I cannot believe my baby is ten weeks old, intentionally smiling, sleeping long stretches at night, and looking more like a little boy every day. It’s crazy how much changes in a few weeks. And each one gets better than the last! I wanted to start this post by saying how grateful I am to have Charlie and to have been able to carry my own child. I know there are a lot of women who would love to be in my position. And I don’t take it for granted for one second! But lately, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body as I have struggled to accept the changes that have happened to me physically since becoming a mom.
My initial thought when I saw the above picture (about 6 weeks postpartum) was I can’t post this. My pooch is obvious and no one will buy this dress…
Yep, that was my first thought. Not what a sweet moment with my baby. And you may think I’m crazy because that pooch isn’t really that much of a pooch and I should have a pooch right after having a baby anyway. So why am I so hard on myself?
I am not the first, nor will I be the last woman to bring a child into this world, be amazed by the strength and endurance of the female body, and immediately head home from the hospital and wonder how quickly the pregnancy weight will come off. I am not alone with my struggle to love my postpartum body. And though it took an entire 9+ months to grow and house a human being, I somehow expect to go back to my former self overnight.
If you’re like me, you might be leaky, jiggly, and exhausted. Maybe your hair is breaking off and falling out. Exercise might be hard to come by while your hunger from nursing is extraordinary. You might have stretch marks on your stomach and dark circles under your eyes. And you may lay awake at night wondering if you’ll ever feel like yourself (or sleep) again. You are not alone.
But these are all a part of the beginning phases of the most incredible journey we will ever embark upon: Motherhood. We are warriors now. We carried life. And whenever I am feeling down about myself or the changes I can’t seem to make, I try to remember that and practice the following so I can embrace my new body:
Be realistic. It took my body months to create Charlie and it may take months to get back in shape again. Give myself time.
Wear all the cozy outfits that flatter me. Right now it’s chunky sweaters and yoga pants. Yay for fall babies and layers.
Exercise and get out of the house. For me, that simply means walking, but getting fresh air and time to myself is just what I need.
Eat healthy. It may be the holidays but we’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating lean proteins, veggies, and fruit over here. But I do treat myself to the wine & chocolate too ;)
Leave the scale alone. I don’t need a number to tell me I’m doing okay. I’ll know when I feel like myself again.
Sleep. Not exactly a goal that’s 100% in my control but if I can squeeze in a nap or go to bed early, you bet I’m doing it. A non-rested Meg is a close-to-the-brink-of-tears Meg and everything seems out of sorts then.
Talk to Other Moms. Sharing stories & seeking advice from my close friends and family reminds me that I’m not alone in any of my struggles or successes. And I’d like to give a shoutout to all you mamas who responded to my Instastories with helpful tips & advice. It means so much!
Hold my baby. This is the best way to remember that all of jiggles, leaks, hair breakage and exhaustion are 1000x worth it because I have him.
I am everything this child needs right now.
*photos by Brandon Hill