Body Image Motherhood

Wine, Trampolines and Body Love

After posting 4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies, I invited moms to share what they love about themselves after having kids. There were so many positive responses, ranging from a simple “Thank you. I needed that “ to “My arms have never looked toner” to “When I think about what my body did, giving birth to my kids, I’m amazed” to “I’m in better shape at 37 than I was before having my (3) children.”

There were also moms who are truly struggling with the way they look and function after having kids. C. said: “There is nothing pretty about a post-partum body especially after twins and anyone who says otherwise is a liar…I do care that my body will never be the same and I wish people wouldn’t have lied about it…” To the moms who struggle, know that you’re not alone. I hope you heal soon, see beauty and strength in yourself and believe how awesome you are.

As with any topic, there are always people with different or opposing opinions. One commenter couldn’t relate because her body “hadn’t changed at all” after having two kids. A few others felt that the article was untrue or more pointedly, “total BS,” in its description of the ways our bodies change or was unnecessarily scary for new moms. Others were simply sick of the Mama Bodies topic altogether. Fair enough. Differing perspectives make for a more interesting conversation.

A few other highlights:

The “truth” that resonated the most with people was #3: “Instead, your body will do amazing things you never dreamed it could do. It makes me so happy that most readers focused on what is possible. Besides the pure physical accomplishment and wonder of growing and carrying a human in utero, women shared other major milestones, like running a marathon after having multiple children, climbing mountains and simply choosing to live healthy, active lives as moms. Wow, ladies, thanks for the inspiration.

We moms have a sense of humor about ourselves. While my own mom felt it was a bit TMI for me to share that jumping jacks sometimes leave me, well, less than dry, several of you mentioned the perils of your own subsequently weakened pelvic floors. This quote from J. about sums it up: “Sneezing and jumping on trampolines will never be the same. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise!”

IMG_4217Many moms also related to the sentiment that we should “never, ever give up the wine.” I got a lot of amens and lols on that one. Good to know we mamas know enough to take a load off and enjoy a good glass of chardonnay/sauvignon blanc/pinot, as needed.

It’s important to take care of our bodies. I received several very helpful comments about what can be done to help those of us with that uncomfortable leaking during physical activity. M said: “…(I am) dumbfounded that OBs and midwives don’t automatically refer every postpartum woman to see a PT [physical therapist] after birth…PT [physical therapy] is totally needed in many cases…to regain “normal” function.” So all you mamas out there who avoid jumping jacks like I do, let’s ask our OBs and primary care physicians for those physical therapy referrals!

Finally, here are a few of the links forwarded to me about positive body-image projects and articles:

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project: This incredible photography project documents women’s beautiful bodies during pregnancy and beyond.

Jade Beall’s personal photos after giving birth posted on The San Francisco Globe website are lovely.

Blooma Blog: This site is truly supportive and nurturing for new moms. I especially like the post-partum section with its focus on both emotional and physical health.

A Public Declaration of Love: This is a great personal article by writer Katie Dohman where she asks us what it would take for us moms to love ourselves.

100 Steps to Getting Rid of Stretch Marks Fast: As a big fan of stretch marks (ha), this list just makes me laugh.

Taryn Brumfitt’s Body Image Movement: Taryn is a mom of three who has really struggled with her body image from both ends of the spectrum. She’s working on a documentary called Embrace.

Let me know if you have any other links you’d like to share related to post-partum bodies or positive body image.

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