Embracing My Postpartum Body
I've always struggled with low self-confidence;
having a baby definitely exacerbated those feelings.
As a former collegiate athlete, I was always in great physical shape. My muscles were toned; everything was nice and tight, with no folds or stretch marks anywhere. Having a baby changed all that for me. I became someone I didn't recognize, from having abs to now having a mommy pouch. I had folds where I never had folds before. My arms and legs were no longer as toned as they once were. My face looked permanently chubby. I had stretch marks in every direction. I was disgusted with myself because I had become someone I'd never seen before. I knew my body had just done something amazing by nourishing and housing a baby and then pushing that baby out however, these body image issues because very difficult for me to overcome. Social media can be very dangerous for people struggling with comparison. I was constantly comparing myself to other people who had recently given birth and was envious of how they still looked like themselves. At the same time, I felt like I was a completely new person. But the truth is after having a baby, you do become a new person. Your body has just done something it has never done before, so it's only logical for your body to not return to its original state.
On top of that, I was not competing and training at a high level of competition as I was when I was running track. I had to understand that not engaging in such intense physical activity, in addition to having just pushed out a human being required me to show myself an extreme amount of grace. It took roughly nine months after baby for me to start to feel more like myself mentally and physically. With my mental health being in a better state, I became able to prioritize my well-being and make exercise a routine habit. I have now come to understand that exercising is more for me to be healthy and display a healthy lifestyle and habit to my son rather than me being worried about having a six-pack again. This isn't to say that I do not still long to look like my 20-year-old self, but it is to say that I am becoming more comfortable in my new body and in my new stage of life. Here's to embracing my new "grown woman" body!