The Postpartum Body :: What to Expect When You’re No Longer Expecting

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*2 Days Postpartum

Wait . . . Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?

My siblings are 10, 12, and 14 years younger than me. With having such a large age difference between us, I was very involved in my mother’s pregnancy. I saw her body change during the nine months of pregnancy, and I saw her body change after pregnancy. I never judged my mother for what she looked like postpartum. She just had a baby!!!

I never saw her through eyes of disgust. I never questioned her “post-baby bod”. Yeah, her tummy was stretched out; sure, she had gotten stretch marks; but . . . she just had a baby!

In my mind, it made total sense.

So why was it that when I had my first child, I was in total shock over the state of my own body?!

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* 1 Week Postpartum

The Initial Shock

Not only did I still look pregnant, but I still had contractions! (SAY WHAT!?) 

My boobs were gigantic! They leaked with every movement I made! 

I literally felt like a cow . . .

What had happened? Where was the normalcy I experienced when my mother went through this? Why wasn’t I thinking to myself, “You just had a baby!”? I knew what to expect, thanks to my mother being so open about her body during pregnancy, yet I had forgotten everything when my turn came.

I hated seeing my own reflection. I constantly compared my body to other friends and Instagram stars who gave birth and looked fabulous. 

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*2 Weeks Postpartum

Welcoming Grace

Over time, I began to learn about my new mom bod. I learned the mistakes I made during my pregnancy (hello, flaming hot Cheetos and comfy couch). I promised myself I wouldn’t fall back into despair with my next pregnancy and I gave myself much needed grace.

I’m happy to say that I kept my promise to myself this pregnancy. All the things my young heart gave my mother when she was postpartum, I happily gave myself the second time around.

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*3 Weeks Postpartum

The Postpartum Mom Mantras

When you’re feeling low about your postpartum mom bod, repeat these mantras to yourself:

  1. “I just had a baby!”- This one seems obvious, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves the pure MIRACLE of giving birth. You BIRTHED a human. Your body did that. You are AMAZING! Give your body the time and space it *NEEDS* to recover.
  2. “I am not ____.” – It is so hard not to compare ourselves to others (or to our past selves). Maybe with your first pregnancy you bounced back almost immediately after giving birth. Maybe your girlfriend or favorite celebrity is sporting a bikini a mere week after giving birth. Just as each pregnancy is different, each postpartum body is different. Stop comparing yourself!
  3. “Change is constant.” – The good thing about the postpartum body is that it doesn’t last forever. Your uterus will shrink, your milk will dry up, and your stretch marks will fade. Just like pregnancy, this part of your life will be over before you know it. Hang in there, Mama!
  4. “I am Mom! Hear me roar!” – You are POWERFUL! You are Mom! You have a literal God-given gift! God bestowed the miracle of creation on women! You are more than a soft tummy! You can create and sustain life! Let me hear you roar, Girl!

Moms: What was the most shocking part of your postpartum journey?

4 COMMENTS

  1. I returned to work 8 weeks postpartum mortified that I was still wearing my maternity pants. It took me some time to make peace with the fact my belly will not look like it did pre-baby. Every body has it’s own healing process, and healing doesn’t mean going back to the way it was before. My body freakin made a human being! Just like you said, it’s pretty dang powerful, and it didn’t deserve the shame I heaped on it for a while.

    • Oh my goodness yes!
      I haven’t returned to work yet with this one, but with my last one I remember being so thankful I worked at a gym and my work attire was yoga pants because I had to buy a whole new wardrobe after my first was born.
      It took me somewhere around 2 years afternoon my first was born to figure out my new mom bod!

  2. I have always enjoyed exercise because it makes me feel healthy and strong. So I was lucky enough to continue that through my pregnancy. I mistakenly thought a plus to all that work would be that my body would “bounce back”. Nope. Not. At. All. I had a really hard time after purely because I didn’t know that was absolutely normal. I’ve learned so much about healthy living and being a strong mom through it all and am really thankful for beautiful, strong, and honest mamas like you.

    • Thank you!
      I completely agree with you. I’m actually healthier *now* because of my post parties experiences. Especially after my first! And even through all the tears and frustration I went through, I’d choose to do it again, because without those experiences I would’ve never gotten certified to become a yoga teacher!
      It’s amazing all the ways our little ones change our lives!

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