5 TIPS ON HOW TO LOVE YOUR POST BABY BODY:
I’m a mother of two, a boy and a girl, and I couldn’t be happier. My two precious babies are absolutely the loves of my life. But like many mothers, my body changed during pregnancy. A lot. And there was a time I found these changes really challenging to accept.
I think the hardest thing for me was that I just wasn’t prepared for how dramatically my body would change – especially my first pregnancy (by the second I was less surprised!). It’s not something you really read about in the baby books, so I was shocked when I walked out of hospital still looking 6 months pregnant! Sure, over time my body recovered and most of the pregnancy weight came off. But my body was a completely different shape and I was left with the scars of pregnancy; it was something I just had to learn to accept. It took a long time but I got there in the end. In fact, I changed my thinking to not only accept my new body but to embrace it, to celebrate it! So if you’re a new mum and feeling down about your new shape, I wanted to share a few things that helped changed my thinking and helped me learn to love my post-baby body.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
I think as women we can’t help comparing ourselves to those around us and who we see in the media. But it’s so important to stop comparing yourself to others, especially if you’ve recently given birth. Women come in many different shapes and sizes. Remember that we’re all individuals and we are all beautiful in our own unique way.
In the beginning, when I was still struggling to accept my post-baby body, I would look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that I will no longer be told by society what is or is not beautiful; that I will no longer compare myself to how I see others. It really worked. If you tell yourself this over and over you will begin to change your thinking and start loving the body you are in.
2. Don’t focus on the numbers on the scale
Don’t focus on the numbers on the scale. I actually took my scale out of my bathroom and stopped weighing myself completely. This doesn’t mean I won’t weigh myself in the future but not having it staring at me every morning allows me to focus more on how I feel rather than how much I weigh. As long as you’re eating healthy and being active your dress size and the numbers on the scale don’t matter.
3. Wear clothes that make you feel good
Nothing is worse than wearing clothes you don’t feel good in. As tempting as it is to wear sweat pants or pyjamas all the time (I’ve totally been there!) it can eventually bring your mood down. Especially if you loved dressing up pre-baby. As a mum, of course comfortable clothing that’s easy to wash is a priority, so ‘dressing up’ may be as simple as a nice T-shirt with a scarf and a great fitting pair of jeans; just enough to make you feel like you’ve made an effort for yourself. (If you’ve just sucked in your stomach at mention of the word jeans, don’t be afraid of looking into something with built in tummy control! Not Your Daughters Jeans has a super comfy range of great styles and has something for everyone.) For anyone feeling stuck for style, my favourite book for a little wardrobe help is Wardrobe 101 For Mums by Dijanna Mulhearn. It’s surprising how much making a little effort on your appearance can give you the kick-start you need to start feeling human again.
4. Take care of yourself.
As mothers we naturally put others before ourselves, but it’s so important to make sure we are also taking care of ourselves. It’s not being selfish; quite the opposite in fact. Because if we’re not healthy and happy, everyone else around us suffers. Eat well, exercise and try your hardest to get some sleep. I know, I know! Most of us haven’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep in a while - probably since you first got pregnant. But if you’re like me and guilty of staying up late to enjoy ‘me time’ after the kids go to bed, this definitely does nothing to help recharge your body. I try to choose at least one night a week I go to bed early. It’s amazing how much even an extra hour of sleep can make.
5. Go easy on yourself.
So you just created a life. No biggie right? Wrong! Giving birth is one of the most incredible things your body can do. Remember that it takes nine months to create a baby so at least give yourself nine months to recover. Your body is pretty amazing and it will bounce back, but recovery takes time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to look a certain way. Take it easy and listen to your body.
I’ve developed a new love and respect for my body since having children. I no longer struggle to accept its new shape and its scars. I celebrate it. Now, I see my body as a vessel that carried life into this world and I am proud of what it has achieved. Being a mother is the by far the hardest yet most rewarding jobs on the planet. So don’t worry if you’re a little softer or rounder or flabbier or stretchier – none of that really matters. Your body is amazing. So be proud of yourself and love the body you are in!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Piper O’Neill, model and mother of two, is the reigning Mrs Australia International 2015. Crowned in late 2014, she was the first pageant winner in Australian history to be crowned while pregnant. Unlike most pageants, the Mrs Australia pageant is not based on looks but one’s contribution to family, charity and community work. Piper is also a an ambassador of Look Good Feel Better, a community service program dedicated to teaching cancer patients how to better manage the appearance related side effects caused by cancer treatments.
Piper’s goal as Mrs Australia is to reach out to other mothers, encouraging them to develop positive feelings about their bodies in order to be positive role models for their children. As someone who struggled with her own insecurities during motherhood, she knows first-hand how difficult it was to accept and love her body during and after pregnancy. She believes strongly that if we love ourselves and our bodies our children will love their bodies as well.