A safe and healthy pregnancy is a beautiful and rewarding experience. The postpartum period right after childbirth can be a huge transition. One example of this is adjusting to your “mom bod”. First thing’s first, there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed of how you look. It’s difficult for your body to go back to its pre-pregnancy state, especially in a short amount of time. Also, every woman’s body is different. Comparing your postpartum body with another mom’s can create unrealistic expectations and negatively affect your self-esteem. Luckily, there are simple tips for unapologetically loving the skin you’re in.
Boost your confidence with powerful mantras.
Embracing your body you’re in becomes easier when you have the tools to block out negative thoughts. Research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that mantra-based meditation helps improve mental health along with reducing stress and anxiety. The best part of mantras is that they’re easy to say (or chant) when you have a moment alone. Here are four mantras from Julie Burton, writer at Motherly, to always keep in mind for feeling more confident in your mom bod:
- I will trust my process and be honest with myself.
- I will listen to my body’s signals and honor them as I need to care for myself so I have the energy to care for my baby.
- I will not compare my postpartum body with any other moms’ postpartum bodies (especially celebrities), nor will I measure the speed at which other moms are losing their “baby weight” against my progression.
- I will not be ashamed of my postpartum body and will wear clothes that are comfortable but are not intended to hide my body.
Exercise to gain its positive benefits for your mental health.
A 2014 article from the American College of Sports Medicine reveals that almost 20 percent of women are more than 11 pounds heavier six to 18 months after childbirth. Brad A. Roy, PhD, FACSM, FACHE, acknowledges that factors such as a newborn’s sleep and feeding schedules or other family responsibilities inhibit moms from having the ability to workout. “Prolonged rest/physical inactivity actually contributes to fatigue, promotes increased body weight and decreased vigor and mental acuity, and increases the risk of developing future chronic health conditions,” he writes.
Despite this, Dr. Roy notes that emerging evidence indicates that postpartum exercise not only has physical benefits for your weight management. But, it also can help reduce fatigue and improve mood—which are key for feeling comfortable in your own skin. For new moms, he recommends obtaining medical clearance from your doctor before exercising again. He also suggests beginning with low-intensity physical activities and gradually increasing to moderate intensity exercises. (Tip: Search for mom bod exercises on YouTube to find a workout routine that fits your schedule and lifestyle.)
Find a support system.
Most importantly, keep in mind that you’re not going through this alone. Connecting with other moms about the transitions motherhood brings (physically, emotionally and mentally) creates that much-needed support system. For loving your mom bod, a study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that social media is a powerful medium for moms to be candid about their bodies. Using the Body Confident Mums Challenge on Facebook in the study, researchers reveal that social media support groups could help improve a mom’s body confidence and wellbeing. One mom posted a message on her newfound outlook while participating in the study: “I never thought I’d say this, but I have been appreciating my soft squishy curves lately. Good for giving comforting cuddles to my boys!”
Moreover, the #mombod hashtag on TikTok has garnered 2.6 billion views with moms highlighting the struggles and triumphs of their postpartum bodies. While you should also research support groups and resources for moms within your local area, it’s clear that social media offers a broader view of life after childbirth. Fully accepting your new mom bod is a journey, but incorporating these tips into your regular routine should make it much easier. You’ve got this.