Post-Baby Body Acceptance: Motherhood Made Me Kinder to Myself

post-baby-body-585We’ve talked a lot lately about cutting our mom-selves some slack. From telling your inner critic to take a hike to writing yourself love letters, Valentine’s Day was all about mama-love. I talked about whether moms are aware of the comments they make about their bodies now that they have kids—and little ears and eyes listening and watching at all times. And it got me wondering how other moms feel about their bodies and whether they’re easier on themselves now that they have kids.

Pregnancy and childbirth put you through the physical ringer. From pregnancy aches and pains to postpartum loss of pee control to leaking boobs while breastfeeding, the whole physical experience of motherhood is like no other. It took me a full year to lose the baby weight with my daughter, but this time around, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight at six months postpartum. I attribute it to chasing around two kids non-stop, all day and night. But even though I’m the same weight, my bod isn’t quite the same. Weight has shifted around, skin is a little looser; things are just…different. Not necessarily bad, but certainly different. But whereas in my pre-kid days I may have been more concerned about hitting the gym and tightening things up, I’ve found that I just don’t care. My focus is elsewhere; my mind is too occupied with other things. Sure, I work out. But it’s to stay strong and be able to keep up with the little crazy people; not so my stomach looks awesome when I hit the beach in a bikini.

The process of pregnancy and childbirth still boggles my mind. The body is capable of ridiculous and amazing things; I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that each of my kids spent 35 weeks growing in my belly, and I think it’s that appreciation that forces me to ease up on my personal standards for fitness. And whether you have C-section scars or stretch marks, haven’t lost the baby weight, or just feel like you have a ways to go in the fitness department, you should be easy on yourself, too. Because damn, you made a human. With your body.

How about you? Are you kinder to yourself now that you’ve  had kids? Or did your body image suffer? —Erin

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  1. Deauna says:

    I had my last kid 12.5 years ago, so I’ve accepted the baby poof of a stomach and I’ve even accepted the extra 20 pounds since I had my son in 1996. I’m at a point now where I also want to stay fit and I’m not concerned about a bikini. Heck, I don’t even SWIM so that’s an irrational goal for me.

    It took me a long time though to realize that I didn’t want to be the weight I was when I was 20. When I realized that I’d grown (physically and mentally), I shifted my thinking and started buying clothes that flattered my figure instead of highlighting what I didn’t want in the spotlight.

  2. Jessica says:

    While I still want to lose the weight I gained with my pregnancy (my little one just turned 1 and I have 25 lbs to lose), I’m not really trying to get my body shape back exactly like it was. I don’t think that’s realistic. And while I want to be able to wear my old clothes and be more fit, there are times when I think my extra weight is a nice comfy pillow for my little guy and he wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable curled up against a firm, skinny body. That thought keeps me from being too hard on myself. Having a kid definitely motivates me to try to be healthy so I can set a good example and live a long life, but I’m less worried about attaining a certain look.

  3. MsFitfreak says:

    Hooray! We all need to fight against the notion that women need to have ‘pinged’ back into their pre-pregnancy shape about 5 minutes after giving birth. No doubt some celebrities feel the pressure to lose any excess post-partum poundage ridiculously fast, but that’s completely unrealistic for most of us and pretty sad too. You’re completely right in my opinion – we all need as women to appreciate our bodies for the fabulous stuff they can do and not fret so much over the odd stretch mark or extra pound. Let’s be kind to ourselves and each other ladies!

  4. It’s great to see your positive outlook towards the subject. Too many women are upset about what babies do to their bodies.

  5. You are so right Erin and MsFitfreak, you should cut yourself some slack because it’s truly amazing what your bodies are put through to be able to give birth. Also, after having a child, there are certainly more important things to do than feeling the need to get your body back tomorrow. I feel the same way MsFitfreak, and this is coming from a guy. Woman shouldn’t fret so much about the stretch marks or the extra pounds. I’m just saying, for me, it wouldn’t matter.