My sister recently shared with me, “the best thing just happened to me. I was in my doctor’s office getting my standard six week check-up after having the baby and I was standing in front of the mirror in the room naked. And as I looked at all the changes that have taken place on my body, I realized, I will never look like I did before, ever again.” There’s no way it’s ever going to go back to how it looked before. And you know what, I instantly felt relieved. All this pressure to lose weight and “get back to how it was before” was suddenly over.
She said that, before the baby, if she gained weight she’d admonish herself and make promises to get back to her pre-college weight because she knew she could and she thought she should. She would diet and exercise then of course binge later and feel guilty that she didn’t have more self-control. And around and around we go. But this time, she could not ignore the obvious insanity of taking that approach yet again. She had just had a baby and the changes were much more dramatic this time that in previous weight gain episodes. This was much more than weight gain. This was a monumental change to her entire body inside and out. And she realized that there was no going back.
I applauded her for this realization. Literally. I clapped. Yes!
Her other option was to look at her body and say to herself, “man, I have a lot of work to do”. That would have been very disappointing.
Having a baby is like going to war, it’s a tremendous, selfless act of love and courage and when you come out of it on the other side you are NOT the same person who went in.
How could you be? You had a baby.
You carried a life inside you and you grew that life for 10 months. Dude. That’s a big freakin’ deal. You’re a big freakin’ deal. Own that shit. Rejoice in it. It’s awesome. It might be the most awesome thing you ever do in your life.
So of course you’ve got some battle bruises. Some scar tissue. Be proud of that. That weight gain, those stretch marks, those new contours and curves. All of that is evidence that you have lived. You have done this amazing, incredible thing and you survived.
And what about your body?
Your body gave you everything it had to pull off this incredible feat.
So now it’s time to say thank you.
After ten months of carrying an additional life, while also keeping you alive, then topping that all off with a little thing we like to call LABOR, how do we say thank you? Do we run to the gym and commence to starving ourselves on a 1200 calorie diet of tasteless fat-free crap? NO! That is not how we show gratitude.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t lose weight after having a baby.
I’m saying that it’s not the most important thing. Not even close. And it shouldn’t be the first thing you focus on. It shouldn’t be the second thing either.
The first thing to focus on is Love. The second thing to focus on is more love.
For years I hated my body. Or I lied and I told myself I loved my body underneath all the fat. But loving something only after it’s perfect is not really love at all.”
For the past 2 years I’ve been doing a lot of work towards forgiveness and learning to love my body as she is and loving her for more than her shape and instead for what she does for me day in and day out. Nothing has made me love my body more than having a baby. This recent journey we took together to bring my baby boy into this work, by the grace of God, was the final thing I needed to launch my full on love affair with my body……….as she is right now. I love her and I focus on that love every day.
Tell your body, “I love you”. Say it out loud. Look in the mirror and say, “I love you. Thank you for holding me up, every day.” Tell your body you love her by giving her the best self-care possible. Rub all those new curves and softness with oils and lotions. Get a professional massage, take a hot bath and work out all those aching muscles that worked so hard for you. Feed that body with delicious, healthy food that will replenish your body and give it strength. Give yourself a hug every chance you get.
First comes love, then comes change.
After you’ve truly focused on love, then the resulting effect will be physical shift in your body. Your body will reflect the love you give it. If you love your body, truly, she won’t hold onto extra weight for protection. She’ll be free to stand with you in this life at a smaller size, albeit maybe not the size you once were, but she will be smaller than she is today. If you love your body it will show in the way you eat, and in the way you exercise. So show your body love first, and then the rest will follow.
So, if you’ve just had a baby and you’re wondering where to start in the next stage of our health journey, I suggest you start by standing in front of that doctor’s mirror, naked, and realize, with a smile, that it’s never gonna be the same. And that is a great thing indeed.
If you enjoyed this post and this topic resonated with you then you might also enjoy this other post I found: https://shethefierce.com/2017/07/02/post-baby-body/
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