Enter postpartum life where I would literally soak through sheets at night...it's tamed down now but still I haven't felt cold in a long time.
Another thing I didn't expect was to be in MAD PAIN. Birth was a flipping marathon...and pushing for almost 3 hours did a number on me and my body...I won't get into any details but let's just say, I took longer than I thought I needed to recover and heal...and dear Lord, remind me to invest in a donut pillow before I give birth again.
One more thing that I didn't really think about was postpartum body. I gained 45lbs with Luca, and like most of the naive world, I thought the pounds would just shed off with breastfeeding. A lot has but not all of it and what I'm left with is a body that's veeerrrrry different than before. A few years back God really healed me of some body issues (I wrote about that here!) But with this postpartum body, I found myself getting close to going down that old path of shaming and self-loathing....but thankfully by the grace of God (and encouragement from my sweet hubby) I'm beating those postpartum body blues.
Here are three ways I'm beating those postpartum body blues:
1. STOP COMPARING
I've written before on comparison but it is one I constantly have to say OH HECK NO to. Comparison is something that so many women deal with and it seriously rears its ugly head in every new season...especially in this whole mom thing. (PS. If you're local to Victoria, my church's womens group is doing a study on comparison on Wednesday mornings!)
I definitely found myself looking at other women who had babies (in real life and celebrities, ha) and being jealous/sad that the weight seemed to fall off of them. Why wasn't it flying off of me!!?? I needed to give my head a good shake and remember that we were all created differently (with different metabolisms and finances that afford personal trainers and chefs ha) and comparing myself to others would get me nowhere. Instead of comparing my body to others I needed to embrace the change taking place within myself.
2. EMBRACE THE CHANGE
Becoming a mom changes you. I did not expect this much change but I am definitely not the woman I used to be. Motherhood is not my sole identity (post coming soon on this!) but a part of me and it has changed me for life. So often the media celebrates women who bounce quickly back to their pre-baby body. But the thing about motherhood is, you're not meant to bounce back (found this article so beautiful on this!) You're different in mind, body and spirit and that is a beautiful thing.
I'm learning to embrace the change of motherhood. I feel stronger than ever before and when I look in the mirror at my jiggly stomach, instead of thinking ugggh, I see it as a reminder that I GREW A HUMAN BEING AND THEN BIRTHED THAT HUMAN BEING...THAT IS PRETTY FREAKING AMAZING. And now I get to snuggle that human being endlessly until he is 30.
So if you find yourself looking in the mirror wishing you would look like you used to look...please remind yourself that your body created life. And that is a very, very beautiful and selfless thing.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF + BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Self-care for a momma is SO IMPORTANT. At the beginning I struggled with a lot of anxiety. My whole world was wrapped up in the little lion and I was pouring myself into him (literally as well lols). I didn't take any time for myself and I didn't take care of my body whatsoever. I ate like crap and was feeling like that too. My self-care had gone down the toilet.
But the moment I started eating healthier and exercising, I felt a world of difference. And I didn't go crazy like I would have in the past. I just started being accountable to what I was putting in my body (I use my fitness pal to track calories with my goal being around 2300) and started to exercise gently.
I'm also refusing to use shame as a motivator. Like I said in this post, my goal is to be healthy and not shame myself because shame is THE WORST motivator.
I'm also learning to give myself GRACE and to be kind to myself. Again, I'm referencing the post I just linked to but seriously...speaking God's word over yourself can truly transform your mindset. And this is for all the non-moms too...please be kind to yourselves. You are beautiful, you are valuable, you are loved.
These three things have helped me kick the postpartum body blues but I know everyone is different and different things work for different people (like hello mom of 3 kids, how do you do what you do!).