If you’re struggling to recognize yourself when you look in the mirror, don’t worry, mama. We’ve rounded up the ways to practice loving yourself as a new mom.
If you’re still battling with how your body looks months after giving birth or are constantly wondering when things will “go back to normal,” I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I had a magic pill to give you that made all this easier to process.
But what I can say is, you are not alone in these feelings. I won’t claim to know any other mother’s experience, but I experienced my own version of the above only a few short months ago.
The truth is, you’re right. Your body probably doesn’t look the same. And to be honest, I’m not sure why it should. You just spent nine months growing a house for your baby. And your hormones are still out of whack. Plus, your nutrition, sleep, and activity levels are all completely different than your norm.
Remember mama, giving birth is a life-changing experience in more ways than one. Your body just underwent a process it has (probably) never experienced before.
How do you begin to love yourself after birth?
Deep down, are you as torn as I was? Do you wonder how much more you’ll have to sacrifice for this miracle? Because while you probably got compliments and attention for the last nine months, now that baby is here, most people have seemed to forget that you have needs, too.
There’s a chance a part of you is silently saying to yourself and your baby; I did all this for you, but now, what about me?Brenna Ruiz
And I’m not saying that you’re not grateful or saying that this journey is not worth it. It’s not that at all. It’s just that a tiny little part of you deep down might be saying; I did all this for you. But now, what about me?
Those thoughts don’t make you a bad mother or even a bad person. It simply makes you human. A beautiful, glorious mother with her very own needs and wants.
Accepting your feelings and understanding your needs is a powerful way to begin to love yourself as a new mom, but keep reading to learn my favorite ways to really lean into self-love.
12 tips to help create self-love after having a baby
1. Work to find acceptance
Try savoring the beautiful rawness of these early days. Accept your fluctuating emotions and cry whenever you need to.
2. Get some fresh air
Take a slow walk around the block every day and get some fresh air. Only once you’re up for it, though.
3. Create time for you
Take a quiet sitz bath with Epsom salts and think about the queen you are, admire your strength and marvel at your existence.
4. Snuggle your little one
Snuggle your baby all you can. But be sure to steal all those precious moments you can for yourself, too.
5. Reach out for support
Ask for help if you want it and try to do so before you become too overwhelmed to function.
6. Find small moments
Spend five minutes each day thinking about yourself and what your needs are. How can you carve out a little time to meet them while your baby naps? The dishes can wait.
7. Prioritize nourishment
Stock the house with healthy snacks to give your body the nutrition it needs to do the hard work of caring for yourself and your newborn. Remember: there are no good foods or bad foods—only the choices we make for how we want to fuel ourselves.
8. Enjoy your accomplishments
Look in the mirror and marvel at your strength and all that you are capable of doing. Know that you will look back in 20 years and think, she had no idea how beautiful and strong she was.
9. Reach out
Text or call a friend and connect with a supportive loved one as you need it.
10. Don’t forget your partner
Show affection to your significant other – if you have one – and lean on them as much as you can. Know that communication is critical during this vulnerable time.
11. Choose gratitude
Practice gratitude for what do you have and also work to accept any conflicting emotions as they come.
12. Seek patience with yourself
Accept that you are on a long road to recovery. Your body changed throughout pregnancy and childbirth, and it will continue to change every day. You can always get stronger and healthier, but it will take time. Try to worry less about the end result and, instead, focus on what you can do to feel good today.
My wishes for you, mama
Just so you know, I definitely don’t have it all figured out.
I’m a first-time mom with an eight-month-old. But after having my son, I realized I had no idea how to care for my own needs. So I dove deep into the world of women’s health and wellness, postpartum recovery, and self-care. I’m not a body image expert. I’m not a licensed therapist. But I do have enough hindsight and did enough self-reflection to see clearly all the mistakes I made in those early days.
So here are my wishes for you.
- I hope you’re kinder to yourself, give yourself more grace, and trust in the process more than I could at the time.
- I hope you don’t weigh yourself basically every day as I did.
- I hope you don’t hide in pictures. Or worse yet, not take them at all.
- I hope you don’t read every article you can find on “10 Ways to Lose the Baby Weight FAST!”
- I hope you don’t play the compare game when you see a “bounce back” picture on Instagram.
- I hope you don’t jump back into intense workouts immediately, pushing your body to the point of ongoing pain and discomfort.
At the end of the day, I hope you don’t do unkind things to yourself all for the sake of “getting your body back ASAP.”
Instead of looking in the mirror and wondering if you are enough because you don’t fit in your pre-pregnancy jeans, would you be willing to try something else for me? Or better yet, for your future self?
Instead of fixating on how your body looks, make your obsession with how your body (and mind) feels. Remember, there is no right way to begin to love yourself.
Mama, what if you tried all the self-love tips listed above instead of judging yourself negatively for experiencing the normal results of one of the most beautiful experiences of life?
After all, you created life out of essentially nothing. You grew roughly eight pounds of a human being. Creating a life for the greater part of a year while giving up your energy, strength, and comfort. You had no choice, but you gave them up all the same.
You did that.
I’ll leave you with one last thought. Before you gave birth, you didn’t realize the depths of your inner strength. But now you know. And now that you know, nothing can stand in the way of your unstoppable power to love yourself, should you choose to do so.
Here’s to loving yourself, mama.
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