Pregnancy is an extraordinary journey that can bring immense joy and love. However, it also comes with significant changes to your body throughout the process of pregnancy, birth and in the postpartum period. While society often focuses on the pressure for our postpartum body to “bounce back,” what we should be doing is encouraging those who have given birth to appreciate and care for themselves during this transformative time. There is so much beauty and strength that comes with being a parent, so let’s celebrate that!
You and Your Body are Amazing
Growing, delivering and nourishing a baby is an incredible feat. It is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the miracle your postpartum body just completed. Let each stretch mark and change in your postpartum body serve as a reminder of the love and sacrifice you have made for your child. Focus on your accomplishments, the love you provide for your child, and the unique bond you share. Grow self-love by continually reminding yourself of the incredible person you have become.
Give Yourself the Gift of Patience
Remember that your body’s miraculous transformation during pregnancy took a full nine months. It may take time for your body to recover fully, and that’s okay. And some things may never feel exactly as they did before, but parenthood makes you a new person in many ways and there can be beauty in change. It can be difficult not to compare your postpartum body to others but everybody and experience is unique, so be kind and patient with yourself.
Reward your Postpartum Body for All it has Done
You are so much more than the outward appearance of the body you exist in and taking care of your postpartum self goes deeper. Although it can be difficult when you have a new baby to care for, in the moments you can, it is important to prioritize self-care to nourish your mind and body. And self care is more than just going for a massage or pedicure. This can include getting enough rest, eating meals that leave you feeling nourished, staying hydrated, and engaging in gentle movement. As a new parent it can be easy to fall into feelings of guilt when you take time for yourself, but realize by filling your own cup you are becoming a better parent and partner. You cannot pour from an empty cup!
Examine Your Circles of Influence
Building a strong support system during the postpartum period can be life changing. Surround yourself with people and things that uplift and encourage you. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, so curate your feeds to include accounts that promote body positivity and self-acceptance and take a break from those that do not.
Celebrate Your Postpartum Body
Instead of fixating on perceived flaws, work to see the beauty in your postpartum body. Celebrate the changes that allowed you to bring life into this world. Rather than wearing maternity clothes that are too big or pre-pregnancy clothes that are tight, dress in clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable. Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself and your body!
Loving your postpartum body is an ongoing journey that isn’t always easy. Some days you might not have the patience, self-compassion, and shift in mindset needed to embrace the changes but as long as you take each day at a time and strive for self love you will learn to embrace the new you. Celebrate your achievements, and focus on the incredible strength and beauty that parenthood brings. Remember that you are more than your physical appearance; you are a nurturing, loving, and remarkable person who has entered a beautiful new chapter of life.
About The Author
Kaleigh Daigle is a certified birth and postpartum doula, newborn care specialist and certified lactation counselor. She is the owner of North Shore Doula Co. and finds much joy in supporting families on their journey into parenthood.