Prior to having a baby, I was told lots of tales about expectations pre, during and post pregnancy...
I respectfully took all advice with a pinch of salt. I have read blogs, watched videos, listened to audio books and podcast you name it. All have been helpful, but nothing helps more than talking to people in real life and sharing your experiences.
Despite all you read and hear, it is your own experience that will make you decide on what you are going to do and how.
A few weeks prior to finding out I was pregnant I had not long finished a fitness program where I lost about 30 pounds. I was in the middle of a fitness phase. In my first trimester I made efforts to go on walks, eat healthily and exercise but the pregnancy could only allow me to do so much.
We were still in lock down therefore I worked from home and continued to work from home whilst experiencing morning sickness, extreme migraines, and fatigue. Later in my pregnancy, I experienced pelvic girdle pain which was no joke. I did put on weight throughout, but it didn't bother me too much apart from the swelling. Eventually, everything got bigger, and I announced my pregnancy to my loved ones after my gender scan. By this point I knew I had put on baby weight, and I didn't care because I was simply too excited.
I came to love my bump, my stretch marks and everything about my body because of the wonderful changes I was experiencing. From the show of milk to the baby kicks, the stretch marks even the funny belly button. The fact that I could rub/poke my tummy and my baby would respond was just so beautiful. I treasure those moments.
After having my baby, I had to train my mind to remember what my body has been through and not to hate it. 2 weeks postpartum, I attempted wearing a waist trainer and thought no way can I put myself through this pressure. I simply said to myself continue to eat well, go for walks, sleep, when possible, to ensure I remain healthy for myself and my baby. I like to follow my mantra which is to remain a body confident me and now a body confident mama.
I was told that breast feeding would make me lose weight, that I could exercise 6 weeks after giving birth, that I must eat every time I nurse and so much more which made me question my appearance. It's only natural to feel pressured to look and behave a certain way during this period. Unsolicited comments and social media don't help. This among many other things caused me to doubt myself at times. Now I look at myself, my stretch marks, cracked/ out of shape nipples, lose and wrinkly skin knowing that I have a story to tell.
To make myself feel good; I make sure to have someone to talk to, bond, play and go out with my baby girl also wearing what fits and makes me feel comfortable makes a difference. This includes wearing decent underwear and not wearing the wrong size bras. I went from a 40 G to 36 J in 6 months and had no idea until I was measured by Curvy Kate. Simply, wearing the correct size has a massive impact on your confidence and how you carry yourself.
At any given time, you may like you are feeling back to yourself, but your body may still feel slightly different. I must remember that my mind and body continue to heal after having a baby. I am on a new journey. All of this is normal and it’s normal to feel exhausted and overwhelmed whether it's your first, second or third child. Just do what you can and do whatever makes you feel good for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
I live for being a body confident woman who embraces and loves loving her curves. But it is not just about how I look. It is about finding myself and retraining my mind with habits that contribute to me having a healthy relationship with my mind and my body.
My key tips for loving my body are:
💕 Use positive self-talk such as changing and challenging how to speak to and about yourself e.g. using positive language. Every so often look in the mirror and affirm to love your body no matter how it looks.
💕Practice healthy habits e.g. eat three meals a day, drink water and move your body.
💕 Have self-care sessions e.g. long showers, care for those feet.
💕Stay active e.g. go for walks, explore the neighbourhood, go to active baby groups, dance with baby.
💕 Be yourself and treat yourself but avoid letting yourself go.
💕Wear what makes you happy and comfortable.
Remember your body is your story !