I have always been curvy.
All through teenage and even in my 20s, I was on the heavier side. I consider myself healthy, curvy, and strong, and I have never had any major body issues despite being heavier than what the norms required.
Yes, I always hoped to be skinnier but who doesn’t? Every woman has some body image issue because we all want to be that version of perfect displayed on our favorite magazine covers. Despite that, I was confident with my self and did not care to any judgements passed by anyone.
However, after becoming a mother, my confidence and personal sense of self began to decline. I do not blame my girls for this! Oh god never! But we all know that pregnancy changes our bodies, inside and out, and our psyche, if we let it.
I often tell my husband that I miss that woman he fell in love with. He would jokingly say, “She is right here in front of me”. But I know she is not. I am different. I feel different. I look different. Many things about me have changed in these past several years; some I have accepted while others that bother me often, such as postpartum body image.
[Related: 5 Postpartum Skin Changes To Look Out For]
Feminists would roll in their graves if they heard me say that! Haha!
Because this body gave birth to two human beings. It endured pain, surgery, child birth, and it runs on insufficient sleep and no self-care, yet it fiercely protects, loves, and takes care of those it loves.
I feel proud of these accomplishments. I really do! And I feel blessed to be able to do it all; be a full-time working mother, raising my girls, taking care of my husband, and everything else as necessary.
But along the way, being and doing everything, I feel that I have lost a big part of me. The confident, positive, sanguine part of me that was once the highlight of my personality seems to under an overcast! And, social media does not help either! 😐
Nope! Everyone online seems so perfect and put together, while I sometimes struggle to run a brush through my hair on a given day. My friends tell me that I lack time for self-care and I know that they are right because when it comes to prioritizing myself, I am the worst ever! I have time for everything and everyone, but myself. Or at least I did! Because lately I have stated taking small steps to help me find myself again.
Yep, small, very obvious, baby steps that I hope will help jog my brain and awaken whatever part that is responsible for making me feel positive about my postpartum body and self. It’s not about getting my body back, but to figure out how to move through life in this NEW body with confidence.
How I am Handling my Postpartum Body Image Issue
Yeah yeah! The big kahuna! Scheduling spa/facial days, haircuts, exercise and just about anything that helps me to stay physically put together and moving. They say how you feel on the outside reflects how you feel on the inside. So, I am trying to make time for my physical self so my mental self can sing me a thank you note!
Another big one! I threw and donated 99% of my clothes after my second baby was born. They may have still fit me after the first few months, but I just didn’t want to look at them. I already knew they would look and feel uncomfortable on me so I gave them the heave out. I bought several new dresses, tops, and jeans and started a new wardrobe from scratch AND on a budget too ! 🙂
Ok TMI alert! But postpartum breasts are not funny. They are perfect one minute when filled up with breast-milk or fat or whatever the hell it has, and after nursing, they become these shriveled little prunes that have no shape, or life in them.
How the heck can you dress something like that? No wonder nursing bras are so boring and plain. So I bought some new fancy underwear to make my feminine parts happy. I kept the nursing bras but when I wear normal clothes to go out, I put on proper fitting underwear to ensure that I look half decent and keep the integrity of the nice top that I am wearing.
Eating without guilt
I love food! Good, variety and delicious food. I hate salads and trust me, that is probably part of the reason I have been curvy my entire life. I feel that no matter how much you dress it up, it still does not fill me up. This mentality is due to the years of eating rice and roti. [GUILTY!!]
But yes, due to breastfeeding and in the name of losing post-partum weight, I watch the type of food I eat. My little one is sensitive – she was colic the first few months – so I have to be careful with what I eat. I try to eat healthier than I normally do and avoid unnecessary sugars (sometimes I throw in the towel and pig on my kiddos chocolate cookies though). But for the most part, I am being careful and attentive about my food intake.
Time and patience
Ok so I left the sappy one for last. Despite feeling low in confidence and having postpartum body image issues, I am being gentle on myself. Deep down I am happy that I birthed 2 beautiful girls and I know that with care and support, I will regain my body confidence no matter what size I am. And to be that, I know that I must give myself time and be patient with the results.
If you are up for it, I’d love to hear your story about how you handled postpartum body image issues [if any😊].