We live in a society where baby rolls and chunky thighs are cute, but are looked down upon on a mother who just gave birth. Moms are expected and pressured to “bounce back” after having a baby and are shamed if they haven’t quite yet lost their baby fat. We don’t think about the mental toll of motherhood and that taking care of one or multiple babies is a full time job and women might not have the energy to fit in an extra workout after rocking a crying baby all day. We will see a mom or two who just naturally gets back to their pre pregnancy weight and assume that all women should be able to do that. All the while, this shame of mother’s bodies is encouraging mothers to hate their postpartum bodies and as we show dissatisfaction about our bodies we are inadvertently teaching our children to judge their bodies as well.
When does the cycle stop? When does it become okay to just buy the new jeans that fit rather than trying to further drain your energy to fit into jeans that fit over a year ago? I know I have struggled with this over the past few months. I have always been someone who sought out external validation which is part of the reason why I struggled so much with body image and disordered eating in college. I still struggle with my body image now after having a baby. I had unrealistic views of what my body would look like after having a baby. I often have to pause and remember that my body completely changed over the last year to create life, and the fact that my body was even capable of creating life is absolutely remarkable.
I have been trying my best to practice patience with my body and remember all that my body has done for me this last year, and that without my body, I wouldn’t have the love of my life in my daughter.
I hope one day we can celebrate our bodies for all they have done, rather than looking at the mirror and hating what we see. I hope one day we can celebrate the way our bodies look, the same way we love on our chunky babies.
I want my daughter to know that her body is beautiful in all stages of her life, not just when she is a baby. And I want her to know that her body and what it looks like doesn’t define who she is. I want her to know that her body is capable of doing incredible things and that despite what it looks like, she has the ability to change the world. I want to practice more love to my body and less criticism so that my daughter knows that she can love her body through all stages as well.
I hope that today when you look in the mirror, you can celebrate your body for all it does for you, rather than what it looks like. I hope you can see that no matter if your body looks different than it did a few months or years ago, that you are still worthy of love from others and yourself. The more that we can celebrate ourselves through all stages, the more we encourage our children to do the same.
So let’s try to stop shaming moms for not “bouncing back” right away, and instead celebrate them for the life they just created. Maybe then we can create a space for more self-love and change the culture around body image. Maybe then, we can let moms and people everywhere know that you can buy new clothes instead of putting yourself down to try and fit into old ones. Maybe then we can see that who we are on the inside is what really matters.
Be Beautifully Simply You