Every day, women everywhere constantly struggle with their body image. We live in a society where the idea of beauty is moulded by what you see and hear in the media. It is tiring and exhausting to conform to this standard of beauty of ‘contoured face’, ‘tanned skin’, ‘smooth bodies’, ‘hour glass figure’, ‘thigh gap’ etc. Then there’s pressure for mums to look a certain way after giving birth as the Kardashians or other celebrities portrayed. As if being a mum in itself is not enough!
10 months ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl and I adore her with all my heart. But the journeyof motherhood hasn’t been all smooth sailing. In fact, it was more like an emotional roller coaster ride.
I remember looking into the mirror a week after giving birth and seeing all the stretch marks, cellulite and ‘bits’ I was left with. As much as I am grateful and proud for what I’ve been through, at the time there was a sense of loss – I felt like I lost my own identity. It was like a part of me had died. Before birth, I took pride in looking after myself, owning my body and my sexuality.
After birth, I remember constantly fell ‘fat’ and unsexy, hiding behind loose clothing, disliking what I saw in the mirror. Before I know it, I was saying all the nasty stuff about my bodies. Anyone who’s a mum knows that sometimes you are too tired to give a sh*t about how your body look, or be bothered about shaving your legs or washing their hair. I was the same. I rather slept than having shower/washing my hair.
Then I realised that the more I keep going like this, the further I am away from reclaim my own confidence, happiness and sexuality. If I vowed to always put in effort in my relationship with my husband, it’s about time I put that extra effort in the relationship with myself.
So I said to myself ‘Fuck this tiredness, I’m going to look and feel as happy and confident as I wanna feel.’ That day I made the decision to love myself again, and loving every bits of my post baby body. It wasn’t an overnight process and I’m glad I did it, because I can tell you how genuinely happy I am with my body.
So in this article, I would like to share with you some simple tips for a more positive body image post baby
1. Let go of the old & embrace the new
Letting go of the expectations pre-baby about your body and how you are supposed to look or feel. This is probably the hardest thing for me to be honest because I had to let go of my old identity and embrace this new version of me as a mum (including my post baby body).
Learn to look at your stretch marks and cellulites as ‘war scars’ because you went through hell and back delivering this baby. Sit down and think about a realistic version of you – When you are happy, content and confident, what does it look/feel/sound like to you?
2. Remind yourself how truly beautiful and amazing you are.
You really are beautiful and amazing. If you don’t believe me, you should see yourself from your children’s perspectives. You are their everything. To learn to see myself from a different perspective allows me to disassociate with all the negative thinking.
So for weeks I wrote on my mirror “You are enough” and keep repeating “I am beautiful and I am ENOUGH”. I did it until I feel completely congruent with myself.
3. Do something that makes you feel happy and beautiful
This doesn’t have to be something grant, could be something that is simple like going for walks, exercising , having a shower, getting your nails done, getting a massage, meditating etc. For me I committed to get out of my PJ, have a shower, get dressed in proper clothes and put make up on no matter how tired I felt.
There were days where I rather hid under the blanket and not face the world, but most days I felt amazing after my morning routine. I also tried to get out for walks, play centre and coffee as much as possible so I could feel ‘normal and ME’ again.
4. Learn to be intimate with yourself and your partner again.
Most people think that they need to feel confident with their body first before they can be sexual and intimate with their partner again. It’s actually the other way around. Having time alone to get in touch with my body and be intimate again allows me to feel more connected with myself and feel more confident.
Mums all go through an incredible journey with birth and it sure changes how you see and feel about your body, especially down there. Take time to reconnect with yourself intimately, realising that even though you are a mum now, it doesn’t change the fact that we are all sexual beings. Don’t rush into sex but also don’t wait too long to have sex again.
The longer you wait, the less you want it and eventually you’ll just tell yourself you don’t need it (which is a total B/S). Start with some sensual massage, kissing or just touching and build it up from there.
5. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude
When you come from a positive and grateful place (aka. Thanking your body for what an incredible journey it has been through), you realise how strong and amazing your body really is. Look at body features you are proud of now and dress well to accentuate those features. So instead of trying to squeeze in an old pair of jeans that no longer fit you, buy the right size to fit your shape.
Make loving your body a priority (i.e. taking care of your body by eating healthier & exercising) instead of losing weight and you’ll find that the weight will drop naturally.
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