After giving birth to each of my children, it felt as if I was meeting my body for the first time. The extra skin, bloated belly, stretch marks, scars, and wider hips.
As Moms, despite how thankful we are for the babies our bodies created, the changes can be an enormous blow to our self-confidence as women. This is something us Moms don’t often talk about – but I believe needs to become part of our dialogue!
My Body’s Journey During Motherhood
I have four children. Each about 2 years apart.
Despite exercising and eating relatively healthy, I gained about 60 lbs during each pregnancy. I always lost about 40 of those pounds between each of my pregnancies. My youngest is now 4 and I still hold onto those 20 lbs – something I mentally struggle with most days.
I spent 11 consecutive years pregnant and/or breastfeeding. E-L-E-V-E-N!
To be honest, I truly loved pregnancy and the gift of nursing my babies. I’d do it again if I wasn’t so darn exhausted!
But I’d be lying if I said pregnancy and nursing weren’t a major sacrifice. Us pregnant and nursing Mamas literally have another human taking over our bodies. I found myself detaching mentally from my body and thinking of it as a vessel on this earth here to serve others (my babies).
When I became a Mom, I put my physical appearance on the back burner. Yoga pants and a messy bun errday. Haircut – maybe once a year. Makeup…almost never.
Vanity just seemed so trivial in comparison to focusing every ounce of my energy on caring for my children. Maybe it’s because I learned from our f*cked up society that to be a good mother, we must sacrifice our whole selves.
Newsflash…I was wrong.
My youngest weaned from nursing about a year ago, and since then, I slowly started reconnecting with my body. Appreciating my body for the four beautiful humans it created, and for keeping me healthy, and fighting off diseases.
I’ve been eating healthier, exercising harder, and taking more time for my physical and mental self-care.
As A Mom, Caring For Your Appearance Isn’t Vanity…Its Survival
What I didn’t recognize during my pregnant and nursing days, is that when a Mom cares for her physical appearance, its not vanity…its self-freaking-preservation! Its about self-confidence and self-worth.
So when I look in the mirror, I want to feel empowered by my reflection. I don’t want to see myself as a victim, too exhausted to brush my hair.
I want to be a woman who has self-worth enough to nurture the one and only place I’ll live the rest of my life…my body!
Feeling good about my appearance produces positive feelings in me – which improves my confidence (something I think all Moms can use an extra dose of!).
Let’s pause for a hot second while I clarify something here. I’m not talking layers of makeup or strutting around in a bikini. I’m aiming for a daily shower, a basic skin care routine, and wearing clothes I feel good about.
Where I Started
I started with little changes. The first was a skin care routine which I discuss in this blog post.
Then I moved onto my sleepwear.
Any of you Moms sleep in downright horrific pajamas? For years my nightly attire consisted of a worn out tank top and sweatpants. Or a three-sizes-too-big teeshirt.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t feel pressure to look “hot” while I’m sleeping. But I certainly wasn’t doing anything for my self-esteem the “pajamas” I was donning.
I started changing things up by purchasing this nightgown. Nothing risque (at least one of our four kids shows up in our bed each night). Just a few steps above the worn out tee and sweats.
Its super comfy, made of cotton, and has adjustable straps. And of course, I purchased it from my BFF… Amazon. It has great ratings and is less than $20.
Moms, this simple change in what I wear to bed has encouraged me to embrace my body and improve my self-esteem. When I pass the mirrors on my closet door, I don’t feel depressed about my sweatpants and worn out tee. I feel cared for – even pretty!
I’ve since ordered a few others that I equally enjoy. And the old tank tops, tees, and sweats have been tossed!
Moms, I feel like times are changing in our society and I want to jump onboard! Women are beginning to embrace our postpartum bodies – stretch marks, wider hips, c-section scars and all.
Imagine if we also give ourselves permission to take the time to care about our physical appearance? For nobody’s benefit but our own!
I’d love to hear your secrets to improving self-esteem and body image! If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments!