Healthy Expectations and Body Love After Birth

February 19, 2018 - 5 minutes read

Motherhood…wow. It’s here. It’s now. It’s Wow! For many new moms the realistic expectations of a post baby body are that their bodies just jump back into place. Whatever that place was to start.

What your body looked like and how you felt about it before you got pregnant can determine how you feel about it after the baby comes.

I remember having that last outfit that just fit…just…before I gave birth. Thinking “thank you…I will never have to wear it again”. But so glad I kept it because nothing else fit for months.

So let’s first look at what your expectations were and what reality may be now.

For many women it’s a struggle to be comfortable in their own bodies. For many reasons: outside messages, social media pressure, or our own revolving negative loop in our heads.

Pregnancy comes with its own set of issues to our body language. If we were struggling with food and body issues before, the pregnancy can bring about new challenges.

  • Nourishing you and nourishing your baby.
  • Watching your body change.
  • Breasts getting larger, hips expanding, belly getting round, new stretch marks and varicose veins appearing.
  • Cravings and nausea.

Let’s stop here. Breathe.

You are now a new mom and that mom body has come along for the ride.
Take a breath.
Realize what your body just went through for the last 10 months.
Yes 10.
And take inventory of your successes. Daily. 

Realize you are human and that human bodies take a while or take their time to find their balance after birth. That the tummy needs time to find its new shape…whatever that looks like.

Realize your newborn and other children are not looking at your body and commenting. They are interested in a connected, loving and nurturing parent. One that feeds them on demand, one that sleeps when they sleep, one that goes to yoga or on walks and gets a sitter, one that has a girls night or girls hour, one that interacts with them and is present (at least when you get enough sleep)!

Enjoy your baby…babies…children. But know that the more kind and loving we can be to our bodies after birth, the better relationship we will have throughout the life cycle.

Nourishing yourself and not dieting is important. Really important. You need to eat so that your post baby brain can be focused and on target. Balancing of meals through the day ensures your baby is getting enough nutrients and that you are too. Your body will figure itself out. With a little help. Take your children on a walk, get some alone time at an activity that you love. Dieting only depletes; it doesn’t lift or support you.

Getting some input from a Registered Dietitian can help you make sense of your eating schedule and how it ties to your baby or children’s eating patterns. An Intuitive Eating RD can also help you make sense of any struggles that are coming up for you in your own body and eating habits. Surrounding yourself with people who accept you and promote healthy eating habits, and talking to other new parents who are going through the same thing as you is also helpful.

Put yourself in a priority position so you can enjoy motherhood and yourself at the same time. 

Written especially for Circle 4 Parents by Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Intuitive Eating Trained Ellyn Silverman-Linnetz, who works with women to help them find balance and strength in their own food and body journeys.