When I had my first babe I was shocked. I gained 20kgs (that's 44lbs for you chicks in the USA). I never thought I would put on that much weight, I thought I'd be one of those gals who gained maybe 10kg, and just dropped her jeans a little lower. Uh no.
The good news was, I lost it super quick - I'm talking, about a kg a day. It was crazy. I didn't even have to do anything, it practically fell off me.
Baby number 2 was the same - 20kg AGAIN! And though it was slightly slower to come off, it wasn't a big deal and about 4 months later I was back into my pre-preggy wardrobe.
Baby number 3 has seriously challenged me (in just about every way). I put on a solid 25kg - without even blinking, and that "baby weight" isn't budging. Not to mention it took me a long time to recover after he was born. I couldn't even lift a washing basket, and walking across the road honestly seemed like a marathon. In the evenings I would sit on the couch with a bag of frozen peas, and I was seriously grateful for the frozen water-filled condoms - they worked super well on my tender derriere. TMI? I tell you about these little gems because I never would have thought to make these, it was only the wise wisdom passed on from another mama, that helped me through my more painful moments.
Last week I started some serious self love sessions - and I immediately saw how much I was hating on myself. And if you've been doing the sessions you may have noticed this too? It's hard to love yourself when there's a voice inside your head saying mean things about you.
I am struggling with this body, that doesn't feel like my body.
It's so much weaker, slower, heavier, bulkier. I worry that I'll never fit my jeans again. I'm about 12kg heavier than pre-preggy weight - not that much, but to me it's a lot. It's so easy to tell other women "well you took 9 months to put it on, it could take 9 months or more to lose it" . I've said it to others, but I cringe when someone says this to me. Not because it's not true, but because I want to be strong, and fit NOW - not 9 months from now. I want my clothes to fit - I am so over maternity wear. I want to run, and bend like I used to. I want better control of my pelvic floor. I want to enjoy my body again - not fight it.
So I was out walking tonight, and I got to thinking about how I could love and accept my body as it is now, and this freaked me out a little, because I really didn't want to do that - that feels like surrendering, like I'm giving up on myself - I'm scared I might put on some comfy old yoga pants and never take them off, excusing myself in my mind with a story like "well I HAVE had 3 kids ". I really judge myself on this one. I'm certainly not kind and loving when I see myself naked - rather I pull at my skin, suck in my breath, measure my waist, and try to convince myself I look ok. It's not something I proud of, and certainly not something I would ever want my girls to see. I would never speak to anyone else the way I speak to myself sometimes - and I would certainly not speak to my children this way - or want to hear them speaking to themselves this way. That's how I know it's so not cool - or true.
(Here's a secret - if you're thinking something that makes you feel horrible - it's not true, you're believing a lie.)
BUT it wasn't always like this, I used to know, and believe the truth.
When I first had my baby, (#3), I reveled in the wonder of my body, I was amazed by it's beauty, I stood in awe in front of the mirror, and I felt so alive and grateful for my beautiful postnatal body, my body that had carried such a gorgeous baby and had not even failed me once during my labor and birth. I felt beautiful. I felt sad that this would be the last time I experienced having a body like this, a body that was soft from a baby's growth.
I think that's how women are supposed to feel all the time - in love with their bodies, and themselves. Knowing their own strength and the magic that lies within them.
And so I started to think - what if loving my body now, the way it is, isn't giving up. What if loving myself this way lifts me up, opens me up, and brings more joy and light into my life. What if loving my body now is the most important thing I could do for myself.
I've got a feeling that loving my body is one of the great keys.
I'm not giving up on myself, or moving into comfy yoga pants that I don't take off for days (as some mummy websites I have read advocate - a little shocking and scary I think!) I'm simply going to love myself, say kind things to myself, about myself, about my body. I'm going to stand naked in front of my mirror and speak to myself with kindness, as I would want my girls to hear and speak to themselves. I'm going to look for the magic and wonder within, and watch how that expresses itself through my body.
And, honestly, I'm going to work out, walk, and eat well - because that feels kind and loving to me and my body.
Over to you..........
Are you always kind to yourself when it comes to your body? I was really surprised to find how much I didn't like my body, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this! So here's a plan.......when you get dressed, or undressed, listen out for what you're thinking, start to observe the thoughts you have about yourself - remember, the way to know they're lies is, they make you feel horrible when you think them or believe them. Recognise they're lies. And then look for the truth - what would you love to know about your body? (personally the thing that brings me peace, would be to know that I will fit my jeans again. I can actually feel my shoulders relax away from my ears when I think that could be true! I know how silly this may sound, how vain - but when I believe this truth - I can love my body, unconditionally, right now.
- What do you need to know? What is the truth you're longing to hear?
- Give yourself that truth. Believe it, and remind yourself of it - and then remind yourself how much you love yourself.