Dear New Mom in the Age of Internet Perfection,
Recently, my eyes have been opened to the onslaught of messages on social media telling YOU how to get your body back.
I get it. I birthed and nursed three children. My body changed drastically with each one. I lost muscle tone. I retained a layer of nursing-fluff every time, even though I kept thinking breastfeeding was going to be the calorie-burner everyone says it is (which further proves that the calorie in/calorie out idea is completely useless… but I digress).
Even with my last pregnancy, which was by far the healthiest one due to the superior multivitamin, probiotic and other supplements I was on, my shape changed and, for lack of a better word, I was just fluffier than usual.
So I understand the urge to want to hurry and get “back” as soon as possible.
However, I want to pose another way of looking at it.
Your body is amazing. You grew an entire human, and you are now continuing to grow this human. It takes a LOT of emotional and physical energy. You are not sleeping through the night. When you do sleep, it is probably not quality sleep. Your hormones are off, and I’m not talking estrogen and progesterone and all that stuff – your HUNGER hormones are thrown off from your sleep being thrown off. So you may be hungrier than usual throughout the day, a bottomless pit of cravings (and if you’re nursing, that factors in as well).
So this is what I want you to hear:
You don’t need any added pressures. Nurture yourself so you can best handle the changes happening around you, NOT to live up to anyone else’s expectations for what you need to look like or do.
Eat what fuels you. Take part in movement because you want to, not because you have to. Walk that baby stroller through your neighborhood or mall for a break or distraction, for YOUR mental sanity. Worrying about it for the sake of how you look will not contribute to your sanity.
Supplement what your body needs. Continue to take your prenatal and make sure it is in the most bioavailable form (not folic acid or B12 in the cyanocobalamin form). Your hormones and neurotransmitters need that. That will aid in your recovery. Postpartum depression is REAL, and quality supplementation of what you’re lacking can help! You may also need more than just that, as so many of us are magnesium deficient or suffer from adrenal fatigue or could benefit from omega 3s for mental health. There are so many good options available for nursing moms that have NOTHING to do with dieting. That helped me with my recovery with baby number 2 in HUGE ways. Restoring my gut health through prebiotics and probiotics was crucial. But again – this is for optimal function, not just an added item on the to-do list.
Take caution with anyone promoting a vigorous fitness system or an eating plan that is restrictive, ESPECIALLY if they are using it to prey on your current weakness and feelings of inadequacy. A true health coach will not focus on weaknesses or restrictions or a one size fits all solution, just sayin’. Unfollow who you need to unfollow.
For that matter, maybe for your sanity you need to hop off the baby mama chats and groups. Comparison loves to rear its ugly little head and steal joy from us, especially during a time when we’re questioning our abilities more than ever.
Hold your baby. Breathe in the top of that sweet head all day long. Don’t feel pressure to get out of your maternity yoga pants, nursing tank, or that double F nursing bra with the cups that are frighteningly larger than your baby’s head. If you want to get out, if you need a break, by all means – do that! Just don’t do it on anyone else’s expectation or timeline. Give yourself grace.
Your body never left you. You have everything you need. You are strong. You are loved. You are important.
I remember a week after I had my first baby, almost 15 years ago, a sweet well-seasoned mom told me, “It all goes back to where it’s supposed to.” I laughed and thought it was crazy talk, but she was right,
It goes back where it’s supposed to. Maybe not in 9 months… maybe it’s more like 12, or 15, or 2 years even! But it will. And in the process, you are becoming exactly who you are supposed to be.
Don’t rush it, or you might miss something you can’t get back.
A Mom Who Misses It – baby fluff and all