Experiencing pregnancy then giving birth are extraordinary milestones in a woman’s life.

Yet the weeks and months following the birth can be fraught with many challenges. Caring for a whole new life, adapting to a new routine, adjusting to sleep deprivation and around the clock feeding schedules, dealing with the physical and emotional ramifications of childbirth, while still providing attention to a husband, partner or other children, is an enormous undertaking.

The fact that women have been doing this for centuries is little comfort when trying to cope with a wailing baby at four o’clock in the morning.

Many women experience an increase in negative body image after having a baby. This is in no way surprising. We live in a culture obsessed with thinness. Sadly, this is a “take no prisoners” mindset, meaning even women who have recently delivered are not exempt from the thin ideal.

If you are a new mother and struggle with body image issues, please consider the following:

Extend Grace

We so often extend understanding and kindness to others, but not ourselves. You would not find fault in another woman who just had a baby and wasn’t ready to don a skinny jeans so don’t find fault in yourself. Extend grace to your body. After all, it just accomplished a tremendous feat by growing a whole new person.

It did its part, now do yours. Give it the time and care it requires to return to its new normal. Too many new mothers, distraught by the size or shape of their post-baby bodies, begin to restrict food. This is no time to diet, especially if you are breast feeding.

Remember, it took nine months to create that baby, nine months that your body underwent extreme change. You did not pressure your body to make that baby in six months, so don’t pressure it to return to normal according to some unrealistic time frame.

Cultivate Gratitude

A baby is the greatest gift you will ever be given. This child is undoubtedly the most beautiful baby in the entire world.

Be thankful. Instead of staring at a full-length mirror and obsessing on what you perceive of as imperfection, spend time gazing at your new child who is the embodiment of perfection.

Three Important Don’ts

Don’t incessantly weigh yourself;

in fact, just put the scale away for a few months. Too many people allow the number on the scale to dictate their mood for the entire day. Don’t keep trying on your pre-pregnancy clothes; yet again, if they remain a little snug, this alone could influence your outlook on the day.

And finally, don’t compare yourself to others, not your best friend, not your sister. Whether the former was back to her original size in a month, or the latter never saw that size again, is irrelevant. Their experience is not your experience.

One Significant Do

Do cherish every minute with this new child, for every single moment has incredible value. When people say that children “just grow up so fast,” it is because they do. Work outside the home, hobbies, the usual socializing, routine trips to the gym, and especially, that pre-pregnancy body you may long for, can wait. All that genuinely matters in the now is you and that perfect gift from God: your baby.


Adopted from: Eating Disorder Hope

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