For each of the last four years, I’ve either been pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding. So it’s no surprise that looking in the mirror is a totally different experience now than it was BC (before children). Granted, I didn’t even have the most confidence about my body prior to my first pregnancy, which is unfortunately the norm for most women. But at least I could count on perky boobs and smooth skin on my stomach with a can-do attitude (RIP). That’s obviously not the case anymore.
Some days I feel like I can’t even recognize myself, and I know I’m not alone here. Creating another human being has altered every aspect of my life, and oftentimes it’s impossible not to miss what I used to look like—especially in a society that’s so obsessed with “bouncing back” after baby. Just tack that on to the never-ending list of pressures mothers face every single day.
However, something clicked after having my second baby. One day I caught myself scrolling through old photos of me at my thinnest, thinking, “Damn, why didn’t I love my body then?!” I stopped dead in my tracks and realized this is how I would spend the next 20 years of my life–looking back and wishing I’d loved myself then/now. I decided right then that I would break this endless cycle. And while loving myself in the trenches of postpartum feels a bit too difficult, I can at least learn to appreciate all that my body has done for me. Below are the five things I’ve done to help rebuild my confidence after having kids.
I ditched the pre-pregnancy undies.
Let’s be honest here. We’re really not doing ourselves any favors with those PINK panties from six years ago that are frankly hanging on by a thread and a prayer. Yes, I know they’re comfy, but it’s time to move on. Same goes for the crusty nursing bra with permanent nipple cream stains. Our bodies have been through hell and back growing these tiny humans; the least we can do is invest in high-quality intimates.
When our undies fit seamlessly they help our clothes do the same, and that’s just a fact. Well-fitting clothing will boost anyone’s wilting self-confidence. Therefore, having the right bra will simultaneously lift your girls AND your spirits. That’s why we’ve partnered with Harper Wilde, an intimates brand passionate about creating bras that empower women.
Our collab features the the Bliss Triangle bralette with our custom quote “Emotional Support Bra” embroidered on the back. It’s wireless, buttery smooth, and perfect for everyday wear. I’ve been wearing it nonstop and can even easily nurse my daughter with it. In the process of building my confidence after kids, it really has supported me in every way possible.
I changed my mindset from body positivity to body neutrality.
I wholeheartedly appreciate the body positivity movement and all it’s done to combat harmful body stigmas in mainstream society. There’s been a radical shift in how the media portrays curvy and plus-sized people in just the last 10 years, and for that I’m grateful. Nevertheless, the pressure to be “positive” about our bodies can be overwhelming in seasons when we’re just struggling to not outright hate ourselves.
This has led me to embrace body neutrality during periods when self-love feels too radical. Body neutrality focuses on taking care of our bodies regardless of how we view ourselves in that moment. This can include eating a well-rounded meal or going for a walk around the block. Sometimes the bare minimum is all we can muster, and that’s okay too.
I started being IN the moment rather than just documenting the moment.
This may make you feel panicky, but I try taking photos of myself or including myself in photos with my kids when I’m feeling insecure. It may seem inconceivable to actively photograph yourself when you’d literally rather hide behind a curtain, but you’ll regret hiding behind the camera in 10 or 15 years when you look back at those memories and realize you excluded yourself from them. Our kids won’t notice the cellulite when they look at the photo of their mom playing with them—they’ll just be happy to have captured a moment with their mother.
Our kids won’t notice the cellulite when they look at the photo of their mom playing with them—they’ll just be happy to have captured a moment with their mother.
I started acknowledging the negative self-talk and moving on.
We all have that incessant voice in our head that won’t shut up. It reminds us of every embarrassing moment we’ve ever lived through and never ceases to point out imperfections. Ignoring it doesn’t work for me because the thoughts just end up coming back around, so I’ve decided to face them head-on instead. Any time the voice pops up, I stop, acknowledge the insecurity, then politely tell it to move the hell on. This isn’t a foolproof method, but it does help me move past the intrusive thought and onto more important matters.
I make my body FEEL good.
Whether that’s through exercise, meals, or (gasp!) sex. When you’re feeling insecure about your image, the last thing you’re thinking of is baring yourself to someone else. But 99 percent of the time, we are our harshest critics. I guarantee that if you have a partner, they count themselves lucky to see you in your simplest form. Watching someone desire you can be an incredible confidence-booster.
And if you don’t have a partner, take steps to begin desiring yourself. Allow yourself some solo time after the kids go to bed and focus on making your body feel good through self-care or self-pleasure, whatever works best for you! When our bodies are being taken care of, our minds will naturally begin to shift toward more positive thoughts.
The Everygirl designed a product line included below in collaboration with Harper Wilde. If you buy a piece from our collection or any other product through our affiliate links, we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.