Honesty Hour: What Pregnancy Did For Me is embracing, loving, and having self compassion for all the many things (likes and dislikes) that pregnancy and birth bring. The inspiration for this post came after having my first baby. The changes that can come with pregnancy and birth can be HARD–extra weight, wider hips, stretch marks, muscle weakness, the pain of healing from birth, etc. Let’s be honest, your body just isn’t the same… and that is hard, takes time to adjust to, and sometimes you don’t feel quite like “you” for a long time. Let’s talk about it!!!
Fight the worldly pressure of feeling like you have to look like you didn’t give birth, after giving birth.
Unfortunately, our world/culture puts tremendous pressure on us to look like what we looked like when we were 17 years old, after giving birth. I see comments all the time on social media of mom’s asking how to lose the baby weight–and not just lose the weight, but to lose it fast–and how to either prevent or cure stretch marks. I find myself asking…
- Why must we so quickly wash away and hide what the beauty of being able to bare a child and hold a baby in our bodies (LITERALLY, in our bodies) brought along with it? Why do we feel like we must hide it and get rid of it? Is it really something we need to cover up and shame? Or is it something that could be celebrated?!
- Could stretch marks, some extra “baby weight”, and a bigger waist/pant size be okay?
- Could we possibly allow our body, who just created a miracle, time to heal and for the time that it takes to heal to be okay??
- Can our postpartum bodies be beautiful, valued, and loved, just the way they are–in the exact same way that our kids are beautiful, valued, and loved–that said body just made?
I say YES.
Embrace ALL of motherhood, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum body.
I have jumped head first into embracing all the new things that motherhood has brought me. Now, this doesn’t mean that it has been easy… but I have been compassionate with myself as I’ve done it and I believe that that has made all the different. I’ll talk about the two hardest things for me personally, the first being stretch marks and the second being the baby weight.
At first, it was soooo hard. The rolls, the stretch marks, the loose saggy skin, and I’ll be honest, I was desperately trying to prevent stretch marks with my first pregnancy and then find any cream that would help them fade after Carter’s birth. I remember my mom saying to me, “Just embrace the stretch marks.” I held back tears. I hated them. Mourning the tight, tan, strong, and sexy ballerina stomach that I used to have, I pressed on because… well… I had no other choice.
Sincerely wanting to embrace and to love my stretch marks and postpartum body, I plunged myself deep into a “I need to love myself 100% journey” (which means my self love is not dependent on any outward appearance). I talk more about the beginning of this journey here, Honesty Hour: Real Body Love, Postpartum; and the end of this journey here, in My Not So Typical, Before & After Photo. This 3 year journey did wonders for me. I learned to love myself, truly and fully love myself and my body, with stretch marks and baby weight and anything else.
Now, I don’t mourn my pre-baby body and I do LOVE myself, more than I ever have before.
To love yourself with no if’s, and’s or but’s about it is truly phenomenal. While on this 3 year journey, I also realized that if I still had my 17 year old body/the body I got married with, I wouldn’t have my babies. And that… is not okay with me (I mean, just look at that cute boy below that my body created!!!). I would rather have my babies, than the “perfect ballerina body” again. What is worth more to me… my babies or by worldly standards, “the perfect body”? Now, this isn’t to say that being an in shape mom is not okay, because it totally is. However, it’s about changing the focus and our mindset. It’s about true, limitless self love!
Self compassion through the postpartum journey is key.
Having self compassion through this journey was key. I reframed and reframe negative thoughts all day long. It’s definitely easier and more natural now than it used to be. I had some break downs, where the postpartum body struggles really got to me, and I’d break down crying. To be really real, really raw, and really vulnerable… I remember crying at Christmas just last year (4 month postpartum with baby Charlie) and saying that I felt like “a big fat cow” to my husband… and I did. It’s how I felt in that moment (proof that this journey was not/is not easy) and I did what I do with any negative body image/eating disorder moments I have: I allowed myself to feel it, to let it pass, and then I always came back to the why.
Why am I feeling this way and where are these feelings coming from? Is it truly because this body is unacceptable? Or is it because I’ve been taught by the world that this body is unacceptable? After re-framing the negative thoughts, I’d then bring it back to gratitude… so much gratitude for this body that just produced and gave birth to two miracles in under two years. 2 miracles in 2 years!!!! Of course, my body is different. Of course it is… and rightfully so.
I realized that instead of shaming this body, I should be treating this exquisite body with the upmost respect and love for what it just did for me.
The time is now to stop shaming our bodies.
The time is now to focus less on what pregnancy “did” to your body, & to focus more on what your miraculous body, & pregnancy, DID FOR YOU.
P.S. Ruthie, my mom, writes a wonderful post here — Motherhood Celebration from Greece; Honesty Hour about how she embraced her stretch marks.
I must give a huge shout out to my amazing photographer, Tana, and my amazing hair and makeup artist, Sam. This wouldn’t have been possible without you guys! Much love to you both. ♥️
Hair, Makeup, & Lashes By: Sam Hunt — Instagram
Photography By: Tana Clark — Instagram — Facebook
Think about it, what has pregnancy done for YOU?
If you loved our Honesty Hour: What Pregnancy Did For Me post, Check out more of our Honesty Hour posts below!
- Honesty Hour: Healthy Weight Loss
- Honesty Hour: My Not So Typical, “Before and After” Photo
- Honesty Hour: “Ex-Family”
- Honesty Hour: Real Body Love, Postpartum
- Honesty Hour: Learn & Grow
- Honesty Hour: Lifestyle Change
- Honesty Hour: Divorce
- Honesty Hour: Spring-time Fresh Start
- Honesty Hour: Words
- Motherhood Celebration from Greece; Honesty Hour
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Madeliene & Ruthie
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