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Postpartum & Your Body Image: Will You Ever Feel Beautiful Again?

Updated: Mar 25

A black woman poses in her underwear to depict body positivity

Many people believe that the most joyous moments in a woman’s life are the few days and months after giving birth. But that is far from the truth for some women. Postpartum is tough.

It’s a complex space where you experience a mix of emotions that can be confusing and enjoyable all at the same time. You experience loneliness, frustration, exhaustion, fear and today’s focus, self-loathing and the struggle with body image.

Navigating the newness of motherhood

In my first few weeks of motherhood, I felt like I was on autopilot. While everyone around me fawned over our new additional and celebrated her arrival, I struggled to recognize myself. I was in survival mode, solely focusing on caring for my newborn and neglecting my own well-being.

Something else had taken over and there was no getting hold of the reins. Keep your head down, put in the work and everything will be alright, I thought. So, I threw myself into caring for our tiny human, making myself available at every coo, cry or call.

Postpartum Experience: Body Image Struggles

At least two months after I gave birth, my husband and I were to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and I felt ugly. My body had changed in ways I never anticipated. Clothes didn’t fit, my reflection in the mirror seemed foreign and self loathing consumed me. Though my tummy was receding, it still bulged, my face was breaking out with pimples and liver spots, my hairline was receding, my double chin was seemingly bigger, thighs thicker, I had a muffin top and so many things were just not right.

I questioned my worth as a mother and wife, and felt I had failed to meet society's expectations. Where was my snapback?

I hated my body. I was ugly. My self-esteem was shot, and in my eyes, my beauty was gone. Though physically bigger, I felt incredibly small in spirit. I stopped taking pictures and wore baggy clothes to hide this new body.

I was hyper-conscious of my many flaws and wrestled with these thoughts in silence, convinced that nobody else could understand. It seemed like everyone else had bounced back, leaving me to navigate my insecurities alone. Where was my slim frame? Why wasn’t I looking and feeling the same in a size small anymore? Who would find this body attractive?

Hope and Perspective: You Are Not Alone

But here's the thing: you are never truly alone. Research shows that many mothers experience a dip in self-esteem after giving birth, regardless of their circumstances. It is a natural part of the journey to struggle with postpartum and your body image; it won't last forever.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and that is completely true. Years later, I can honestly encourage you to be patient with yourself. Reflect on the feat that you brought life into the world... that is a BIG DEAL. Your appearance does not define your worth, and even with the changes to your body, you are beautiful just as you are. Embrace the changes, celebrate your strength, and know that brighter days are ahead.

Recite these affirmations that can help boost your esteem and fight that critical inner voice we sometimes allow to win and bet upon ourselves.

Final Thoughts: Becoming A Better Version of Yourself

It has been two years since our angel graced us with her presence, and I am still not completely comfortable with the changes my body experienced. I have, however, learnt my new body and have accepted how amazing it is.

So, will you ever feel like your pre-pregnancy self again? Maybe. But it may take some time. And if you don't, that is totally okay too, you have just become a better version of yourself. What is most important is that you spend the time to re-learn and fall in love with yourself again. You could be surprised to realise the phenomenal woman you meet.

Let's continue the conversation and uplift one another as we embrace the beauty of postpartum. You are not alone, and together, we can rewrite the narrative surrounding motherhood. If you wish to share your story with me, shoot me an email or DM me on Instagram… that’s what this community is all about.

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