Pregnancy and motherhood are stages in a woman’s life that are associated with tenderness and happiness, and although most of them are, there is a conversation that is not being had out loud, and it is related to body image and self-esteem after pregnancy.
After the physical and hormonal changes experienced over 40 weeks, it’s only natural that we don’t recognize the body we see in the mirror. Motherhood comes with a package of responsibilities and tasks that barely give us time to focus on getting back to our routines.
Not to mention that our body has undergone a myriad of changes, not only the growth of the belly that reaches an unimaginable size and sometimes causes the appearance of stretch marks. The breasts grow, the skin darkens, a black line appears across our belly, and we even suffer changes in the skin tone of the face.
To all this, we add the lack of sleep, the adaptation to a new life, breastfeeding, and the hormones that come and go at will causing mood swings among other things. It sounds incredible that a mother is still standing after all of the above, doesn’t it? Well that is where we will find the answer to how to accept our bodies.
Women who have experienced the wonder of bringing a being from within are capable of overcoming any obstacle. Before we scrutinize every physical detail in front of the mirror and give ourselves a harsh critique, we must begin by thanking this perfect instrument we call our body for all the work it has done to bring our little baby with health.
We must also think of all the work it continues to do to return the uterus to its place, to feed our offspring, and to satisfy all its daily needs. All that without first having the house spotless or attending to work calls. How amazing is our body, isn’t it?
Now, if after seeing all the positives, we still feel a sense of longing and want to go back to looking like we did before we became mothers, of course it is possible. Just remember that it has taken your body almost 10 months to get to where it is, don’t rush the process and respect the natural cycles of your body, which is unique and amazing.
The best advice we can give is to avoid comparisons and come to a real acceptance. Comparing ourselves with magazine celebrities who recover their physique in less than a month postpartum is neither healthy nor realistic, it is possible of course, with a lot of effort and help from third parties. But let’s not forget that every body is unique, genetics and metabolism play important roles.
On the other hand, we must be aware of the marvel that our body has just done, a couple of traces on the skin are well worth it. Eating healthy and resuming a physical exercise routine will help us improve our image, but the real work comes from the bottom line. Working on a positive body image and increasing our self-esteem requires more effort. Here are some tips to achieve it.
- Approach professionals, both to exercise and to follow a proper diet.
- Talk about your fears and difficulties with someone you trust or with a mental health professional.
- Focus your attention on the positive. Write down or say out loud the things you are grateful for, what went well in the day, what has improved.
- Set realistic goals and achievable objectives to avoid frustration.
- Accept your new self, your new body, and your new life. Motherhood is an ongoing learning process, you will not have all the answers by the time you give birth, be patient and remember to treat yourself with love every step of the way.