I clumsily stumbled out of bed one morning with sleep-swollen eyes. My daughter was curled up tightly against the middle of my husband’s back, sleeping soundly (finally). I kissed him, felt around for pants, then went to wash my face.
On my way out of the bathroom, I stopped in front of the mirror and studied myself for a bit. It seemed that I had traded my young, 26-year-old body for this unrecognizable, stripey one. I went from a size 0 to a 6, 100 pounds to 120. (I suppose popping a human out of your nether-regions will do that… but still.)
Yesterday marked 4 months postpartum and I’m just now beginning to bounce back. My breasts, thighs and stomach are adorned with narrow marks, reminding me of the tiny human that my body made from scratch within 9 months. The creases around my eyes are slightly more prominent. I look tired, but different tired.
The first month after I gave birth was the toughest time for me. It would anger me so much when I saw new moms out and about with their newborns, hair curled and make up done. How did they manage that?!?! Why did they look so fantastic and I looked so dumpy?!
Mama’s, it’s true: you are your toughest critic.
Postpartum body acceptance is challenging for a lot of us, but there are ways to make it a little more bearable.
I know what you’re thinking: HOW and WHEN are you supposed to find time to do this?? You just have to. Whenever my daughter went down for a nap, I forced myself to do something for self care; using a face mask to clean up my pores, cleaning my room, making myself a healthy lunch that wasn’t fast food, or deep conditioning my hair.
(SIDE NOTE: Speaking of deep conditioning, my hair was a WRECK after I had my baby. It must be from hormone changes. I mean, it was not even BRUSHABLE. I had constant knots all the time and my hair became brittle and was falling out. I SWEAR by this hair mask. I will never, ever, ever use anything ever again and it’s only $10 on Amazon. There’s a little pro-tip from me to you!)
I’m also totally guilty of splurging a bit on clothes right after birth. Nope, I didn’t go for pre-baby clothes, but I did buy some super awesome over-sized T-shirts that made me look skinnier than I actually was (shh, don’t tell anyone!).
Dance It Out
Sure, it sounds funny, but I felt a WHOLE TON better about life when I was shakin’ it to Rihanna in my bedroom. Plus, it’s good exercise for you! I felt my sexiest right after a hot shower; I was clean, I smelled nice, and I was feeling confident.
Eat Right, Sleep When You Can
Your body and mind can’t do their jobs if you don’t give them the proper tools to do them. Having a baby is probably the toughest thing you’ll ever physically go through, and you need to fuel your body for recovery! If cooking is out of the question with a newborn, then try to stock up before the big day. Pack loads of freezer meals so you can just toss them in a crock pot or casserole dish for dinner.
How many times have you heard sleep when baby sleeps? There’s a reason for that! I WISH I had taken advantage of all the naps my daughter took. I was so caught up with cleaning, or doing laundry. Sleep, sleep, SLEEP!
Remember How AMAZING You Are!
Mama, your body MADE A HUMAN!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes, all it took for me was to hold my sweet little baby in my arms, breathe in her baby smell to remind me of the miracle I was blessed enough to be a part of.
But, when all else fails….
A Little Pump and Dump Never Hurt Anyone
Oh, my beloved Cabernet, where would I be without you? All I’m saying is, a glass of wine/or a bottle of a nice beer does wonders for relaxing at the end of the day.
I think that I was half-expecting to feel the change of motherhood overnight: there would instantly be that spark between us, she would fall asleep in my arms and I’d wake up in my brand new identity: mom. That’s pretty much just in the movies, but hey, that’s okay!
Every other part of my life is learning how to wrap around this role, too. My friendships, my marriage, my identity as a woman in her mid-20s… it’s all different and every day I’m finding out more about myself.
Just take it one day at a time, mama.
Psst… if you liked this post, you might enjoy my 5 Must Know Tips on Surviving Your First Week With Your Newborn.
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