If there’s one thing mothers understand, it’s that the experiences of being pregnant and giving birth can look different. As much as moms are seemingly hailed as superheroes for carrying and birthing life, the same moms are also shamed if their bodies do not look a certain way post-birth. Does anyone else think that’s unfair?
From hormonal shifts to internal and external body change during pregnancy, why are women really expected to look a certain way during the postpartum stage? As sad as it is, it’s even worse that some moms place unnecessary pressure on themselves to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back. It’s one thing if you’re genuinely doing it for yourself, but the moment the motivations becomes about what other people think, unnecessary stress begins to pile up like last week’s laundry.
If we can give ourselves grace for not having every inch of our homes look perfect, then we should be able to extend that same grace to our bodies. At the time same, I understand the struggle of accepting a body that’s postpartum. At nearly a year postpartum, I’ve only lost about half the weight I gained during pregnancy.
If we can give ourselves grace for not having every inch of our homes look perfect, then we should be able to extend that same grace to our bodies.
However, with the help of therapy, I had to remember that it’s not my job to snap back because of society’s expectations. If you need a reminder that your body doesn’t have to look a certain way based on cultural ideals, here are a few things to help you remember that your body is OK as is.
You Don’t Owe Anyone a Perfect Version of Yourself
This is true regardless of your birthing experience. Perfection simply doesn’t exist no matter how many times society tries to sell it to us. It’s our job to be mothers to our children, however that looks and feels for us.
Remember Your Body Was Your Baby’s First Home
And you likely cared for it well during pregnancy. Maybe you gave up your beloved lattes or favorite wine. You probably went to all the appointments and dealt with all the pregnancy ailments. Carrying a child is no easy feat. The only thing that immediately changes after giving birth is the sharp decline in hormone levels, so there’s no way we should expect our body to easily revert to its former self. Instead, we can change our inner dialogue to focus on gratitude for the body that carried and birthed our new babies.
Your Overall Wellness Matters More
With postpartum depression affecting 1 in 7 women, the last thing we need to do is put more pressure on our minds. We receive one postpartum checkup compared to many prenatal checkups, so it’s easy to succumb to depression or anxiety after giving birth. Motherhood can be huge adjustment. Plus, our bodies already have to physically heal from giving birth. Focus on overall wellness rather than snapping back to our pre-baby selves.
Choose Health Goals That Are Realistic for You
Of course, it’s OK to set certain health goals for yourself. These health goals do not have to be for anyone except you and can be set on a timeline that feels comfortable.
Give Yourself Grace
Contrary to societal beliefs, we are not superheroes who possess an unlimited threshold. We try to push ourselves beyond our limits, even after we’ve just given birth. We need to extend ourselves the same grace we give others. We can only do so much and take on so much during postpartum. It’s OK to be gentle with ourselves.
We as women already receive so many opinions about ourselves that the last thing we need to do is punish ourselves for not being someone else’s idea of perfection. Your body, no matter what stage of life you’re in, belongs to you. If you don’t want to snap back, then you don’t have to. You can enjoy every part of your body however you want and other people will either deal with it or they won’t.