After giving birth, it was a few hours until I was able to get up to use the restroom. Boy, that was some work on its own. But what really took me by surprise was the reflection I passed by in the mirror. The one that screamed, “THIS IS POSTPARTUM.“
I saw a reflection that showed:
- A bloated yet saggy-looking belly
- Stretch marks ran across my hips, thighs, and abdomen
- Breasts that were full of veins and looked like they’d explode any minute
- A big mesh diaper that held “all of me” still together
Now, I finally knew what it was like to enter postpartum officially. The feeling of “who is that, is that really me?!” sank in.
As someone who had used social media to always show the ‘better part’ of myself through fitness videos and motivational posts, how was I supposed to show off this ‘new body‘ to anyone? The fear of accepting myself and of what others might think sank in, hard.
The Postpartum Body Positivity Movement
Over the last year, some popular mom bloggers on Instagram decided to get together with one goal in mind: POSTPARTUM BODY ACCEPTANCE!
You may know them as:
- Meg Boggs (@meg.boggs on IG)
- Bethanie Garcia (@thegarciadiaries on IG)
- Desiree Fortin (@theperfectmom on IG)
- Katie Crenshaw (@katiemcrenshaw on IG)
Together, these four ladies shared photos of what postpartum really looks like, paving the way for moms all over the world to share their #this_is_postpartum journey. Since these amazing women started the movement, that hashtag has OVER 10,000 photos of women on Instagram sharing their beautiful raw, postpartum bodies. Bodies that carried, created, and birthed life into this world. Bodies that DESERVE to be celebrated, not hidden or shamed. Why is it so hard for most women to appreciate their postpartum body?
Why are most moms struggling with body image after baby?
After having a baby, most moms (like myself) simply don’t know what to expect. When we live in a world full of social media edited to perfection photos, it leaves an unrealistic interpretation of what our bodies should look like. And if we’re being truthful, one that goes far beyond postpartum.
We’re shown that it’s acceptable to wear crop tops if you have abs, but you should cover up if you have stretch marks or any remotely loose skin. What kind of message is that sending to women at their most vulnerable point in life? What kind of message is that sending to young girls? We wonder why so many moms experience postpartum depression or anxiety after birth. Yet, society has no idea the pressure it’s putting on new moms that exceed the pressure to look a certain way.
The fact of the matter is, it’s NATURAL to have loose, saggy skin after having a baby. It’s NATURAL to have some or quite a bit of stretch marks. It’s NATURAL for your body to need time to recover after growing and birthing a baby. So why are we allowing the pressure of society to make us feel like it’s not?
It’s time we as moms start normalizing all bodies of all shapes and sizes the way they should be, starting with our own!
How can moms practice postpartum body acceptance?
If you’re worried that the only way to practice postpartum body acceptance is by posting a picture of yourself on social media, don’t worry, you don’t have to do that! However, if you are active on social media, here are a few hashtags you can start using today to be a part of spreading this amazing message: THIS IS POSTPARTUM (Postpartum Body Positivity movement).
But if social media isn’t your thing, there are quite a few ways you can practice accepting and loving your body for the current state it’s in:
- Read or speak positive postpartum affirmations to yourself daily.
- Aim to incorporate habits that promote HEALTH, not weight loss.
- Hang out with other moms who are supportive and uplifting.
- Stop asking yourself if “you look good in that outfit,” wear what you want, and rock it, mama!
- Practice doing nice things for yourself because, yes, you do deserve them!
- Think of the role model you want your kids to see and use them to motivate you!
Long live, THIS IS POSTPARTUM!
You are beautiful, no matter what society tells you. It took me a while to accept that for myself, especially after seeing that reflection of the woman I felt like I didn’t know, even though she was me. And I know that I’m far from being the only mom who has experienced that.
This is why if there’s a way we can join together as mamas to help uplift one another and SHOW society that our postpartum bodies should be celebrated, that’s a movement I want to be a part of. Long live, THIS IS POSTPARTUM!