Positive body image after children

Did you know it takes the average female body one year to recover (get back to "normal") after having a baby?  I love that fact and wish more moms knew about it.  Because I hate it when I start to feel pressures from social media and society in general to get my booty back into my skinny pants just a few short weeks after having one of my littles.  There are a lot of women out there who suffer from body image issues because of the daily pressures they feel to instantly get back in shape after pregnancy (me being one of them) and it makes me so sad!  Especially because this phase of life is so rare and fleeting. In my opinion, instead of counting calories and getting right back to the gym, a mom should be at home letting her body properly recover and spending all her time snuggling her precious newborn.  Which is why I'm so so excited about today's guest post by Mumsy guest blogger alum Jessica Anderson!  She definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to keeping a positive body image as a mother and I hope you find what she has to share as insightful as I did!  

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Body image is one of those topics that many women shy away from. Nobody wants to discuss it because it can make you feel vulnerable. Talking about the way you view your body can be painful if you have a negative body image, as many women do, so it can leave you feeling stripped off of all your barriers and your false confidence. As sad as it makes me to write this, it is a prevalent truth in female society. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change it.

As a mother, body image becomes a whole other thing than it was when you were a teenager. Before babies, a negative body image means you want to change some physical attribute about your body. After babies, a negative body image usually stems from the way that your body as you once knew it has now changed. It’s like, you finally came to terms with the way you looked, and then it completely changed. Many women have identity crises after childbirth, and who can blame them? It can be hard to accept a body that looks vastly different from the one you had your whole life.

But we, as mothers, need to be strong and focus on fostering a positive body image. It is so important that we are great role models to our children so that hopefully they don't have to struggle with body image like the mainstream media taught us to while we were growing up. Did you know that approximately 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages 12 and 25? That could be your daughter. There is no reason to be ashamed of your body as a mother, especially when you remind yourself how AMAZING your body is for creating a baby.

It is imperative that we work to remove the stigma that childbirth “ruins” our bodies. Some women don’t want to get pregnant because they don’t want their breasts to sag. Others are afraid they’ll never lose the baby weight. And some women have completely different concerns, like this woman in this video who fears her nose “will stretch across her face” if she gets pregnant. Clearly, a lot of us have body image issues to work through, but the reality is that we should be celebrating our bodies as mothers.

Think of it this way, some women will never be able to physically create a baby. Do you realize how selfish you sound if you are complaining about your baby “ruining” your body? The ability to bear a child is an outstanding and miraculous feat that will long outlast society’s ideals of beauty. Want to know what’s beautiful? Creating a life and nurturing it.

So, how do we as mothers raise body-positive kids? We start with ourselves. We come together and lift one another up. We tell our fellow mamas that they are beautiful down to every last stretch mark and we make sure they believe it.

Pursuing a positive body image is harder for some people individually more than others, but it is important to begin crafting the conversation in our communities to include more uplifting words instead of words that tear people down, including ourselves. You are a mother, and you are beautiful.

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Can I hear a huge AMEN!  Ha ha!  But seriously.  We are all on our own race to a healthy and positive body image.  Especially after having a baby.   So be kind to yourself and never forget that you are BEAUTIFUL!


Jessica Anderson is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics, including fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. When she's not writing, she's probably playing with her newborn or desperately trying to fit in a nap with her cat Georgie.


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