Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding is the most challenging transformation your body will experience. And it can leave you feeling shattered. The body you once called home feels foreign, but just as you learn to be a mama, you must also learn to accept and love the new you.
Loving your postpartum body is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, this newfound acceptance allows you to honour the incredible journey your body has just undergone, creating and birthing life. It serves as a constant reminder of your strength and resilience. Secondly, it aids in fostering a healthier mental state. Body positivity postpartum can help prevent feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and depression that may arise due to physical changes. Lastly, your acceptance and love for your body set a powerful example for your child, teaching them to respect and appreciate their bodies as they grow.
It's time to get body-positive, mama, and we are here to help.
Challenge unhelpful thoughts - getting caught up in negative self-talk is easy, especially after your body has undergone so many changes. Rachel Goldman, PhD, a clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City, explains that replacing negative thoughts with positive ones isn't always the answer. Instead, "think of things that are more neutral because they're also more realistic".
Follow these steps to challenge unhelpful thoughts:
- Identify the Negative Thought: Recognise when you're having a negative thought about your postpartum body. It could be something like "I don't look like I used to" or "I don't feel attractive."
- Pause and Acknowledge: Instead of dismissing the thought, pause and acknowledge it. Recognise that it's okay to have these feelings, but don't let them dictate your self-worth.
- Question the Thought: Ask yourself if the thought is helping or hindering your body positivity. Does it align with your desire to appreciate and love your postpartum body?
- Replace with a Neutral or Positive Thought: If the answer to the above question is no, then replace the thought with something more neutral or positive. Instead of focusing on how your body looks, consider what it has accomplished, like carrying and giving birth to a child.
- Repeat as Needed: Challenging unhelpful thoughts is a continuous process. It's not a one-time deal, and that's perfectly okay. Keep practicing, and with time, it will become easier to foster positive thoughts about your postpartum body.
Focus on what your body is capable of - shift the focus from your body's appearance to an appreciation for how your body functions and what it does for you every day. And your body, mama has just grown a human. It doesn't get much better.
Here are a few ways to make this shift:
Embrace Movement and Celebrate Strength: One powerful method to shift your focus from appearance to capabilities is to engage in physical activity. This doesn't mean vigorous exercise or striving for weight loss, but simply moving your body in ways that feel good to you. This can remind you of the strength, resilience, and adaptability of your body.
Reframe Exercise: Instead of seeing exercise as a way to 'fix' your postpartum body, reframe it as a celebration of what your body can achieve. Whether it's going for a walk with your baby, practicing yoga, or dancing around your living room, it's all about appreciating your body's abilities.
Recognising Strengths: Spend time each day acknowledging the physical feats your body accomplishes. This could be as simple as the ability to pick up your child, carry groceries, or climb a flight of stairs.
Prioritising Function: Try focusing on the functional aspects of your body. For instance, your arms allow you to hug your loved ones, and your legs enable you to walk and explore. This helps shift your perspective from how your body looks to what it can do.
This shift in perspective is vital for self-esteem as it encourages you to value your body for its abilities rather than its appearance. It promotes a healthier body image and a more positive relationship with your body, ultimately boosting your confidence and self-worth. Remember, your body's worth is not determined by how it looks postpartum, but by the incredible life it has brought into the world and the amazing things it lets you do every day.
Here are some powerful affirmations for embracing your postpartum body:
- "I am grateful for my body, for it has carried and given birth to life."
- "My worth is not determined by my physical appearance."
- "I am strong, capable, and resilient, just like my body."
- "Every stretch mark serves as a testament to the life I created."
- "I love and accept my body as it is today."
- "My body is a vessel of strength, love, and endurance."
- "I embrace the changes in my body, for each one tells a beautiful story."
- "My body is my constant companion and I choose to honor it."
- "I am more than my body. I am a mother, a provider, a caretaker, a partner, and so much more."
- "Every day, in every way, I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin."
Remember, saying these affirmations out loud will feel strange at first, but repetition is key. Keep going until you start believing in them. Body positivity is a journey, and these affirmations will support you along the way.
Practice affirmations - similar to your birth affirmation. Body affirmations are a tool you can call on for strength. Replace negative self-talk with one of your affirmations. It may feel awkward to begin with, but the more you practice, it will become second nature.
Wear maternity lingerie that makes you feel great- that bra you are squeezing into or swimming in will do nothing for your self-esteem. Lingerie is often forgotten, but this is the foundation of your outfit. Getting it right can do wonders for how you feel. The same goes for clothing. To find out what maternity bra is best for you, complete our Fit Quiz.
We love designing maternity lingerie that empowers. Here are just a few customer reviews, that give us all the feels.
"Obsessed with this bra! I have it in 2 colours, it is so comfortable and makes me feel sexy in my changing body! So happy I found hotmilk 😍" - Ellmarina M.
Elle ordered - Heroine Plunge Maternity Bra
"I'm in love with this bra! I'm actually back buying the skin colored on right now! I was so tired of feeling unattractive with my una boob nursing bras. This is so sexy and I can still nurse comfortably. I highly recommend" - Isabella O.
Isabella ordered - Temptation Powder Maternity Bra
"Beautiful, functional bra! The lace is nice and soft and doesn't irritate my pregnant breasts. I love that it is built to expand with nursing so I was able to buy it during pregnancy and should be able to use it after birth. I feel pretty, comfortable, and supported." - Stef M
Stef ordered - Warrior Soft Cup Maternity Bra
Be selective about who you follow on social media - Being selective about the social media accounts you follow is crucial for your mental and emotional well-being postpartum. Social media is a powerful tool that can inspire and educate, but it can also create unrealistic expectations and breed insecurity, especially about body image. By consciously curating your feed, you surround yourself with positive, uplifting content that reinforces self-love, body acceptance, and the beauty of motherhood in all its forms. This empowers you to embrace your postpartum body and fosters a healthier perspective of self during this transformative phase of your life. Remember, your journey is uniquely yours - and every step, including the changes your body goes through, is a testament to the miracle of life. Fill your feed with people and brands that make you feel good. Alternatively, a social media detox could be a good idea.
Surround yourself with people that lift you up - In addition to tailoring your social media feed, it's important to consider the direct influences in your life. Surround yourself with people who uplift you, motivate you, and appreciate your journey. This could be your partner, family, friends, or even a support group of other moms who are experiencing a similar journey. These people should be individuals who help you feel comfortable in your skin, reinforce the beauty of your postpartum body, and remind you of your strength and the incredible feat your body has accomplished. Remember, support and positivity from your personal network can significantly impact your self-perception and love for your postpartum body. Find your tribe, love them hard, and let them love you back.
You've got this mama!