My body changed a bit after my first kid. After my second, it’s barely recognizable to me.
It’s been 10 months since my second baby, and I am only 13 lbs heavier than pre-first-baby. But I’m also four and a half years older than when I started having kids. The years plus the extra weight seem to have a powerful synergy.
I feel like I have super strong muscles in some places from lifting kids (my biceps and back), and none in others (my triceps, abs and thighs). My belly sticks out like it’s still carrying a giant womb.
But no worries, I’m dealing with it. Here’s my formula for loving your postpartum body as-is.
First of all, understand that your body has changed. It will never be the same.
Don’t mourn the loss of your old body. Just embrace what you’ve got now. Live in the moment, right? You never know what tomorrow might bring.
Take care of your body. But not just with exercise, food and sleep…
Sometimes you feel like your body is pushed to extremes. You can go months without a full night’s sleep. You put off going to the bathroom for hours. You find the energy to chase after your toddler even when you can’t manage to make yourself a coffee.
Take that extra few minutes to shave your legs. File your feet if you get callouses. Pluck your eyebrows – whatever you feel like you just never get to do. You will feel sooo much better after! And no one will be the worse for the few extra minutes it took you.
Get a new wardrobe.
This one is tough. It takes money. And it takes accepting that you’re not going to fit in your old clothes again right away. And even if you do, your old clothes probably won’t fit you the way they used to. Maybe styles have even changed.
Those are clothes that can bless someone else now. What you need is a set of clothes that look fantastic on you at this moment, as you are today. If it’s been a year and you are still wearing your maternity clothes and yoga pants, it’s time to go shopping.
Look for things that will make complete outfits, so you don’t have to spend too much time picking out what to wear each day. Take note of how your body and your tastes may have changed. (I’m loving brighter colors than before, too – I find they pick me up and add a cheery note after a long, sleepless night. And I think I’ve changed from a pear shape to more apple-like now.)
Your lifestyle is different now, too. No matter what you were doing before, now you’re a mom. And even if you’re still active socially and working, etc., your basic role in the universe has changed.
Not to say you should get white sneakers and mom jeans, but rather, the opposite. Find the well-fitting, comfortable clothes that let you feel like you look good but let you move and groove without fuss as you go about your day.
It’s worth the investment. Even if your weight is higher on the scale than you’d like, you’ll see you can look – and feel – wonderful just as you are right now.
A note about finding the time to go shopping
I find it incredibly hard to shop at the mall now, with little ones in tow. Instead, I have found the retailers online that carry clothes that fit me and flatter my new shape. I wait for mega sales and then pick up wonderful bargains. My favorite clothing brand right now is Boden. Every July and December they mark their clothes down as much as 70%, and I swoop up body-skimming (and slimming) tunic tops, fun sandals and cute jersey dresses. The best part is that I’ve found many of the styles look great within a range of different weights – some things I was wearing when I was 15 lbs heavier still look great on, and I hope to keep wearing them as more weight comes off. Nicer pieces I may get tailored as I go.
And one more clothing tip.
Get new undergarments!
I don’t know if you have found this same thing, but I realized my pre-pregnancy underpants ended right under where my belly protrudes, making it look even worse. A higher rise takes care of that and smoothes things right out. See some more recommendations in my Super Mom Kit post.
Any tips you want to share on how to love your body and look your postpartum best?