My relationship with my postpartum body has a less than stellar track record. For years, I have longed to have my pre-pregnancy figure back (you know, the one that I used to think was fat).
My negative feelings toward my body typically peak right before summer when reality sets in about wearing a bathing suit and the scale says the same thing it did in January. I have avoided wearing a bathing suit at all costs for several years. While I didn’t take my boys to the pool fully dressed, I just didn’t take them to the pool. PERIOD. I thought of ways to get my boys to go somewhere else or coaxed my husband into taking them alone. I never felt good about this and knew I was missing out on spending time with them, but my insecurities ran deep.
This summer, I made a promise to myself to wear the darn swimsuit and have fun at the pool with my boys. No matter what! Maybe I’m just another year wiser or just that desperate to get out of the house (thank you, Rona). But what I do know is my weight is the same, and I am embracing the swimsuit and having a blast at the pool. It’s the best thing ever, and boy was I missing out!
So how did I get here after struggling to love my body for so many years? Two simple changes made all the difference.
I started following Instagram influencers who looked like me.
I was following too many influencers who made me feel pretty lousy about myself. It’s not their fault. I had no business looking at clothes worn by stick thin women who are six inches taller than me. Something just clicked one day, and I unfollowed all of them.
I then Googled “petite influencers.” That search eventually led me to a few accounts I follow that are so inspiring! These everyday moms have taught me what clothes best fit my body, and I really needed that. I don’t have time to go to the store and imagine how clothes on the rack will look on me. These influencers have been a gift to me (and I know that sounds silly, but it’s true).
I applaud these real women with real bodies who are teaching women like me how to dress their postpartum body in ways that make us feel beautiful and confident, no matter our size. Thanks to them, I know what type of swimsuit and clothing best fits my body, so I’m not wasting time and money on trends or pieces that don’t work and make me feel badly about myself. This simple change made a huge difference for me, and while social media can have a negative impact on women, this is one area that I applaud!
I now focus on my health, not my size.
I want to have energy to keep up with my boys. I want to be strong, capable, and feel good every day. I have a feeling my postpartum body could kick my old body’s butt! I’ve birthed, nursed, and nurtured two growing boys with my body, and I need to be more thankful for what my body has accomplished. Being a mama is physically demanding!
Dieting and hating my body are not healthy or good examples for my sons. They need to see me being happy in my skin and working hard to keep myself healthy. While I still have a long way to go, I feel so much better when I focus more on healthy food, exercise (which is my biggest struggle), and sleep so that I can be my best. When I focus on these areas, I feel so great about myself no matter the number on the scale.
I know I’m not alone in the struggle of loving my postpartum body. I think we should talk about this topic more and find ways to empower women to love who they are and how they look. It’s time to move forward in healthy ways, without shame, to be our best selves, and I see many ways this can be done. I’m thankful for the women who are stepping out on social media to show the beauty in every body. It certainly has helped me.