Why I Don't Feel The Need To "Get My Body Back" After Babies
Let’s talk about self-love and bravery for a second. Bravery is NOT telling myself that I need to get my pre-baby body back. Because when I even mutter the words “get my body back” I am telling myself that something is wrong with the way I look right now.
The braver version of myself is softer, squisher, wiser, and full of smile lines etched upon my sleep deprived face. Bravery is acceptance. Bravery is me.
Kindred Bravely, a beautiful women’s clothing line, supporting moms from bump to breast, reached out to me about a partner with them to spread positive body awareness and self-love to my audience. I hope you find value in my posts with them. I am extremely picky about who I partner with and they are the kind of company I want to be associated with- the first thing you see on their website reads “Every mother is strong and brave…”
So today, I want to tell you why I am brave and give you some tips on how to be patient and love your body just the way it is.
I am four months postpartum and every single day I wake up, I try to do something for myself to make me feel like the superwoman my kids and husband view me to be. This doesn’t come that easily for me. For years, I thought that it was quite normal and acceptable to look into the mirror and rip myself apart. I never challenged those thoughts. I would simply have them and then accept them as the truth.
After Winter was born, I was in such a desperate time in my life to get mentally and emotionally healthy, that I didn’t pay much attention to how much my body had changed postpartum. I was in survival mode. But slowly as my mental health began to get stronger, I started to notice that the negative thinking patterns about my physical body scream louder than they had before and knew that I needed to do something about it and stop accepting it as my truth!
In the next several months, I threw myself into mindfulness. I practiced daily gratitude and for every negative thought I had about myself, I would try to think of at least two positives ones. Some days I was better at it than others. Some days I would fail and would be utterly terrible to myself. But as time went on, I began to adopt these affirmation practices, gratitude exercises and purposeful positive interactions with myself as my new normal.
Flash forward to Lennon, my second baby. I haven’t been able to work out the way I would like to because I have been dealing with pelvic floor issues (hello peeing while walking up the stairs) and ab separation. Even though I am getting stronger every day while working with a physical therapist, I am still not where I would like to be physically. My core feels unstable and I feel weak. But while my physical body has some ways to go, I thank my lucky my starts that I am not suffering postpartum depression nor OCD like I did with Winter. I am well aware of how lucky I am as I had about a 50% chance of developing it again in my subsequent pregnancies since I had it so badly during my first postpartum journey.
So while my mental health feels stronger, I continue to have to work on body image. I hate when I see advertisements that have catchy sayings like “Get your body back” or “Reclaim your body after baby.” It makes me think that something is wrong with the way I am now which is the furthest from the truth and not a lie that I want to believe. Why do we even allow this type of marketing to occur? I think we need to fight back to change the tune of things and support brands that are all about women empowerment and acceptance. Brands like the one I will be talking about today, Kindred Bravely.
When I opened up the package from Kindred Bravely, I was greeted with a list of affirmation postcards on top of my clothes. I took some time to read every single one and made a mental note of the women in my life who might want to receive this message. Some of my favorite quotes that were included in the postcard bundle said:
“Your children will become who you are so be who you want them to be.”
“Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled. They are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.” -Sharon Jaynes
“There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child you are super mom.” -Stephanie Precourt
These postcards sparked an idea. They were the reminder I needed to make building my self-esteem and self-love a daily practice.
Below are a few things I do to make sure I am cultivating self-acceptance and loving my body the way it is now!
5 Ways to Cultivate Self-Acceptance and Love
Affirmation cards: I pick a mantra of the week to say to myself throughout the day. This week is: Calm begins with me!
Mirror practice: I know this may sound silly but I try to devote 1-2 minute after I get out of the shower to put lotion on my face and body and thank each part of my body for the gifts it brings. I look in the mirror and tell myself three things I notice about myself that I love. For example: “I love the way the light is reflecting off my brown eyes. They look wise to me today,” “I love my crooked bottom tooth, it makes me laugh and forces me to accept my quirks,” or “I am so happy with my hair. It’s long and makes me feel like a goodness.”
Love letters to myself: This is a MUST. I set a monthly reminder on my phone to write a love letter to myself. I put on some tunes after the kids are in bed and jot down a few things that are positive about myself. On the hard days, I pull it out and read it. I find it to be so much easier for me to read something positive about myself than try to come up with new ideas when I am feeling particularly down in the dumps.
Focusing on intrinsic worth: Your looks don’t define you. Yes, they are a part of you, but your inherent qualities as a human being matter more. I try so hard to reflect upon the qualities I love about my personality, my efforts to be kind, and my intrinsic worth. We all deserve love and happiness and sometimes our society makes it seem as though we can obtain those things through beauty and material goods.
Modeling positive body image in front of my children: My kids are watching me. They see how I interact with myself while I get ready (Winter is usually right beside me asking me questions about jewelry and makeup), and I make certain that their little ears are hearing positive statements. As I do brush my hair or do my makeup, I say little affirmations and model positive self-talk. I try to NEVER say things like “Ugh, I look tired,” or “My hair is a disaster”. Even if I may be thinking it, I don’t want Winter or Lennon to think it's normal to look into the mirror and pick yourself a part. I want them to look into it and love who they see smiling back at them.
Let me know if you try any of these positive self-image exercises. And in the meantime, check out some of my favorite postpartum products from Kindred Bravely that make me feel beautiful, comfortable and confident.
Use the code: LOVEANDLAROCK to get 20% off your order at www.kindredbravely.com.
The French Terry Racerback Nursing & Sleep Bra: The feel and comfort of this bra and it's fabric is great! It’s soooo soft and it comes in many different color options. This bra is perfect for both everyday use and sleeping. It provides plenty of coverage and support. My only regret is not having more!
High Waisted Compression Panties: Whether you’re looking for support for your new postpartum body or simply to be able to wear non-maternity clothing with minimal lumps and bumps, these postpartum panties have you (fully) covered. Oh and my c-section mamas, read the reviews, so many moms have loved these for recovery!
The Louisa Ultra High-Waisted Maternity & Pregnancy Leggings: Okay, these are seriously the only pants you’ll need! They are so comfortable and provide the support you need whether you are pregnant or postpartum. They are thick, but not too thick, providing enough coverage and most importantly feel buttery soft and don't hurt in the belly area. Highly recommend.
The Emmaline Maternity & Nursing Robe: What I love most about Kindred Bravely is not only how great they make their costumers feel from the time when the enter their site but their fabric choices! This robe would have been so nice to have with me at birth. But I am glad I have it now! I throw it on post-shower and nurse in it often.
Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads, 8 Count (4 Pair) with Carry Bag: These are the softest nursing pads in the whole world. I have used a few other brands that seem to get stiff and uncomfortable. Not these! They are washable, reusable, and provide awesome absorbency…no leaky boobs here!
High Waist Postpartum Underwear & C-Section Recovery Panties: I have a pair for each day of the week and love them. It may sound silly, but I look forward to putting these on after a nice, long shower! Just the prettiest and sooooo dang comfortable. Get the set, you won’t be dissapointed!
The Organic Cotton Crossover Nursing & Sleep Bra: I want every piece of clothing that I own to be made from this fabric. I keep talking about how soft it is because it is! I love this bra. No underwire equals comfort around the clock. It is easy to sleep and nurse in. It fits similar to the first bra I mentioned, just has a different back.
This post was sponsored by Kindred Bravely. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.