Two months ago, I had a baby. Last year, I was a size 3. I say this because before I got pregnant, I didn’t understand the way it felt to be really, really uncomfortable in your own skin. I had definitely struggled with self-image issues but at the end of the day, I was okay with how I looked for the most part.
I gained 40lbs in my pregnancy and when my son was born at 9lbs 5oz, I went home 10lbs lighter. But the 30 extra pounds I was left with were in all the wrong places. My stomach as a deflated balloon, my hips would never be the same, and my thighs were definitely not going to fit into anything but sweatpants for a long, long time.
So, in the midst of the happiest thing that had ever happened to me, I was struck with feelings of embarrassment and discomfort. For the first time, I was learning how it felt to feel like a total stranger in my own skin. It really upset me for a while, that is until recently when I took my first postpartum photo. It finally hit me, I needed to love the body I was in right now.
Yes, I can totally look forward to exercising and making progress to get back to my old size. But truthfully, I needed to understand that after all this, I’m never going to be totally the same. And why should I be? I just made a person! That’s freaking awesome and it changes a woman in every way. Whether we like it or not, that includes physically.
So I wanted to share 3 things I’ve come to realize that apply not only to new moms but to anyone who might be feeling less than confident in their body.
- It takes time to make changes.
For me, realizing that it did, in fact, take 9 months for me to get so big and therefore will take awhile to get small again helped put things into perspective. Regardless of the reasoning or timeline that resulted in the way you’re feeling about your body (even if it’s always been this way,) understand there are no quick tricks and if there are, they’re likely not going to create lasting, positive change. Be fair to yourself. Progress takes time!
- Dress for the body you have today.
A big issue that played into my negative view of my body was the way I was dressing it. If all you ever wear is sloppy clothes, you’re going to feel sloppy. I had this idea that I would just wait until I lost all my weight to wear the things I love again. But when I decided to embrace this body (even if I am hoping it’s temporary), my outlook changed. I bought a few simple things in the size I am today. I don’t see it as giving up, but making the effort to love myself every step of my journey instead of beating up on myself until I “look the way I should.”
- Don’t wish for the past.
It’s funny, focusing on the past is frowned upon in every other area of our lives yet we spend so much time looking at old photos of ourselves wishing we could be so skinny again. Stop it! You’re different now and while you can always push yourself to be better, it should be with your eyes on the future. Focus on becoming the best you possible TODAY. Don’t let your judgement of how well you’re doing be clouded by wishing for the body you had when you were 16.
Loving the parts of yourself that aren’t what you want them to be isn’t easy but it is important. Don’t become so absorbed and worried about your body that you forget to enjoy life and the people you love. Your body is just a shell and it’s whatever you make it. Your body is such a small piece of what makes you who you are and it’s rarely the part that anyone worthwhile is going to focus on. Find your happiness, indulge in what you love, and just enjoy life; that’s all that matters.
Featured image via weheartit.