Body After Baby: The Struggle is Real

by - September 14, 2017

Recently I did a massive clothes clean-out. I went through absolutely everything in my closet and drawers and got rid of a lot of stuff. A good bit of it was stuff I no longer wear or wasn't really age-appropriate anymore, but there were also a lot of things I'd been holding onto even though deep down I knew I would never be able to fit back into them.

You see, I've always had this mental image of the way I thought I would always look. And, I suspect like a lot of women, I had some pretty unrealistic expectations about how my body would be after pregnancy.

I've never been what you'd call thin, and honestly I've never been concerned with that, but I have always been small with little to no effort. Now, despite changing my diet and making an effort, I'm no longer small. So when I stand in front of the mirror after my shower before I get dressed, I have a hard time loving the image reflected back at me. I don't see a woman with curves. I see a woman with extra skin, stretch marks, and a pronounced C-section shelf that all the sit-ups in the world can't fix.

So why am I telling you all this? For the past two years I've been struggling with body acceptance and just generally not feeling like myself. And as much as it hurts to say this, all the snuggles from my daughter and reassurances from my husband just don't make me feel any better about the way I look. That's because when all is said and done, the most important opinion is my own.

So instead of focusing so much on trying to change this new body, I'm trying very hard to change the way I think about it. A big part of that was changing the way I dress. A lot. I don't know if you've noticed the change in my infrequent Newsroom Fashion posts, but I've spent much of the past two years revamping my wardrobe, replacing my old basics with new, better-fitting versions and officially saying goodbye to anything from before age 25. It may seem trivial, shallow even, but learning how to dress this new version of myself has done wonders for my self-esteem.

I don't know if what I've been struggling with qualifies as postpartum depression. I am sure that I'm not the first woman to struggle with body image after having a baby, and I probably won't be the last. But I hope that by sharing my struggle, it will encourage other women to speak up and seek help if they need it. After all, we come out of pregnancy a different person than we went into it, and no matter what shape or size we end up being, motherhood is beautiful.

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