I knew pregnancy was gonna do some damage to my body but I was no where near ready for the hurricane that actually hit me after birthing three kids-one singleton and then twins!
I could handle the stretch marks that looked like a road map across my belly (I’d already gained most of them from growing up a fat kid). The fact that I pee’d whenever I sneezed or laughed really hard wasn’t ideal but I could deal with that, too.
It was extra weight that really made me lose it.
Those last lingering pounds post pregnancy that you hear moms endlessly banter on about for what seems like from the moment they give birth until the moment they die…I was now one of those moms.
I would torture myself by looking at photos of a slimmer me in my wedding dress, just praying that I could get back to that pre-baby weight. (Why do we hold a blue ribbon for those who are capable of “achieving” the great triumph of squeezing their post baby bodies back into their wedding dress, while the rest of us are simply handed an honorable mention for at least showing up to birth of our own child?)
It did not take long to realize, however, that the body I had started out with in that photo was not the body I had ended up with.
What did take long?
Being willing to accept it.
Ask me what I felt about my body before babies and I might have had some complaints but that was mainly because I was forever working to “fix” my body.
It was always under construction.
Keeping my eyes on the “final product” of my figure kept my positivity around it at a decent level. I just kept believing that soon it would be where I wanted it to be. Of course, the “final product” did not factor in the effects and delays pregnancy and child birth would have on it.
Let’s just say, I wasn’t prepared to have to draw up an entire new blue print of my body because of babies.
Since dieting was my jam at the time, I had an arsenal of tricks in my bag for burning off those brazen pounds. I was strapped for stripping that post pregnancy pooch down to size and I was confident I would see success.
Until nothing I tried worked…. and I tried everything!
- I prayed God would make me thinner
- I cut out entire food groups
- Tried absurd diets (Oh, hello diet where I only ate cold potatoes for 7 days)
- Exercised no matter how tired I was or unmotivated I felt
- Skipped meals
- Skipped social events for fear of temptation to over eat or
- Weighed my self all day long
- Took my measurements after every meal and again before bed
I remained the exact same weight, right down to the ounce.
I also began to really hate my body. I was bitter towards it for not giving me what I wanted. What I felt I “deserved.” What I had been able to “achieve” before babies.
I started to feel out of control, a total disconnect with myself. I was spending whatever physical and mental energy left over from being a mom on being a thinner mom.
I grew anxious, depressed, un-focused. Childrearing took enough of a toll in itself but add in my insane need to retrieve the body of days past and I was heading down a slope of major mama stress.
I realized somewhere down the line, I had become obsessed with achieving the body I had previously resided in… perhaps to feel as though I had still owned a piece of the previous me, my previous life before kids. One where I had freedom… and a flatter belly.
That was when everything changed.
I woke up and took notice of the way I was leading my life. Everything was focused on looking better.
Why was “better” before and what I looked like now no longer good?
This was not how I wanted to go through life. It was not how God created me to go through life. I wanted to enjoy being a mom, not exist only to be another post-baby weight-loss story.
Once I started down that path, these were the three biggest lessons I learned about having a healthier body image post pregnancy.
1.) Your Weight Is Not Your Worth:
Pregnancy changes your body. No doubt about it. What is doesn’t change is your value as a person. In fact, pregnancy increases your value because now you are a mother! You are responsible for raising a beautiful new life that depends upon your very well being.
It can be super hard to switch gears and get our mindset into this new mode of thinking when before, so much of what we based our value off of was our looks.
Still, this is the beauty of motherhood.
You get the opportunity to chose (and it is a choice) how you will embrace this new body in this new season of life. You get to really take hold of the fact that you have a precious child who loves and adores you based off nothing more than the fact that you are their mother. In other words, you are already all that they need. You are already perfect for them. What your body looks like holds zero value in the equation. The only person on team baby who is putting weight into her worth is you. So chill out, kiss your cuddle-bug and own the awe-inspiring fact that you are their world and you are enough!
2.) Every Moment Counts
Motherhood is a master at reminding us to stay in the present moment. The same thing goes for what we think about our bodies.
We have a tendency to look towards the future with everything. We worry about what our sex life will be like with our postpartum body. Or how we will look in a swimsuit. Trying to imagine what our lives will be like with our bodies somewhere in the future is about as pointless as tits on a bull. (You can thank my husband for reminding me of that saying, LOL.)
When we focus on the future we are poo-poo-ing on the present.
Life is about the present!
It makes no sense to look beyond this moment because outside this moment you may not even be alive. Tomorrow may never come. So where is the point in living in tomorrow when you are really only alive presently, today?
It’s only in this moment that you are living and breathing. It’s only in this moment that you are able to hold your fresh new life that was created and birthed out of that amazing body of yours. It’s only in this moment that you have the life-bearing body you have. So rock it!
3.) Acceptance Is Key
Weight gain due to pregnancy is rough. You have hormones literally driving you to eat. Your body actually needs the extra weight not just to grow the baby but also to supply the milk to feed it (if you decide and are able to go that route).
In other words, our bodies change big- time through pregnancy….
This is not a battle to fight. It is a biological fact to accept.
For the longest time I felt like accepting my body as it is now was as though I was giving up on it. I worried that I was sending the world a message that now I was a mom, I had a mom-bod and I was just too lazy and tired to care about keeping up my old appearance.
Now, I just don’t give a hoot what the world thinks about my body. It is no more the world’s business about my body as it is how I choose to raise my own boys.
All that worrying and carrying about what other’s think about my body is what had kept me for most of my life not accepting it. It was always a work in progress. Now, it is just a work of art.
The real truth about acceptance over your postpartum body is this: To actually have an authentic and unwavering positive body image, you have to accept your body…no matter the image.
It’s a daily practice I’m learning to be at one with my post baby- bod. One that , although not always perfect at, I’m happy with. Perfection around my body no longer exists. Peace has taken perfection’s place.
I no longer compare my body to super models or certain mama friends. To compare is to show discontent. Honestly, when I think of what having my children has done for my life, discontent is the farthest from my mind.
We all need as much prayer as we can get. It gives me such joy to be able to pray for all of you. If you are struggling with anything today, please give me the honor of a free prayer session to help get you out of the bondage you are feeling right now.
It’s time to let God take control of your food compulsions so that you can live your life fully, just as he has done for me!
Why go on with the anxiety, depression and utter confusion around food and your body image?
You know that you serve an awesome and powerful God who is ready to change your life TODAY!
If you want in on that life, Sign up to get on my list for private coaching this August! Spaces are limited, so act fast.