The Time to Love Your Post-Baby Body is NOW!
Coming to terms with a new body is something that most moms face at some point. Let’s face it- the body you start a pregnancy with is not usually the same after the baby comes out! But after being a mom for 26 years, I have come to appreciate and honour my mom-bod.
Think about it- creating and carrying babies is the greatest thing a woman’s body can do. The sheer fact that we selflessly give out real estate to grow and birth children should be all we think about. But it doesn’t seem to be enough for us anymore, does it?
I started having kids when I was 20 so I didn’t even have a chance to fully appreciate what I had. I remember wearing a bikini without even thinking about it. I had this one royal blue number that I felt really good in…and the sad reality is that I spent (too) many years after comparing myself to that hot 19 year-old.
Each of my babies weighed over nine pounds. My stomach looks like a roadmap. After having two caesareans, I have a flap of skin on my stomach that will never go away. I’m not kidding- it’s like a shelf over my c-section scar! (Check out some caesarean scars here- none of which are mine) My chest has expanded and deflated so many times, so there’s that situation. And my feet? They’ve increased an ENTIRE size. With every baby I’ve carried, I’ve put on weight; weight that doesn’t come off easily now that I’m in my forties.
I started to think about how many of us feel the same way? I’m sure I’m not alone and I kind of compared the loss of my hot body with the Five Stages of Grief:
I denied my weight gain for a long time. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and still see the old me. Or I would tell myself that it’s only temporary, that I will somehow magically “tighten up” again. Nope.
I used to be really angry at my body for changing. For a long time I thought, "I guess this is what I get for having a bunch of kids". I’m really sad to say it (especially after everything its done for me) but I haven’t had the kindest things to say about my body. I’ve name-called, body-shamed and compared it to others… I’ve hated it and then hated myself for hating it. I have abused it with binge eating and dieting. I have even blamed it for every fail in my life.
The saddest stage of all. I would have thoughts like:
If I just lose 20 pounds my (ex) husband will want to stop drinking and stay home with the kids and I.
If I could get my hot body back, he won’t cheat.
When I lose weight, I’ll take the kids to the beach.
If I could just lose some weight, I would be a better mother/daughter/wife/sister/Canadian citizen/anything.
Everyone has heard of postpartum depression at this point. Now they say that it can last up to six years. I’m pretty convinced that moms of young children all experience depression at some point because they’re in this stage of grief. It could be over the loss of your body or your former free lifestyle, but most women experience feelings of loss after becoming a mom no matter how happy they are to be moms. I know I did!
I’m pleased to say that I no longer beat myself up for my mom-bod. At this point in my life, I’m actually feeling pretty thankful to my body for getting me this far. I’m healthy and I’m a great person, even though I’m overweight. I give and receive love because it makes me feel good. I try my best to eat properly, meditate and do yoga. I work really hard to quiet those negative thoughts that creep up sometimes, and I try not to compare myself to other women because here’s what I know now:
Even women with great bodies don’t always feel happy inside. And the happiest women aren’t perfect, they're perfectly happy with themselves because they made the decision to be.
I choose happiness and I hope you do too, Mama.
If you're looking for post-baby body positive affirmation check out The Shape of a Mother
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!