I find it amazing that when searching on the internet for things relating to postpartum body changes, the main search predictions that come up are ‘losing postpartum weight’ or ‘getting your body back after pregnancy’. I look in awe and genuinely cannot understand why ‘loving/accepting your postpartum body’ is not up there.
Yes. There are some women who bounce back after pregnancy or lose the weight relatively quickly or don’t get stretchmarks, but likewise, there are women who don’t bounce back. Whose body type or shape completely changes. Whose skin becomes more prone to spots or dries out quicker than it used to. These changes are normal too.
After having my first my body shape changed considerably. I went from being an hour glass figure to being and incredibly busty, somewhat pear shape. It took me a very long time to shift even half the weight I gained during pregnancy, whereas prior to getting pregnant, I was able to lose weight quite quickly. I remember feeling at my absolute lowest when I saw someone that I had a crush on in my teen years and he said to me that ‘I’d let myself go.’ This was when my son was about two and I still wasn’t at my pre-pregnancy weight or even anywhere near it. I felt both ashamed and mortified that I had indeed ‘let myself go’. Or at least, that was how I saw it at the time.
Eight years on I met my future husband and I was still on a body-confidence journey. Not a weight-loss journey, (though I did have some weight to lose) but a journey to love the skin I was in and accept the changes that my body had been through. After all, I had carried a baby for nine months and been through a distressing break up part way through that. My lifestyle had changed, as had my diet, so expecting to return to the person I had been before my son was born was just unrealistic.
I began to explore ways to simply accept myself. To love myself. My son loved me as I was, so how could I not? It took a lot of mental fortitude to develop a positive mindset towards myself. A journey of self-love and acceptance is not an easy one and at times it feels impossible. Yet, it isn’t impossible and once I found that deep rooted ability to accept myself as I accept others, doors began to open. I had another baby, my little girl.
If there is ever a reason for a woman to fortify her love of herself, it is when they have a little girl to teach that same valuable lesson to.
My journey is still ongoing and I found that finding and exploring my style, pursuing my passion for writing and in general doing the things that I love, have helped me to love a whole lot better. Not just others, but mostly myself. Since it’s so much easier to love others when you love yourself.