When I had my first baby, I was completely naive about what my body would look like postpartum. I had taken the classes to learn what to expect during childbirth. I had even taken a class to learn what to expect in breastfeeding. However, no class was offered to teach me what my body would look and feel like after delivery.
This is why I brought my pre-pregnancy jeans in my hospital bag. I had no clue that my body would still look pregnant when I left.
I quickly learned that after delivery my body wouldn’t bounce back to normal immediately, regardless of how it is portrayed by celebrities. Here are three things to remember about body image postpartum.
Have Realistic Expectations
It is normal for women to gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and it will vary for everyone. It took nine months to accumulate the weight that often accompanies pregnancy, and it may take nine months to get rid of it. It is important to be patient with yourself.
Focus on the Good Stuff
Instead of focusing on the extra pounds you brought home from the hospital, try to focus on eating healthy food that will fuel your body, drinking enough water, and getting rest when you can. Focusing on these good and healthy things will help ensure you feel good, which will allow you to best take care of yourself and your little one. A fad diet will just add unnecessary stress during an already stressful time. Instead, just focus on what your body needs in order to thrive.
Don’t be Too Hard on Yourself
Your body has grown and then given birth to another human, and that is an amazing accomplishment. Be proud of what your body has been through. Regardless of any extra weight you may now carry, know that you are normal. Be patient, and be kind to yourself. Just try to focus your attention on that sweet baby you brought home, and keep your self-talk positive.
Wendy is a breastfeeding, baby wearing mother of four in central Illinois where she blogs at TheMessyMom.net.