I was speaking at a girl empowerment event this week and sharing with teen girls the connection between what you eat and your mood, a topic I absolutely love to speak about. After my talk, a few of the speakers including myself were interviewed by various media. One of the reporters asked me how I feel about my body post-baby, which caught me off guard and after chatting with her I decided, I should blog about it.
Until very recently, I havent even thought about my body post-pregnancy. I have been so busy with being a mama and work life that it really hasnt been on my radar. I wear clothes that I feel comfortable in (and admittedly this includes my favourite Roots yoga pants more often then I would like to admit).
However, I recently got all my summer clothes out from the locker and tried everything on. Not surprisingly, all my shorts were super snug and while I could do up the top button, they weren't exactly comfortable anymore. Sure I could squeeze into them, but I dont like wearing tight clothes.
I found myself looking in the mirror wondering how did my hips manage to become so much wider. Oh right I had a baby! Those hormones widened my hips to allow my beautiful baby to be born. So ya, my hips are wider and my boobs change size on a nearly hourly basis, depending on milk flow and let's not even go there with my tummy, ha! All my mama-girlfriends have already advised me that after nursing for 2 years (which I'm hoping to do) my boobs could be like little pancakes. Eeep!
This affirmation comes to mind as I write this...
Clearly, I need to create some positive affirmation cards about my body. Since trying on of all my pre-preggo clothes, Ive found myself not feeling as confident in my new mama body. You might be thinking Joy, you look great, and I thank you in advance, but my body has changed since before being pregnant and this makes me feel a little self-conscious.
Am I okay with these changes?
Hmmmmm. The answer is a very honest one: sometimes yes and sometimes no. When I tried on all those clothes and everything was uncomfortable I found myself thinking negative thoughts about my body. Even me! Im the one who is always preaching love your body no matter the size was suddenly feeling inadequate looking in the mirror at my new mama hips.
I felt like I transported back in time when I was a teen and would weigh myself multiple times per day and stare at my body in the mirror criticizing it and wondering how I could change it. Back then, it was my self-esteem that needed a makeover because there was absolutely nothing wrong with my body. It was beautiful and still is. I actually feel very emotional writing this post because I cant believe how critical I was about my body back then. I will never allow myself to be that way ever again. It was so unhealthy and spilled out into more aspects of my life than just how I felt about myself.
And while it sounds cliché, I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have been much kinder to my younger self.
Isn't it interesting that I find myself back in such a familar position? Im not weighing myself; in fact, we dont even own a scale. But I did have a moment of "oh crap, I need to lose weight to fit into those friggin' white Aritzia shorts I love so much." The truth is, I dont need to lose weight. My body is perfectly perfect just the way it is.
I know those feelings will sometimes creep back in, but now I have a plan to deal with them. Just like when I was pregnant and sometimes found anxious thoughts come out of nowhere, I can use my secret weapon: affirmation cards.
I have created these positive body-loving affirmation cards that I keep in my bag (which now morphed from trendy purse to practical diaper bag) and carry with me at all times. Anytime Im feeling a little unsure about my new mama body, I will read them out loud and remind myself how grateful I am to have a baby and to have been given the gift of Vienna. And of course, that my body is beautiful just the way it is.
In addition to this, loving my body also means caring for it like a temple and that means nourishing it well. This is one area I can say with confidence I've nailed -- what I eat. While I'm not striving for perfection, (I do eat pizza and gelato from time to time) 99% of the time Walker and I eat incredibly delicious and healthy food. This has a positive impact on my mood and mental well-being. It is a lifestyle for us and such a part of who I am I don't know any other way any more.
If you're curious to find out what I recommend and the kind of meals I've been eating since Vienna came along, you can check out my latest ebook: Feel Joyous, Look Great After Pregnancy and Beyond.
Even if you haven't had a baby, I hope you enjoy these affirmation cards. Let's all love our body a little more, shall we? :)
I absolutely love this little poem.
I wonder what conversations I would have with myself 20 years from now if I could talk to 38-year old me. What would you like to say to your younger self? Share them with me in the comments below!
Thank you for reading :)