Improve your Postnatal Body Image with these Best Strategies
9 minute read, Written By: Momly
Pregnancy body lingers not only during your pregnancy but also after the childbirth. Pregnant women face lot of body image issues throughout their pregnancy and that does not stop even when the child is born. Rather, it acts as one of the factors that contribute to their postnatal depression. How to help them see their body positively? How to guide them to nurture their body consciously by making them adopt self-care habits? These are some of the questions that our motherhood community discussed with Image consultant who is also our community expert on building body image for new moms in the postpartum period. Detailing those postnatal self-care hacks in this month’s special edit.
How does it feel to be in postpartum body?
Postpartum period is a transformation stage in new mom’s life as she is adjusting to her new role as a mother to new born. From a pregnant mother who held a center stage in her family to a new mom who has slipped in the corner to pave way for her new born to take spotlight, this shift is highly demanding for her. Donning of the hat of a mother adds on self-doubts and anxiety and constantly bombards her mind with questions in her mind whether she is handling her baby properly, whether she is getting it right and several other worries and conflicts.
This reflects on her physical health. A new mom doesn’t feel energized and faces lower back pain and body aches in her postpartum period. She is sleep deprived due to erratic sleep patterns of her baby and also due to breastfeeding her baby every couple of hours. She might also face postpartum depression or baby blues in the initial months after the delivery of her baby. Childbirth, an event in her life is a period that encompasses many emotions. Hormonal rollercoaster and significant shifts in the hormones cause her to experience range of emotions. These myriad emotions put out many challenges before her and lowers her confidence levels. Also, many women face weight issues in the postnatal period and this adds to their lack of confidence and builds stress on them when they are planning to resume workforce. A need to boost their confidence and strengthen the self-esteem in terms of their body image is dire necessary.
6 Strategies to encourage positive postnatal body image
- Educate and Explore – Educate yourself about the postpartum period when you are nearing to your due date. Read more about the healing journey of moms after childbirth. Keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of postpartum recovery. Consult your specialist to be prepared for the oncoming changes so that it doesn’t become very daunting task for you. There will be setbacks and surprises which you cannot avoid but being informed on the recovery management techniques will keep you armed to face the postpartum challenges.
- Understand your body – Postnatal journey is a challenging journey and it is mandatory to be patient. Know your body. Listen and watch out the signals that it sends. Everybody’s postpartum recovery is different. Do not compare your journey with others’ journeys. Not 2 pregnancies and postnatal recovery is same even with the same mom so give your body time to heal. Understand the process so that it will not lower your self-esteem. Once you are aligned with your body needs, you will start letting go of the judgements and opinions of others.
- Practice Self-compassion – Self-compassion is a key to enhance the well-being. It means treating yourself the way you will treat your friend. Understanding your post-pregnancy body will help you be more compassionate towards your body. You will be watchful on your diet, take time to exercise and know when to take a break to give your body rest. Also, you will be resilient enough to not let other’s opinions build a house in your mind. You will embrace more positivity which will speed up the recovery process. Furthermore, to help you nurture and sustain the self-compassion habit in you, you need to surround yourself with people who radiate positivity and are devoid of unhelpful narratives. This understanding of your physical health and being gentle with yourself will exponentially boost your overall personality as a new mom.
- Move your body – Most of the moms are not happy because of their post-pregnancy weight. Postnatal exercise under the supervision of a pelvic health expert or postnatal yoga expert is a boon to erase the stress that come from carrying pregnancy weight. Moving your body stimulates the feel- good hormones and result in positive mental health. This again sets your confidence to scale high.
- Seek help – It is okay to seek help when the going gets tough. Talk to your spouse and family members about your worries and mental health. Ask for healthy advice from them to boost your confidence in this process. You can resort to help of a mental health professional if the family is not able to offer you the help you need.
- Talk to your mom friends - Mom friends are the ones who can relate more to your journey than the health professionals themselves because they have actual lived-in experiences with postpartum. It is better to confide in them about your body image issues, take necessary wisdom on how to deal with them, get your initial fears and apprehensions erased with their wise ideas. They can also be your accountability buddy or partner to help you focus on healthy habits like exercise, nutrition and mind-nourishing habits. Before taking the aid of a qualified professional, you can rely on their support to build your postnatal body image. A mom community like Momly - which stresses on “Vulnerability is a sign of bravery, not weakness” - has become a life-saver for moms – where you can completely be stress-free as you can get help and get all your questions and concerns answered by the experts in the field of prenatal and postnatal.
Expert guide on Encouraging Body Positivity in New moms - Self-image is what you think about yourselves. Body image is sub-set of self-image. New moms are trying to cope up with new role as mom and coming to terms with the hormonal shifts. For them body image becomes more important than their self-image. It occupies their mind space and they become vulnerable to it. It is okay to go through different emotions but do not dwell in them more than what is required.
Tips for positive body image
- Self-care – Self-care is a priority and not a luxury. Work on your self-care and nourish your mind, body and soul. It could be eating healthy diet, self-affirmations like “I am wanted, I am loved, I am enough” etc. These could help bring positivity in your life.
- Comparing is dangerous – Do not compare yourselves with women in social media. This could hamper your mental health and push down the confidence levels. Focus on your life goals and be happy with small achievements.
- Acceptance is key – Accept the body that you have right now. Embrace every detail of your body. Embracing yourself will lift your spirits and set you up to achieve more.
- Have a routine – Maintain certain discipline. You don’t have to be fitness enthusiast but you need to give yourself a few minutes to practice exercise and postpartum yoga to keep your physical health and mental health fit.
- Prioritize yourself – Value yourself and care for your body needs. If you value yourself then others will also start respecting you and caring for you. This will increase your self-esteem and it will result in your speech, the way you feel about yourselves and the way you see the world. Your image in entirety will see good change.
- Upskill yourself – Once you have boosted your self-image, you can start upskilling yourself. Learn new skill or reinvent yourself. You can improve your interview skills and take soft skill coaching.
- Update your wardrobe – Once you have worked on your self-image and body image, update your wardrobe. Clothing defines your personality. Presenting yourself with comfortable choice of clothes will pump your confidence levels.
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