Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic pill you could pop to suddenly make you comfortable with your mombod? It’s hard enough to learn to love your body before baby, let alone all the dimples, stretch marks, and jiggles, post.
The Mombod Journey. In today’s world, examples of what a woman’s body “should” look like attack us from all angles. We’re bombarded with beauty products promising to diminish the lines on our faces. Undergarments guaranteeing to smooth your folds and curves. The fitness industry can be one of the biggest offenders, preaching “harder/faster/stronger – get your beach body – get those six pack abs – sculpt that Kardashian ass.” Always with the implication that if you don’t have these coveted physical attributes YOU have failed and you do not have a “good body.”
There’s no amount of preparation anyone can give you for the toll that having children takes on your body. When your body changes so rapidly, even those of us with the greatest mental fortitude are rocketed back to our most insecure self. And while there is no magic pill, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the journey to accepting your mombod a bit easier.
1. Get rid of your scale.
Get rid of your scale. Yup, you read that right. The number on a scale is not at all indicative of health, muscle mass, or level of attractiveness. Bodies change shape and structure during pregnancy. You may return to your pre-baby weight, and your body may still look completely different. That’s OK. That’s normal. And the scale will only confuse things. The scale is not your friend. Toss it! Don’t you feel lighter already?
2. Go out and buy some new clothes.
Don’t berate yourself for not fitting into your old wardrobe! Get some clothes that fit your body today. And avoid clothes that you feel like you can hide in. Subconsciously, that’s telling yourself you’re not “good” enough to be looked at. Take the time to find clothes that really accentuate your body as is. Got post baby curves? Awesome! Flaunt them!
3. Make a list of things you like about your body.
Look, we all have things about our bodies we’d ideally change. But why not focus your attention on the positive? It can be anything from how your butt looks in jeans to the way your arms support carrying your newborn. It might even feel weird to name things you like – narcissistic even. It’s not! And I promise you, once you do, some kind of barrier seems to fade away and it opens the door to love more and more about your body.
4. Start following hashtags that promote a healthy body image.
Things like #normalizenormalbodies #antidiet. You’ll be surprised how much healthy content there is if you know where to look!
5. Marie Kondo your social media circle.
Unfollow anyone on social media who leaves you feeling “less than.” Even if they’re preaching health and exercise, if looking at their feed makes you feel like a failure, bye Felicia!
6. Be nice to yourself when you have a negative thought about your body.
The process of learning to love your body is not something you can turn on and off. Really loving your body means coming to terms with it, recognizing it for its imperfections, and loving it for that. Really loving your body doesn’t always feel like you actually love it. You can be angry at it, frustrated by it, excited by it, bored with it. It’s like a relationship with a partner. You can have a roller coaster of feelings and still be in love.
Hey, I told you it wasn’t a magic pill. But a pill wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding. Plus, most pill bottles say you shouldn’t consume with wine. The path to mombod acceptance isn’t a straight or easy path. Like any journey, it’s got its hurdles and setbacks.
But it’s an important journey. Not just for you, but for your kids, who never knew your body before them. Let’s help normalize mom bodies! Because when moms are living a life of body acceptance, then their sons and daughters are living that reality as well.
Debbie Saroufim is the creator of ToughMamas.com, an online fitness program for moms. She specializes in prenatal/postpartum fitness. Debbie uses a body positive approach to exercise, and believes that exercise is celebration of what your body can do.
Written by: Debbie Saroufim
Photo: Kelly Lemon Photography