Pregnancy, Nursing, and Postpartum Body Love

I feel like there is a huge emphasis on the postpartum "new mom bod" in our society. Every time a celebrity has a baby there is lots of press touting her getting her body back, or how she looks post-baby.

It puts a lot of pressure on any mother - new mother or not. I mean, aren't we as women more than just our bodies?

Going into my pregnancy with Oscar, I would say I had pretty good body image. I had more good body image days than bad ones, but typically felt pretty at home in my body.

Or so I thought. 

Now, I am one of those ladies who kind of loved being pregnant. I say kind of because I was nauseated from about 7 weeks pregnant until I delivered and well, that part wasn't fun.

But it was hard to be at home in my pregnant body, even as I loved watching my belly grow as the baby grew, and seeing his kicks and rolls and punches. Heck, even as I was having contractions in labor and delivery at the hospital he was active, squirming the night away as he made his way into the world. 

After delivery, my belly was still soft. My legs and hands and arms were a little puffy (I had at least one bag of fluid during my time in the labor and delivery suite. If not more. I was a liiiittle preoccupied while I was in labor). And I was in awe at what I had grown. And really, since I'm nursing? Am continuing to grow.

Now I can honestly say I've never been more at home in my body. I love knowing what I am capable of. What I did. What I am still doing. I grew a human. I'm still growing him. When he was born he was technically in the 5th percentile for length and weight. I mean, he was four weeks early! Now he's at the 50th percentile and oh the rolls. The adorable little baby rolls.

I'm in love.

But I'm also in love with my body. I have new curves. A softer tummy, sure. And I'm pretty sure my butt relocated by about two inches closer to the ground. But I can still run and walk and lift weights. I lift and carry Oscar and we play "airplane" while he grins and kicks and squeals. 

Every time I sit down with him to feed him, I am amazed that I am still continuing to grow and nourish him, and have done so for four months. It's incredible to me, and something I didn't expect to love as much as I do. Now, I know nursing isn't for everyone, and I didn't think it would be for me, but it's something I genuinely enjoy. 

I truly never in a million years thought I could love my body for what it is and what it does as much as I do now, but I do. It's pretty incredible. I don't workout nearly as much as I would like to (because a huge part of my self care is physical activity) but I'm okay with it. I'm also way better at intuitive eating than I have ever been before. Granted, I'm always hungry and always incredibly thirsty but that's okay.

Sure, I still have some bad body image days, but they are few and far between. And when I do? I try not to let it turn into a bad body image week. One day at a time, right? And I work hard on self-care. Which I think it especially important for anyone, parent or no, women, man, child, adult. We all need to do what helps us live better lives. 

I would never go as far to say that the baby is the sole reason I love my body, but having a baby gave me a lot to think about. I don't want to teach any child of mine poor body habits. I want him to love himself for who he is, what abilities he has, and it is my hope that by actively working toward and becoming more aware of my self talk, staying positive, and learning how to love my body as I do today, that he will grow to be confident and at home in his skills, abilities, and personality.

I love where I am now. It's pretty incredible. And I can't wait to share more.