When you decide you’re ready to start a family, you’re ready to endure whatever it takes to make it happen. You know you’ll gain weight and wobble around for 9 months. You know childbirth will hurt. And you know that it will all be worth it. Then it happens. Pregnancy comes and goes and you survive the birth and postpartum period. Once you settle into motherhood and you finally have time to assess the damage, you realize how much has changed. What’s up with this mom bod?
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Loving Your Mom Bod
Ah, the mom bod. It’s something we all know will come, but are never really prepared for. If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you may not be thinking about this yet. If you’ve already taken the leap into motherhood, you may just be discovering it. Either way, there are a few things you should know…
When you’re breastfeeding, your breasts are full of life juice, ready to provide your little one with everything they need. But what happens after you’re done, or if you decide not to at all? Well, they don’t quite go back to where they started. Somehow they look smaller and bigger at the same time. The top seems deflated and you can’t even figure out what bra size you are because things are so out of whack. This is mom bod feature number one. It’s a tell-tale sign that a woman has given the gift of life.
Once your pregnancy belly goes down, and you may have even lost some of the baby weight, you realize that no matter how thin you get, your battle scars will remain. Stretch marks and c-section scars are there to stay. They serve as a reminder of what you were willing to do to bring your little of bundle of joy into the world, and at the same time, make you consider giving up bikinis altogether. For some reason the scars your husband has from that crazy dirtbike accident when he was 15 seem “cool” yet you feel ashamed of the proof you have that you endured a pain most men couldn’t handle if they tried.
Even if you were lucky enough to dodge the stretch marks and a c-section, there’s one thing that remains. The mom pooch. Unless you have the time, energy, and genetics to get a six pack after childbirth, you likely have this glamorous new feature. Not to mention, it’s not the same pooch you got when you were younger and you ate out too often. It’s softer, and it doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks of carb detox. It’s become a part of you.
This may not be the case for everyone, but I didn’t have my son until I was 29, and nearly 2 years later I feel like I’m 40. I have more gray hairs, my skin isn’t what it used to be, and I swear I get hurt more easily. It’s like my body decided it wasn’t young anymore as soon as I became a mom. If you become a first-time mom when you’re 18, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a thing. But for the rest of us, welcome to true adulthood. Things are harder and recovery is longer. I honestly didn’t expect this until I was at least in my 40’s.
Is this forever?
Maybe. Maybe not. There are ways to change your body in an effort to obtain the “perfect body” you once had (which you probably didn’t think was perfect at the time). You can go to the extreme and get a lift, some liposuction, and laser scar removal. You can try out some crazy diets, homemade scar lightening remedies, and color your hair. Heck, even just buying an awesome bra can make a world of difference!
Why is it that you fear the mom bod? Do you feel embarrassed or threatened by other women who don’t have these features? Are you worried about what your spouse thinks? Or are you just silently judging yourself each time you look in the mirror? I can tell you this. I’ve lost 40 pounds since I had my son (more if you include that period of time where I still looked pregnant) and I still have the mom pooch. I stopped breastfeeding almost a year ago and my breasts aren’t getting any higher. Those stretch marks, yeah, they’re here to stay. And guess what, I’m okay with it!
It’s all about perspective
Stop and think for a minute. What is a perfect body? Is it a supermodel body? Or is that too skinny? Maybe it’s the body of the fitness guru you follow on Instagram or a friend you’re extremely envious of. Who put these ideas in your head?
Society tells us we should look a certain way, but so do we. Maybe your mom was critical of your weight when you were young due to her own insecurity. Or you had a boyfriend who called you fat in high school. Whatever it was that lead you to believe that you were required to look a certain way, let it go. You are you. You are the only one with your unique body, and no one else can tell you how that mom bod of yours should look.
How do you feel?
As hard as it may be, I urge you to stop looking in the mirror. Of course, if you need to do your makeup, or style your hair, you’ll need to. But stop standing in front of that full-length mirror after your shower examining your “flaws”. Stop telling yourself that you’ve failed because you don’t look like whatever celebrity just had a baby and looks awesome (likely after having some “work” done and getting beautifully photoshopped on that magazine cover).
Instead, shift your focus to how you feel. Do you have energy? Do you feel weighed down? What can you do to feel as good as possible? If losing weight will help you feel better, then lose weight! But not to satisfy the mirror. Lose weight so you can chase your little one around the park without getting winded. Eat healthy so you can keep a stable mood when a tantrum ensues. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby and be the best mom ever.
Lead by example
We all want our kids to grow up healthy and happy, right? Well, where do you think they will learn how to do this? If you think that they will do as you say and not as you do, you’ve got another thing comin’. The absolute best way to teach your children to live life a certain way is to do so yourself.
Fuel your body with healthy food because you love yourself. Take pride in your appearance because you’re proud of who you are. Have the confidence to wear your favorite bikini because you feel good in it (as you should). Show your kids what it’s like to truly love yourself and teach them to love themselves.
Live to meet your great grandkids
As hard as it may be to think this far ahead (even if you don’t want to), don’t you want to be around, and able, to play with your great grandkids? Healthy eating, staying active, and taking care of yourself mentally can prevent future diseases and significantly increase your lifespan.
Why would you not take action to make that happen? I can’t even imagine the joy a mom feels to see her children’s children bring new life into the world. And to see what the world will be like then! Flying cars? Replicators? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what life brings!
Love that mom bod!
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