My baby turned one this week. My second and final (well as far as we have planned) baby that is. Of course, I am a mess of emotions and feeling the “it goes so fast!” like crazy but I have also noticed that I have had some thoughts this week while checking out my postpartum body and thinking about the baby weight and where I am with it.
Loving your Postpartum Body no matter how postpartum you are.
In this stage of my life, I am not big on scales and weights and diets and all of that but at the same time I strive to be fit and eat well. I want to feel my best in my body but I also want to enjoy my life! So I didn’t pressure myself to lose the baby weight by a certain time.
I’ve noticed some things since giving birth this second time. I am way more compassionate with my body and my feelings about my body. You know how when you are pregnant your hand naturally comes lovingly to sit on your belly. Whether you are standing or sitting. It’s such a sweet gesture. Showing our little baby love and our own body love and appreciation as well. For months and months since having my baby I have realized I still do this!
I first caught myself doing just a couple of months after my second was born. I would be sitting on the couch relaxing after my kids went to sleep and my had would come to rest on my pooch of a belly. I would suddenly remember there is no baby in there, that’s just your stomach and pull my hand back right away as if I was doing something wrong. Like it was wrong to show affection to my stomach if there was no baby inside.
Show Love to your Postpartum Body
But every time I caught myself and realized or reaffirmed to my judgy mind that I am allowed to show love for myself, for my body. Even if there is no baby inside me. Even if there is not a flat stomach. This thing that happens so naturally when pregnant, women placing their hands lovingly on their bellies, likely NEVER happens to the non-pregnant. Because pregnant we are showing love to the baby inside, not our bodies but we deserve that love too. That unconscious love that brings our hands to our bellies in adoration.
Even this past week I caught myself to be doing this! I was out in public at a park watching my toddler run around and realized I was standing there holding even rubbing my belly. I immediately thought what am I doing?! But then I thought why is this wrong?
My body is amazing and resilient and it deserves my love. It may not be my dream body. I may not have lost all of the baby weight even a year later. I may not be in as shape as I could be. Yet, when I find myself in the mirror, even naked I don’t flinch or grimace or feel shame
Being patient with your postpartum body & embracing the accomplishments
Yes, I do want to be fitter and firmer but more so because it makes me feel good not because I don’t feel enough as I am. Not because being a certain size, or weight or look will make be better somehow. Feeling strong, flexible and alive feels good and the movement helps my mind. For me working out makes me stronger not just in my body but my mind, my goals, my commitments, my life.
Another thing I have noticed is not just compassion for how my body looks but for how it feels. My body is not at all as flexible and strong as it once was. Sometimes when I fit in a yoga flow or even a few stretches and am slightly shocked to find how unlimber I am. How things that used to be so fluid to me take way more space, more breath, more care.
Where long ago I might become frustrated that I am so far from where I once was and what used to feel so natural to me, instead I feel excitement at remembering what is possible. Of what will come.
Instead of being frustrated and pushing myself too hard. I allow the openness to come naturally and I truly feel excitement for getting back to the flexier me that once was. And hey maybe someday I will finally be able to hold a fancy handstand far far away from a wall. It’s possible and it will come in its own time.
I am feeling so much compassion with myself. It feels better this way. Too not beat myself up. To not look in the mirror at my stomach and legs and arms with shame. Do I wish they were smaller and more firm? Yes. And I am creating the space for that to happen without shame or disgust or shoulds.
I am loving myself where I am. For what I am. And that love and appreciation inspires me to take the best care of me and sometimes that means fitting in 45 minute workout during naptime and sometimes that means laying with my legs up the wall and doing nothing else.
Meet yourself where you are
I don’t know if it’s my age or having birthed to kids in two years or the culmination of decades of a growing self love practice and teaching, but damn it feels good to be fully accepting, fully loving of myself inside and out.
Meet yourself where you are. Love yourself where you are and for who you are right now. That is the way to create change. Not from self loathing. Because it is likely even when you do lose weight or get in better shape you still will be self loathing and looking for the next fix to make you feel better.
Start on the inside and the outside will come naturally and be more sustainable because it will come from love and appreciation not loathing and comparison.
I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for my journey. I am so grateful for my two beautiful girls! I will be over here holding my hand lovingly over my stomach with no shame from here on out.
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