Thoughts on the postpartum body

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

left- 9 months pregnant, right- 5 months post-partum

My entire life I have been very active and into sports. I was a gymnast, I won a volleyball state championship in high school and continued to play for fun in college. Then I hit grad school and I didn't have time to exercise or go to the gym. I gained a little bit of weight and started to lack self-confidence. I am not the type that weighs myself daily, heck I don't even own a scale. I can just tell by looking in the mirror and the way my clothes fit.

Fast forward a few years to infertility and starting the IVF process. I was on tons of medications, both oral and injectable, for months. I was stressed so I was eating awful. This was the perfect storm for weight gain. I didn't put on a ton of weight but things were just different. I lost muscle, gained cellulite, and just didn't feel good in my own skin. Then I got pregnant and for those 9 months I fell in love with my body again.

I loved everything about pregnancy. The nausea, stretching skin, baby bump, shortness of breath, you name it. I had dreamed of being pregnant my entire life and I didn't want to take one day of my pregnancy for granted. I felt beautiful with my big belly and I was no longer worried about the way I looked in the mirror. I no longer felt the need to suck in my belly and I didn't cringe at the size of my legs. I was in love with this growing baby inside of me and how she was changing my physical appearance.

My total weight gain was around 32 pounds. After I gave birth most of the weight fell off pretty quickly. At my 2 week postpartum visit I was back to pre-pregnancy weight but things were not the same. My belly was loose and saggy, my stomach was numb with a huge scar from my C-section, and I felt so weak. I could hardly even sit up from a laying position due to my abdominal muscles being cut and split apart during surgery. And can we just talk about what happens to your boobs after you quit breastfeeding? Bless. I slowly started to dislike my body again.

Recently I've had a change in perspective. I have truly realized how amazing a woman's body is and the fact that we can grow a human being is freaking amazing. I have slowly started to get back into the gym, not for weight loss but for my mental health. I feel so much better after working out, both mentally and physically. I want to gain my strength back because strong is the new skinny! As women we are so hard on ourselves and I am constantly reminding myself that "comparison if the thief of joy".

I am listing the things that I would like to continue to work on and the things I am proud of myself for and I challenge you to do the same. Give yourself grace today and believe that whether you are a mommy or not, your body is beautiful!

Things I want to continue to work on:
-Continue to exercise at least 3x a week
-Eat more vegetables
-Drink more water
-Eat less chips (my weakness)
-Cut out negative self talk
-Believe someone when they give me a compliment

Reasons to be proud of myself:
-I grew and gave birth to a perfect baby girl
-I had a major surgery
-I am a good mom
-I do a good job of juggling work and home life
-I love my job and truly care about my patients
-I kicked infertility's butt

Moral of the story, I am still a work in progress. I will continue to struggle with being hard on myself but I am truly striving to give myself grace. My body has been through so much over the past 2 years and I am proud of how far I have come. I still have some belly hanging on and the cellulite loves me, but today I am choosing to embrace the postpartum body and be thankful for the blessing that made it this way!


  1. I love this post so much!! I've always struggled with weight and only recently have I embraced what I look like. Yes, it'd be great to lose weight/fit into a certain size but in my old age (laughing cry face) I've realized the size of my jeans doesn't define me as a friend, wife, mother. I'm embracing feeling good in my own skin and trying not to judge every picture taken of me. You are beautiful and what a wonderful positive self body image you are going to be teaching Vivi!! Now if I could get to the gym a few more days a week that wouldn't hurt anyone hahaha. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. You're gorgeous, friend, and I love this post. You're so right: we have grown, birthed and sustained a human with our own bodies, and that is no easy feat! I was actually just looking at my body last night thinking, "Ugh, gross," (because yup, saggy boobs and that lower tummy that won't ever go away) but this post helped remind me that I'm a human, a mom and I don't need to look at every picture of myself and judge my arms or my face.

  3. you are amazing... and you look amazing!!! i have seriously felt like with both my babies, at first around 9 months i felt more like me, but truly not until more like 18 months did i really feel more like me!! bodies are wonderful, right! but babies are even better. :) :)

  4. Love this. And I look forward to all of these when we finally have a baby too! Keep sharing because life isn't sunshine and roses.

  5. Girl, I admire you so much. I absolutely love how real and honest you are not to mention sweet and humble despite the fact you are absolutely GORGEOUS! I too struggle with loving my body at times (or most of the time) so I feel your struggle there. I love that you loved your body (and everything that came with it) during pregnancy. I hear so many women complain about it but they never stop to think about the women who can't get pregnant or who struggle and would give anything to have morning sickness and stretch marks. Trust me when I say, you look amazing and you should be so proud of where you are right now! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  6. what a great post! you look amazing, truly! and i love your story about falling in love with your body when you got pregnant. that's amazing! i know i've heard of other moms that go a different direction (no judgement) that feel a bit lost in it. you are amazing!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  7. I admire you so much!! I struggle with this on the daily, but I've been trying to change my perspective along with my body, versus just beating my body up all the time. Thank you for this!!

  8. So glad you shared - such a great post! I'm with you - I enjoy my body right now, it's such a special time! I'd be lying if I didn't say I was already starting to think a little bit about loosing the pregnancy weight so this was a fantastic read!

  9. This post is EVERYTHING. First of all, you look fabulous so go you! I have VERY similar goals - 3x a week at least 20-30 minutes and my absolute weakness is CHIPS! (bbq all day) AH! Keep it up and kiss that sweet baby girl! Have a great day! xo

  10. Thank you for sharing this post! I am 6 weeks post partum with baby number 4, my fourth c-section, and I have been beating myself up for how I look and the baby weight not coming off yet. I needed to hear this this morning.

  11. You look awesome girl!! It's insane what our bodies can do and I know I'll need the reminder to be gentle with myself postpartum.Such a perfect reminder :)

  12. Awesome post!! I love this and sometimes it's hard for people to talk about this side of pregnancy (especially after your first). I love so much that you loved how your body looked while pregnant - people don't give themselves enough grace when they're pregnant. You seriously look amazing and I'm sure there are things that don't look the same (how could they!?) but with time, you'll get strong again (c-sections don't sound fun with your abs at.all.) It is such a miracle what our bodies can do!!!

  13. I needed to read this even though I'm not postpartum! When I think about weight loss, I always think about eating healthy, exercising, etc. But I never thought to consider to quit my negative self talk or to believe someone (like my husband) when they give me a compliment instead of saying something negative. Such an inspiring post!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  14. You are truly an inspiration! I'm so glad you loved pregnancy so much because I've definitely been guilty of complaining during mine. You look amazing and there is no doubt our bodies do change after having babies, but we have to be so thankful for what our bodies can do!

  15. YES mama! First of all, you look amazing, but what is even more amazing is your attitude! I know I get really hard on myself post-baby, but remembering everything you listed is going to help. I needed this right now :)

  16. So much yes! The postpartum body is ... strange, but it's truly amazing just what our bodies went through to bring our sweet babies here. They are worth it a million times over!

  17. Thank you for this beautiful post. I'm on that front end of pretty rapidly gaining weight which is something that I can't control and I really need to focus on the beautiful changes that are happening and stay as healthy as I can during these big changes. I love how real you are <3 <3 <3


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