As a mother, I've lived it. As a doula, I've seen it. Pregnant bodies are celebrated as beautiful vessels of life (as they should be). Then women step into motherhood through a portal called birth which tests the limits of a woman's body and soul. And after that experience, the body is healing, bleeding, leaking.
Others shift their gaze from the body, just moments ago they praised for its vibrancy and life-giving magic, to the newborn baby. They might look away when you're feeding your baby if you happen to be breastfeeding and they don't really want to hear about the pain you're experiencing walking. Their gaze might linger at your belly or maybe someone will say, "I left the hospital after giving birth thinner than before I even got pregnant". You might think, nah people don't say such intense, rude things. But some do. Someone said that to me a couple weeks after my first baby was born after informing me I looked a lot bigger than I was at my wedding (the last time they had seen me). Is there anything wrong with getting bigger? No. Is there anything wrong with not losing weight? No. So did those words need to hurt? No. But society has conditioned many of us to feel these things are important and even vital to our happiness.
The truth is postpartum bodies will be different than before. Just like during pregnancy, bodies undergo massive changes. How it's different depends on the woman. Some women feel empowered and badass in the body gifted to them by motherhood. But it's also natural to have some frustration, unhappiness, anger toward, and sadness when it comes to your postpartum body. Sometimes you'll even feel a mix of both and they'll come and go and battle for control. Here I'll take a moment and mention that of course - your body never went anywhere - it's yours through all the changes - which means you don't need to "get it back". It's been here all along.
Body neutrality, gratitude, or positivity - whatever you'd like to call it and however you want to approach it, is not a simple thing for many people to achieve.
For that reason, I'm sharing 10 Postpartum Body Affirmations that may bring you peace as you consider your postpartum body. Write them down, screenshot them, think of them in the morning when you realize those shorts might not fit anytime soon and again in the evening when you're wearing your maternity sweatpants still 8 months after giving birth. Choose one, choose them all, or ignore this post altogether if affirmations are not your style. Remember, these affirmations are not meant to push aside or down negative emotions, rather they are an exercise in reframing your view of your body in small doses. Here we go!
I am vibrant and my body is healing.
You may not feel vibrant and that's okay. What's definitely true is your body is healing. This can be helpful to remember as you think
about your body.
2. Today I embrace all that I am.
Whether you are teary-eyed, unable to stand due to a Cesarean incision, wincing as you go to the toilet postpartum, or already feeling stronger and have stopped bleeding - you can meet yourself where you're at and say, "This is something I can't change today. I can embrace myself and love myself today."
3. My stretch marks tell a story that is still being written.
Bodies tell stories. Scars, stretch marks, bruises, blood, sweat, tears - it's all part of the story we are living. Some women have stretch marks and others don't. If you do, they're telling a story of growth and elasticity, of life and abundance. If you don't, other parts of you are certainly telling your story.
4. My heartbeat is my baby's favorite sound.
No matter how you feel about your body or how your body looks or functions, your baby loves being close to you - close to your heartbeat - close to your skin.
5. My body has changed and that's okay.
If you don't feel it's okay, that's also okay. You can change out "that's okay" to "that's normal" if you prefer.
6. Every body is a beach body.
You've probably heard the way to get a bikini body is to get a bikini and put it on your body. Same idea here. Your body is a beach body. Soak up the sun, breathe in the salty air, float in the gentle sea waves. You can enjoy it all in the body you have right.this.second.
7. Stretch marks, postpartum tummies, and leaky boobs are beautiful.
Recently, I've been reading resistance to naming everything beautiful. If beautiful doesn't work for you and your vibes, you can choose another word like "natural", "normal" or "real life". Affirmations can always be adapted to fit your needs.
8. I am in awe of my body's ability to stretch, grow, and recover.
If you were pregnant and now have a baby, your body has done a lot of stretching and growing and now it is recovering. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the sheer amount of work the body has been doing. It's a lot and it's pretty amazing, objectively speaking.
9. My baby loves this soft body that brought it into the world.
Just like your baby loves the sound of your heartbeat in your imperfectly perfect body, so does she loves the softness that cradles her as she eats, seeks comfort, or nods off to sleep.
10. I respect and honor my body the way it deserves.
This is subjective. How do you feel your body deserves to be honored and respected? What do honor and respect mean to you?
As you make your way through postpartum, you never have to feel alone. If you find you want support from a doula (in-person in Madrid or online anywhere else) just get in touch!
Giving birth in Madrid or a new mom in Madrid? Looking for support on the wild ride called parenthood?
Look no further - book a free discovery call with me (Madison - doula in Madrid) today and let's chat about how together we can work to make your experience a positive one! And be sure to check out the Madoula homepage. If you're looking for doula support during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum please be sure to contact me for a free consultation!
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable moments in a person's life. There are many factors to consider at all times. The support of a doula from home to hospital adds an additional layer of support for both the birthing person and partner. Continuous care and individualized support both increase the likelihood of satisfaction with one's birth experience, regardless of the birth outcome.