I am one year postpartum and haven’t lost a single pound of that extra 20 I’m carrying. And I’m okay with that right now. I know all the things I need to do and all the ways to lose weight. But my attention is focused on so many other things. Yes, I want to make better decisions more often. Like saying “No” to the donut and saying “Yes” to a jog. And right now, I’m okay that my time is occupied breastfeeding my baby, feeding my other five children, investing in my marriage, running my business and growing my faith (and the one thousand other things moms need to do each day).
I’m going to get there. But in the meantime, I’m embracing and loving my postpartum body with all of its stretch marks and extra inches.
The fact is, while I want to choose HEALTH over all other things. My kids aren’t concerned about the roll over my pants. They just want me to play with them and love on them. My kids could care less about my stretched out skin. They just want me to be physically, mentally and emotionally present. And that is where I’m focused. On being MOM.
When I let my mind be consumed with the sagging skin and how everything doesn’t fit like it used to, I miss out on the beauty right in front of me. There are a few ways I am working on this.
Speaking life into my body. This means my thoughts, my words, and my actions. HOW I THINK about my body, WHAT I SPEAK about my body, and HOW I TREAT my body.
When I begin to have negative thoughts about my body and what it looks, I try to take notice and begin a new dialogue in my life. One of positivity and encouragement. One that praises the miracles that this body has been through and one that applauds its triumphs. And then that positivity is reflected in my speech. The words I mutter under my breath or the ways I complain to a close friend. Those all matter – especially, how my daughters view me and how I am talking about my own body. They take notice of that and if I want to set an example for having a great body image and self-love. It truly starts with me and what I say about my own body.
This can often be done with daily affirmations and proclamations. Saying true words of life about your body and who you are. Being thankful for your body thriving through the weight gain, growing babies, feeding babies and endlessly caring for our little ones. Say these words out loud and often.
And the last part of this threefold method is our actions. How are we treating our body? Like the temple it is? Giving us rest and good food and activity? Or overworking ourselves, jamming it with junk and remaining far too sedentary? I say this because this third portion is where I have failed. Thinking the thoughts and saying the words to truly love this postpartum body I am rocking. I also know that I need to fully step into what that looks like and treat my body well.
Whatever place you are in today, I want to give you an encouraging word. Your body is miraculous. It is sustaining your life and offering you a new day each morning you wake up. Instead of us analyzing every stretch and scratch and sag, let’s embrace the beauty in our marks. They tell our story. And it’s such a beautiful story. Wherever you are at in your journey, start with today. What bit of positive action can you take to change your perspective on your own body? Begin there and repeat. Add to it every day moving forward. We can shift and change our perspectives. By doing this, we can live in the freedom of loving exactly who and how we are built.
Mama, truth is, you are not alone. The mama next door is most likely feeling how you are. So, instead of continuing to put ourselves down, let’s lift one another up. Know that these feelings are real, but we can change the dynamic of how we view ourselves. What would you say to your friend struggling with the same feelings? That she is beautiful and strong and incredible? Now start saying that to yourself.