On Motherhood

Body Positivity Should be Part of Every Postpartum Check

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Moms already know that waiting six weeks for a postpartum check is bullshit. By the time a doctor gets around to asking you how you’re doing, you’ve already gone through the process of sink or swim. Help should be given much sooner, and there’s so much that needs to be addressed in a postpartum visit. The baby gets several visits after birth, but what about mom?

Instead of simply asking “how are you doing?” we need much more pointed questions, and one should be about our bodies. Our physical perception of ourselves greatly impacts our mental health, and pregnancy is a drastic change. After my first pregnancy, I was shocked at the “new” me. Stretch marks, boobs triple in size, hips that no longer fit into my jeans. My self-esteem took a huge hit. I had to wrangle with seeing someone completely different in the mirror.

It gets worse when every woman is asked about diet and exercise the second she is cleared at a not-so-helpful postpartum visit. There’s a huge push to get your pre-baby body back. There’s no acknowledgement that things will never be the same, but regardless, you should bust your ass to make it happen.

There needs to be a discussion of body positivity. Someone should be asking new moms how they feel about the changes they’ve undergone, not as a mother, but as a person. You were an individual before you had the baby, and it’s important to still recognize that. Yet mothers get lost in the sea of baby needs and forget any aspect of self-care.

The beauty of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum should be celebrated. A woman’s body is creating life, but as soon as it’s over, it’s not attractive. Every mother is beautiful. What they have accomplished is incredible and it’s time to put a positive spin on it.

It’s time for doctors to ask about the stretch marks and the sausage-size nipples (because how the hell did that happen?!). It’s time for someone to encourage feeling confident in their new skin, regardless of stretch marks. If someone isn’t confident, let’s talk about what we can do to fix it. It’s time for society to forget the stereotype of what a mother should look like postpartum and embrace the reality.

Pregnancy and childbirth are hard. They are painful. The experience is a significant trauma to the body.

Mothers have been through one hell of a battle. Can we please acknowledge them for the warriors they are? It’s not an overnight process to love your new body, but it would be much easier if we talked about it. It’s not vanity, it’s self-love. There’s a difference, and your perception of yourself as a mother AND a person is more important than you’ve been led to believe.

Pregnancy and Your Newborn

6 Post-Partum Joys After 9 Long Months of Pregnancy

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Pregnancy can get to be a real drag after 9 months, especially if you went overdue with your bundle of joy. There is relief after giving birth, but the blissful first moments with your newborn are only a mask to the many challenges of post-partum life that are next in line. The mood swings, the hemorrhoids, the newborn that doesn’t sleep… the list is endless. It’s a good thing that there are silver linings in all this mess, because moms would lose their minds otherwise. It’s time to look at the positives of the early post-partum stages and try to forget about the adult diaper you’re wearing.

  1. You aren’t a beached whale anymore.

Depending on the type of delivery, movement could still be limited. However, it’s nice to be able to get out of bed and off the couch without heaves, rolls, and assistance from others.

  1. You can sleep on your back.

As a lover of back-sleeping, I really missed this. Side sleeping sucks. I couldn’t lay on my back throughout my entire pregnancy, even when I was awake, because my child was crushing my lungs and shoving his feet in my ribs.

  1. You can see your toes.

My ability to put on my shoes was still limited in that first week, but at least I could see my toes. It was nice to look down and not see a kicking mass of unborn terror.

  1. You can eat sushi without judgment.

Not everyone follows all the food rules (I certainly don’t) but I did resist sushi and rare steak. I’ll admit that I ate like crap the first week of post-partum life and figured my newborn and I could both use the extra calories. I reluctantly ate a salad today out of guilt, so don’t freak out.

  1. You can walk like a normal person.

I was rocking some hardcore pregnancy swag for the last few months of my pregnancy, and I felt light as a bird the first time I left the house after getting home from the hospital.

  1. All the baby snuggles.

You can’t forget about what your body spent so much time creating. I’m not thrilled about being woken up several times a night to feed this new gremlin, but I do love the quiet snuggly moments that I know will be over way too soon. Post-partum is a real bitch but reminding myself of these normal-person perks make me feel better about everything.

Health On Motherhood Parenting

I Love My Body More After Pregnancy

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Every mom’s journey is unique. We all have post-pregnancy struggles, and body image is often one of them. I completely understand that some women feel pressure to return to pre-pregnancy bodies, and it can be very difficult. But for me, pregnancy did something for me that I hadn’t ever been able to accomplish on my own: I truly love my body.

Pregnancy is an incredible experience, and with each passing week, I got to feel life grow inside me. I didn’t even begrudge the stretch marks that appeared at about 38 weeks (I thought I had gotten lucky) because I was in complete awe of what I was accomplishing. I made a freaking person. Even a year and a half later, it still blows my mind.

Changing Old Expectations

During that time, I was able to really come to terms with my own expectations. It seemed ridiculous to ask myself to eat a salad daily to stay thin, especially when the child growing inside me wanted Doritos instead. It was also really hard to compare myself to other pregnant women, because many experiences are different. For years, I compared myself to other women, wondering if I held a candle to them and their beauty. Pregnancy made me feel gorgeous, without the pressure of the gym, salads, and whether I had a pooch. I felt free.  Bloated today? Well, pregnancy is non-stop bloating so work those maternity jeans. Acne in weird places? Can’t control my hormones, busy growing a person.

Accepting New Changes

I have to admit, the most shocking change was my boobs. I have a relatively small frame, and I launched from a size 34 C to 36 DD. When I was carrying a basketball around with me, it wasn’t very noticeable. After giving birth, I definitely noticed. The hospital nurses commented on how I was “all baby” and I pretty much deflated. I went home with my newborn, and was absolutely shook at the difference in the mirror. Whose boobs were these?! Not mine. I felt so gross, which my husband laughs at now, because he thought it was awesome. I felt like they didn’t fit on my body, and I definitely cried. Now, I look in the mirror and I don’t even remember what they looked like before.

Some would tell me that I got lucky, and that I don’t know what other women are going through. You are right: I don’t know what other women are going through, but that doesn’t invalidate my experience. Just because my boobs are the only thing that shocked me doesn’t mean I didn’t go through other changes. They just didn’t bother me. My hips are wider, I’ve still got stretch marks, and my boobs will never be the same. I’m also a pro at throwing up and peeing myself at the same time. It is what it is.

Perspective Matters

The changes didn’t bother me because I was so impressed with myself. Carrying this child and giving birth made me feel like a warrior, and even when I was throwing up daily, I chose to be positive and embrace the experience for exactly what it was, not what I thought it should be. When I bench-pressed my own body weight for the first time at the gym, I was pretty damn proud. But nothing could compare to giving life. All of a sudden, all of my concerns about how I stacked up to other women seemed frivolous.

Every single mom is incredible, because there is so much sacrifice that goes into being a mother. My entire perspective changed when I became pregnant. I am thrilled with my stretch marks, because they remind me of what it was like to feel Hallie kick for the first time. My over-sized boobs still offer Hallie nutrition and they bring her comfort. And I rock a mom-pooch, no longer giving a crap about having a flat stomach. I think I look great, and I’ve never loved myself more.

You Are Beautiful

You don’t need to feel pressured to get your pre-baby body back. At this very moment, you are beautiful. Your body is incredible. Your body brought life into this world. If you want to hit the gym and get back into shape, go for it! I work out regularly because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. If you want a tummy-tuck or other reconstruction, you go girl. Sometimes it’s a medical necessity and other times it’s about being able to see your true self in the mirror. But love yourself NOW. Everything is a journey, and you can’t wait until the end of the road to appreciate what you have. And right now, you and your postpartum body are amazing.