I love my post postpartum body… more importantly I love myself. I have been known to be fairly self depreciating from time to time, when it comes to my physical appearance. Now being able to say the words I love my body and mean it feels very good. Don’t get me wrong my body is far from perfect. I am still ten pounds heavier than my pre-baby body. I have cottage cheese on my bum. My lower abdomen or what I call “puffy” lady bits, may never be the same from my c-section. My clothes don’t fit the same as before. My boobs are most definitely not as perky. But, for the first time in my life, I don’t care I still love me!
Learning to love my postpartum body has been more of a journey about learning to love myself. It’s been learning how to not base my worth off of a number on a scale, but for who I am as a person, mom, wife, daughter and friend. This acceptance of my body has been 30 years in the making but man it feels good to be here.
As a very young girl I was teased about being “bigger”. I was the girl who needed a bra in third grade and was about a foot taller than all the boys. I was your average girl going through puberty, who liked to have a couple of Oreos. I have always been a people pleaser and desperately wanted to fit in with the crowd. Unfortunately for me, my appearance stuck out to my peers. The boys were the worse I was called fat and ugly on a regular basis all through elementary and middle school. I was shy and quiet and I wouldn’t stick up for myself and absorbed all their cruel words. Come high school I started to come out of my shell and I was able to stand up for myself, the teasing started to slow down. Those negative words still rang in my head. I lived in the mindset that if I was 20 pounds lighter a boy would like me. If my hair was straight and blonde maybe I would fit in better and the “cool” girls would want to be friends with me. I based all my self-worth on my physical appearance and not on who I was on the inside. I felt very lost, unworthy of love and friendship because I didn’t love my appearance. All based on words I could not get out of my head.
After highschool I continued to place value on my appearance. I was on every fad diet out there, diet pills, tanning, constantly changing hair colors nothing made me feel pretty or whole. I was going out to college parties, night clubs and bars. The pressure to be “skinnier” and “prettier” became that much worse. My insecurities ran wild.
Fast forward to my early to twenties. I met my husband who showed me he loved me for me. He made/makes me feel beautiful everyday. Even with my retainer in and when I wake up with what I call a “bed head mullet”. At this point of my life, I started to take charge of my life and focus on living healthy for me. It wasn’t for anyone else. I started drinking less and working out more and becoming an overall healthy person! I would eat well and workout for an hour or more 6 days a week. It showed, I got in the best shape I had ever been in. My husband and I got in engaged and of course I still wanted to be thinner so I went on the famous wedding diet. Even at my wedding I was still not happy with my appearance. It didn’t matter how much weight I lost, or how good I looked in my wedding dress. I was still focusing my self value on my physical appearance rather than person on the inside.
At 28 years old I got pregnant with my son Cooper three months after we got married. From the day I found out I was pregnant I swear I started to gain weight a rapid pace. I mean I was on a wedding diet for two years, I think my body was in shock when all I craved was carbs. I still tried to workout and eat healthy but nothing helped. At my 20 week appointment I had gained 20 pounds. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. My doctor decided to take that opportunity to weight shame in front of my husband for five minutes straight. She made many comments and it felt like it would never end. I left that appointment and cried. I cried for a week straight, I felt like a failure to my future son, as a wife and person because I gained this weight. I hated gaining weight during pregnancy it just brought me back to my childhood and I felt like everyone was always looking at me wanting to critique my appearance. I would look longing back at pictures of my wedding of where I thought I was “fat”, saying to myself “why was I so hard on myself. Why didn’t I let myself be happy?” This is when I started to realize my mindset needed to change.
Then my son arrived and my whole world changed. My focus came off of myself and all on him. I mean for the first two months honestly I could barely function as a human being. I did try to do a”few” workouts after I got cleared by the doctor. The truth is even if I wanted to lose weight my body wasn’t going let me from the exhaustion. It was going save every ounce of fat to keep me awake. I still felt bad about myself and the way I looked, but my negative self talk was much less.
Around 4 months postpartum I really started on focusing on getting myself back in shape. I called it operation “Pre Cooper Bod”. At 6 months postpartum my company offered a company wide 8 week fitness challenge. We received two group personal training sessions a week. I decided to partake to start getting back into shape. At that time my exhaustion was at its peak between being a mom, work and being a wife and friend. I needed to start using my healthy lifestyle to give me energy. I began meal prepping to keep my energy up and to utilize my time effectively with my son. This was life changing it allows me to spend more time with my family after work, rather than wasting time in the kitchen. I take a couple of hours on the weekend during nap time and plan the best way to feed my family and ensure I have the energy to be the best mom and wife possible during the week.
It was somewhere between 6 months postpartum and now where my focus turned living a healthy lifestyle into about being the best mom, wife, friend, daughter, employee rather than my appearance and the number on the scale.
The main reason for this change of heart is I never want Cooper not to feel worthy or not of value because of the way he looks. I can’t teach this lesson to my son unless I live my life in this way. That moment I had that realization I decided I was going to go all in and love me, all of me. With that said today I can say I love my postpartum body and I love me!
I feel passionately about the fact that bullying is an epidemic amongst the young in today’s society. Between social media and reality television at everyone’s finger tips people are more insecure and meaner than ever hiding behind a screen to troll. The image of perfection is unrealistic and unattainable and that is what the kids today are being bombarded with. If you have any young impressionable people in your lives, tell them what makes them special. Tell them they are a beautiful person inside and out! Knowing what I know now, I wish I could go hug young “Jenn” and say “you are worth so, so, so much more, than that number on the scale and what others say….just love yourself. Stop comparing yourself to the next girl! We are all different!”
I wanted to share with you my journey of health and fitness because this is a huge passion of mine. As I share this love of mine through blogs and posts. I wanted you to know where my whole journey started! Today for me health and fitness is about living my best life. I want to help you feel confident and healthy wherever you are in your fitness journey too! We all have to start somewhere. I know I did!
…and always remember words stick, in the words of Ellen DeGeneres. “Be kind, love one another”.
B:healthy and B:you