It’s not just the pounds and inches shed that matter.
By Laura Doran
It seems as if all of the magazines found in grocery store checkout lines are obsessed with a celeb being “red carpet ready” mere seconds after she has given birth. News channels plaster "headlines" of celeb moms on vacation in bikinis looking "as if she never even had a baby!"
With the mainstream pressure to be thin immediately postpartum, it creates unhealthy habits and unrealistic expectations of the human body—a woman's beautiful body—AND her mind. Her curvaceous, enchanting body that just birthed a miracle, oh, how it's shamed. And her strong, empowering mind, oh how it's tested.
The thing is, it’s an unrealistic stereotype that a woman needs to be "perfect," almost immediately after she brings home her newborn. There is SO. MUCH. MORE. to a woman's postpartum wellness journey.
Here’s what it truly means to have gotten my ‘body back.’
And not just the pounds and inches shed. After being a vessel for nine long months, after the pain and chaos of birth, after breastfeeding issues and continuing lactation headaches, after struggling with postpartum depression, the workouts restored a sense of control over my own body.
My endurance. The realization that my body can do anything. I am powerful and capable. I birthed a baby and I can do some incredible burpees. I discovered that there is an incredible strength in me as a mother, athlete, woman.
I learned that my body is worth nurturing just as much as the little ones I raise. I learned that the support of amazing women brings out my inner beauty. I began to take pride in my appearance, and realized that I had the power to change my mind about what I considered flaws.
Regaining a few hours a week that were not attached to a human was a blessing. Doing something for ME. Even now, as I drive to a workout, I can feel my body begin to recharge.
As I fueled and strengthened my body day by day, the sleepless nights of motherhood became more possible. The 5 am wake up call was less daunting. The pre-dinner meltdown, a bit easier.
…my sense of self.
It taught me that yes, I have two beautiful boys. Yes, I have a loving husband. Those three are my everything. But before I was a wife and mother, I was me. It was a revelation to meet that me again. Strong, funny, wild, and worthy.
I need these lessons when I comfort my oldest son with middle-of-the-night snuggles after a nightmare. When I nourish my teething baby’s constant need for milk all. the. damn. time. When I lend a shoulder for my spouse after another long day.
I learned that to have the strength to give so much of myself over to my beautiful boys, I have to build that strength, endurance, and empowerment within myself first.
Originally posted on FIT4MOM.