How to Manage Your Postpartum Body Image

8 Ways to Face Your Body After Baby Arrives

Postpartum body. A picture of a woman measuring herself in the mirror
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Having a baby brings various changes to your life. One you may not have expected, though, is how your body transforms instantly the moment your baby arrives. The beautiful baby bump you sported for nine months has been replaced with a body you may not recognize right now. The way in which mothers face their body image postpartum depends on the woman, but there are many ways to positively approach this post-pregnancy stage.

1. Don't Let the Mirror Define You

The body you see in the mirror may make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. Don't let the mirror define who you are.

You're still the same person, but you're a mom with a new baby to care for now. That's much more important than the image you see in a mirror.

2. Recognize the Changes

Yes, your body has changed. It's okay to recognize that change for what it is. It took nine months for your body to house your little one as she grew.

That's an amazing change that's taken place, and your body made those changes gradually. In the days, weeks or months that follow having a baby, your body will look different, and it's important your body image postpartum doesn't negatively affect you as you take care of your newborn.

3. Accept Your Body

Supermodels wearing bikinis grace the covers of magazines just weeks after having their babies. Why can't you? Because that's an unrealistic expectation to put upon yourself. Unless you have high-priced personal trainers on call and unlimited time to work out, you won't magically lose that baby weight days after giving your birth.

Accept your new body as it is, giving yourself time to adjust to how you look for the moment. Once you do, you'll view yourself in a whole new light, and what you think matters more than what you see on a magazine rack.

4. Make Changes When You're Ready

Once your doctor has approved exercise, get active if you want to get your body back in shape. Simply push the stroller around the block or walk around the house with your baby in a sling. Over the first few weeks after having a baby, a lot of weight will fall off on its own as you go about your daily routine. That will give you a good head start.

The main goal is to make changes when and if they make you happy and to take things slowly when you do. Postpartum fitness can be very different from getting in shape before you had a baby. You don't want to overexert or hurt yourself trying to rush the results.

5. Love Your Postpartum Body

Many moms, especially those who have more than one child, decide skinny jeans and one hour-a-day workouts are no longer a priority. They choose to get to a healthy weight without actually returning to their pre-pregnancy size.

It's okay to love your postpartum body. Your body did a wonderful, miraculous thing. It provided a cozy home for a tiny cell all the way up to the baby you greeted when she was born. It's incredible, and so is your body.

6. Find Support

Your body is experiencing many physical changes as well as emotional changes. Moms of all experience levels need support.

Don't be afraid to find a support group of women who are going through the exact same things you are. They can help you face your body image postpartum while also providing support for a number of other parenting issues you'll face along the way.

7. Give Yourself a Break

It's easy to be hard on yourself after having a baby. Less than a year ago you looked completely different. But less than a year ago, you didn't have a baby either.

You just had a baby. Give yourself and your body a break. You've been through a lot from giving birth, and you don't want negative feelings to lead to mommy burnout in this time that's supposed to be so happy in your life.

8. Shift Your Perspective

Postpartum body image isn't just about what you see. It's about what you feel too. You can honestly be quite shocked when you see yourself after giving birth. Having a baby takes a toll on you, and it can take many months for you to fully recover. Shift your perspective to see what all you've done in less than a year to bring a baby into the world.

Of course, you look different. You helped grow a human, and now that newborn is here. What you see now is only temporary and you can make changes if you choose to do so. For now, focus on your baby, and enjoy this new body that helped give you the infant in your arms.