Our bodies are magnificent, having the ability to create life and adapt to change. This can be physically and mentally taxing for a woman’s body, but it is important to recognize the miracle of life for what it is — a miracle!
How Your Body Can Change After Pregnancy
As women, we are no strangers to hormonal changes in our bodies. During pregnancy, hormones are the driving factor behind most bodily changes, such as:
- Weight gain: A woman can gain between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy and potentially keep 2.5 to 5 of those pounds after giving birth.
- Shoe size: After gaining some weight mixed with high hormone levels, the arch of a woman’s foot can flatten. The hormone relaxin can cause this, which is why women tend to gain half a shoe size during pregnancy.
- Breast size: As expected, a woman’s breast size can fluctuate between large to small. Once a woman gets pregnant, dormant fat tissue will get replaced by functional tissue and will atrophy over time as the woman breastfeeds.
Bodies also undergo pressure changes as the baby develops, resulting in the following:
- Varicose veins: With a child in tow, the pressure of a heavy uterus can reduce the blood flow to the legs, vulva and vagina, causing varicose veins or spider veins. Stay active to promote blood circulation.
- Stretch marks: Any large increase or decrease in weight can result in stretch marks on a woman’s body.
- Incontinence: Vaginal delivery can weaken bladder control muscles, putting mothers at risk of incontinence.
Five Ways to Help Change Your Mindset
There are many ways to fall back in love with your postpartum body, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Give yourself grace — it’s a process, but developing a positive mindset can help you embrace your body again.
Daily activity goals are tangible ways to take hold of your body’s recovery. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be training for a marathon — even a quick 10-minute stroll around your neighborhood can help put you in the right mindset.
If you have a goal to work on losing weight, consider following a postpartum fitness routine to aid your body in regaining its strength and tone.
Buy Clothes That Fit
This may seem silly or obvious, but one of the first ways to start feeling comfortable in your own skin is to buy clothes that are comfortable. It can be disheartening to try to squeeze into your old clothes that don’t fit. Skip this feeling altogether, recognize you just birthed a child and splurge on clothes for a confidence boost.
Let’s be realistic — having time for yourself with a newborn can be challenging. Instead, schedule some time into your daily routine for self-care. In the end, you can’t pour attention and care into your baby if you are drained.
This can be anything from watching an episode of your favorite TV show to taking a nap while your little one naps. No matter what you choose to do during this time, make sure it is for you.
Find a Support System
When it’s hard to find the words to cheer yourself up, find a group of supportive people who can. Surround yourself with other new moms to share in your struggles and reach out to seasoned mothers for advice. Developing these friendships can help you realize you are not alone.
Additionally, it is important to nurture your relationship with your partner during this time. As you embark on the parenthood journey, you need to be supportive to each other. Bond with them and celebrate your new addition to the family. Also, feel free to ask for several foot massages because you deserve them.
Be Kind to Your Body
Last but certainly not least, be kind to yourself and your body. Eat good food and stay active to be sure your body gets the nutrients and movement it needs.
But also respect your body for the temple it is. Appreciate the battles it has been through and as it finds strength through those that may come. Remember that your body gave you a wonderful gift, and it deserves to be treated with care and gratitude.
You Can Do It
This may seem a lot easier said than done. Give yourself time and soon the new you and your new life will start to feel more normal. Take care of yourself and remember that you are strong.
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