Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life, but it also causes many changes in the body. These changes can be quite overwhelming and unexpected at times. So it’s important for new moms to keep everything in perspective, and to love themselves and their bodies regardless.
If you need a little nudge in the right direction to loving your body during and after pregnancy, here are 8 tips to get the self-love flowing.
1) Focus on the wonderful fact that your body just made another human being.
This is a pretty amazing feat, said Claire Nicogossian, a licensed clinical psychologist who is also the mother of four girls. All you need to do is honor that power that you have to create a little human.
2) Celebrate your pregnancy.
Take pictures and get involved with your little one by caressing your belly and talking to your baby during this special time of your life, said Nicogossian.
3) Everyone is different in pregnancy.
Don’t compare yourself to others or compete with the ideal pregnant woman image. Just do what you can to stay healthy for your pregnancy, including eating foods with proper nutrition, and exercising according to what your doctor deems appropriate, Nicogossian said.
4) It’s time to change your mindset.
Your body will take time to get back to normal, just as it took nine months to have a baby. It’s not going to happen overnight, and could take at least a year to adjust post-baby. Give yourself time, she said.
5) Talk to a professional (or two).
If you are prone to negative thoughts about your body, or are struggling with an eating disorder, there are many professionals available to assist you during and after pregnancy. You may want to work with a psychologist and nutritionist to prevent any issues from further developing, according to Dr. Jane Frederick, medical director of HRC Fertility in California.
6) Remember that you are lucky to have the gift of pregnancy and childbirth.
Some women aren’t able to have children, and are even envious of the stretch marks and fat rolls that sometimes come with it, said Jacqueline Soto, a certified life coach, founder and owner of Jacqueline Soto Coaching.
7) Have realistic expectations of your body.
After you give birth, it is best to lower your expectations in order to relax and spend time with your baby, Soto said. Your body is going to go through an adjustment period — it just barely finished the beautiful job of creating another human.
8) Choose to feel sexy.
You may not have a flat stomach or perky breasts after pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you’re not sexy. Size doesn’t matter — it’s about appreciating your flaws, she said. For example, instead of covering your stretch marks, why not embrace them for the well-earned tiger stripes that they are?
What did you do to keep your body confidence up during and after pregnancy? Share your tips in the comments section.
Reviewed October 10, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Frederick, Jane. Email interview. July 11, 2016.
Soto, Jacqueline. Email interview. July 9, 2016.