How Did You Grow To Love Your Body Postpartum?
Recently, April M. reached out to LLL USA Facebook followers and said, “I’m having trouble coming to terms with my postpartum body. The stretch marks on my breasts are especially upsetting to me. I don’t want to chase special creams or ointments, but I WOULD love some tips or mantras on how to love my new skin.”
Many of those who responded shared April’s concerns and said they don’t love their postpartum bodies and don’t know if that will ever change. Yet April was also overwhelmed with encouraging words from other parents who encouraged her to be patient as her body continues to recover from childbirth. They shared their own doubts and described how they have worked through those doubts and negative thoughts to look at the changes in their body with respect and even awe.
“It took me years after my first babies to love my body again. I was really struggling after my fourth with weight but not body image. What helped me is the amazement at what my body has accomplished. I have carried four healthy and absolutely gorgeous baby girls. My girls are now 21, 19, 14, and four years old.” – Samantha V.
“I wear my new body with pride because I brought life into the world. My kids love me because I’m a good mom, not because of my body appearance. And I’ll teach my little girl the same thing.” – Rachel B.
“Stretch marks fade. Your skin tightens. What you see in the early days changes. I remember feeling, ‘Man am I floppy all over.’ You do heal. Your shape comes back. You look good in your clothes, sort of like the old you. (Stretch marks) are my tattoos.” – Chris D.
“I hope you can look at your body in awe. The (stretch) marks are evidence that you grew another human being. Maybe the process of getting there was challenging and you see them as battle scars or badges/medals of honor. Maybe your path was easier and you can see the lines as paths that point to where you nourished your baby with your own body. Maybe you like tattoos and can see these as stunning, individualized tattoos created by your own body in response to your baby. I think the key is finding your own definition of beauty and seeing that beauty in the story.” – Jeanne K.
“I don’t love my body; I respect it. My need to nourish my body with good food, activity, and other healthy things in life (or to attempt to) is not based on how I feel, or on how it looks to me. Now I am familiar with it (my body), even if there are times I dislike it or feel uncomfortable. I can’t force myself to feel something I don’t, but I can practice genuine self care and self respect.” – Ginnie P.
“Be in awe of the power of your body to create, but also to calm and comfort your baby. Also, be patient with yourself. Breastfeeding can definitely help with weight loss, but in any case it takes time – months – to heal from the changes that pregnancy and birth cause.” – Laurel B.
“I remember snuggling into my mom’s chest and just automatically feeling safe and warm and loved. Your kids will become more and more and more the most beautiful and important part of life, and knowing that my body – whether with stretch marks, pooches, varicose veins, or flab – is a safe space for them makes me feel good about my body. Stretch marks will fade, weight will come back down slowly (took me eight months both times), and no amount of worrying or feeling shame will speed up that process. Your body is healing and changing into what it was built to do. That’s actually really powerful!” – Lillian M.
“I had to learn that my body has always had and will always have value. Much love to everyone who learns to accept their body because it bore their children – but I respectfully submit that our bodies are perfect at all times, with no qualifiers. My stretch marks, belly, weak bladder, and everything else aren’t acceptable just because I had a baby. I love my body because it’s mine, not because of anything it did or will do. I love it because to hate it is to hate myself.” – Bethy A.
“Remember when you were a kid, showing off scars at the lunch table – each one an epic battle to be remembered and celebrated. It should be the same with stretch marks. I tell myself, ‘See these lines! I made a 9 lb., 5 oz. human. With my own body! I pushed for four hours! I am a beast!’ Also, it’s like getting a new haircut. You’re startled at first when you catch a glimpse of your new self because it’s so different, but over time it just becomes you. One day you wake up, you see yourself in the mirror, and you think, ‘Oh hi, there I am.’” – Lillian C.
“’Love’ is a strong word. But hearing my husband – how he sees me through his eyes after carrying and birthing our boys – that helps change my perspective.” – Hannah N.
“I’m currently postpartum with my third child and gave birth two weeks ago. This being my third time, I know that skin and weight change in time. Honor your body. It did an amazing thing. Nourish it and give it time. It took over six months for my body to regain some semblance of normal with my other two.” – Bridgette M.
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