I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror after my first baby was born and wondering what the heck had happened to me? Who was this squishy person staring back at me and why did I look more puffy now than I did when I was 40+ weeks pregnant?
How is it possible to go from rocking that cute baby bump one day to feeling like a squishy blob the next? It’s incredibly discouraging when you realize that you’re either stuck wearing sweat pants everyday or you can try to force yourself into a pair of your pre-baby jeans and then you run the risk of feel like 50 lbs of potatoes in a 10 lb sack. Then add in the cute postpartum underwear and nursing pads and you’re left feeling pretty unhuman.
Why is it that we are our worst critics? It’s so easy to notice the good in someone else but when it comes to ourselves we are so quick to point out our flaws. “Wow! I can’t believe that you just had a baby, you look amazing!” “Yeah, but I have the cellulite and my muffin top is still hanging around.” Sound familiar? For most of us this is a common scenario and it really needs to stop! We should be celebrating our postpartum bodies instead of bashing them, they just brought life into this world and that’s pretty freaking amazing!
I am definitely not innocent when it comes to body shaming myself, after my first two boys were born I spent so much time stressing about losing weight and “bouncing” back. I would wear a bikini but would try to stand or sit in a way that my stretch marks weren’t visible. I made myself absolutely miserable. When I was pregnant with my third boy I realized just how amazing this body of mine is, I decided then that I wasn’t going to stress myself out this time around. I made the decision to truly enjoy the process.
We really need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to be back in our skinny jeans with a six pack at one month postpartum. Do I think that exercise is incredibly important? Obviously! But it should be something that you enjoy doing not something that you dread. Most of us also don’t stop to take the time to factor in how much hormones play into postpartum weight loss. My youngest is 11 months old and my hormones are still a little out of sorts. These hormones cause us to hold onto excess body fat and make weight loss stall so while we may be working our butts off and making healthy choices, sometimes we don’t see the results that we feel that we should be seeing. I’m right there with you, I have lost my baby weight but my body fat is still a little higher than it was when I got pregnant. Am I frustrated by this? Yes times a thousand. It is what it is though and there’s no reason to stress about it. I know that if I keep pushing through then the results will eventually come.
I challenge you to look in the mirror and really appreciate your body for what it’s capable of. Those hips may be wider than they once were and you may have stretch marks where your once smooth tummy was, but you also have a new life in your family who is absolutely worth it. You may be tired but you’re doing your best and honestly that’s all that matters. Please give yourself a break and remember that it does take time and that time looks different for everyone.
*Corlyn Buring is the owner of Corlyn Buring Fit, offering in home personal training to clients in the Columbia, SC area as well as online training world wide. She is also a mom to three very active boys who keep both her schedule and heart full.*