While I’m out on maternity leave, please welcome my friend Crystal Karges, a fellow Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.” ― Heraclitus
Bringing babies into the world is a transformational process that spurs drastic change in our lives – body, mind, and soul. Could we expect to be anything less? Physically alone, a woman’s body will undergo tremendous change in order to make room for a growing baby. But it doesn’t end with pregnancy and birth.
The “Get Your Body Back” postpartum message that we’re all too acquainted with lies in stark contrast to the reality that women face in the months and years after having a baby. The postpartum period has been watered down to be a time that is aggressively preoccupied with “bouncing back”, but could such a thing be expected when change is a necessary part of becoming a mother?
Choosing Gratitude in the Face of Uncertainty
The truth is, the postpartum period is a time of great uncertainty and transitions. Becoming a mother is more than just our bodies physically changing. It is the evolution into a new identity, one that now entails caring for a little one whose existence is entirely dependent on us.
No matter if this is your first baby or sixth baby, the transitions that come with new motherhood can be difficult to work through, as it often creates a sense of doubt in oneself. It’s no wonder that many moms feel uncomfortable in their own skin or unable to accept how their body has changed. It is a deeper ramification of the vulnerability that comes with the process of adjusting to a new phase in life.
Countless of new mothers lose precious mental space by fixating on how to change the marks that have been left by pregnancy, only to find themselves in a frustrating and aggravating cycle of dieting and poor body image. How can you begin to make peace with the new home you are in now?
The simple answer is: choose gratitude.
In the moments that you feel frustrated with your body, celebrate the things that you are capable of doing and what your body has carried you through (I mean, just look at that precious baby!). During the times where negative body image thoughts creep over your precious mental space, choose to remember something you appreciate about yourself. When you find it difficult to accept the changes in your body from growing a baby, let gratitude allow you to take care of the body you are in now.
Choosing gratitude toward your postpartum body rather than indifference can be the gateway to acceptance, even through all the changes that you may still be learning to appreciate. At the end of the day, remember that your changing body is what brought you your baby, and she deserves kindness, respect, and care for the miracle of life and gift that she has given you.
Sometimes feelings follow action, so even on the days you don’t “feel” like appreciating your postpartum body, be kind to it anyway. Nourish your body with good food, allow yourself time to rest, recover, and the space to become reacquainted with the new person that has come into motherhood. You are worth it mama, and you don’t deserve anything less.
Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Virtual Nutrition Coach for moms & mama of 5. Crystal is passionate about helping mamas nurture a peaceful relationship with food & their bodies so they can confidently nourish their kids, end the battles at the dinner table and bring joy back to eating. Find more motherhood and meal time inspiration on her blog and follow her on Instagram @crystalkarges.