The first time you look in the mirror post-baby is shocking no matter how much weight you gained, how small you are or anything else. Your body has been through a very taxing process.
There is loose skin, giant diapers, pads, and so many other weird things going on that the mirror isn’t a welcome sight initially. At least that was my experience.
This is the beginning of your new self-less lifestyle, ha! You become selfless with your sleep, your time, your body and everything in between. Your husband can empathize with you in parts of this but the foreign body your heart and mind now reside in….that’s all on you to figure out and try to make sense of.
My friend Ashley who encouraged me to get out and go on walks even when I didn’t want to right after baby for my mental clarity is so wise that I had to ask her for her take on the postpartum life from a Biblical perspective.
She sent this back to me, “I think a lot of the postpartum struggle goes deeper than body image, and it really calls you to find the “why” in having kids. Child rearing is a journey, and we tend to lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing, which for the believer is to raise up a generation of leaders to take His love to the nations and our neighbors.” …and therefore bringing glory back to God.
I asked Ashley if she had any Bible verses that this postpartum struggle made her think of to which she sent back,
Romans 5:3-5“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
“We hope for better bodies when our kids are not nursing anymore and toddling around, and we actually have time to take a little more care of ourselves. But really, in the thick of that hope (in the midst of the suffering) we endure and gain character, and that character produces true hope! A hope that cannot be put to shame by earthly goals like better figures and less cellulite. We aim for higher goals, heavenly goals, to be conformed to the image of Jesus, not J-Lo.”
When I read her J. Lo analogy I burst into laughter. Nothing like wanting to say Preach it, sister to bursting out into the utmost fit of laughter all within 30 seconds.
“Then they grow up and we get back to the gym and move on. And work out that mommy frustration that comes alongside the rest of child rearing.”
Now if that’s not some solid Godly wisdom and a good laugh, I don’t know what is.
As women, our society and and we ourselves put so much pressure on ourselves to get thin again post-baby. We see celebs do it and be plastered on a million magazines in front of us heralded as modern day marvels.
But, I’m here to tell you that that’s just not realistic to put unfair expectations on ourselves to bounce back the way a celebrity does. They have the help of a nanny, hair and makeup person, personal trainer, maid, and a chef + countless other assistants that help them be able to “look good” as part of their job.
Most of us could do it if we all had ALL those resources at our fingertips as well, lol!
My heart for this post is to touch your heart. I could easily spew out 100 body positivity quotes at you, but that won’t speak to what your heart and soul longs to hear.
What we were made to crave by our maker is relationship and the self-doubt, the self-loathing, the negative thoughts we have about ourselves or our bodies can’t be fixed by mantras, what they can be fixed by is a Redeemer who fills us up with His LIVING WORD and the Holy Spirit.
Do I want to encourage you to love your body? YES! Do I want to encourage you to workout? YES! Do I want you to be proactive about your mental health and the way you view your body? YES! But the true depths of what we are longing to fulfill by getting our “body back” or thinking positively can only be satisfied by something a LOT bigger than counting macros and exercise.
I hope you know you are loved.
I hope you know you are worthy.
I hope you know you are ENOUGH.
I hope you know that the only thing that matters to your baby is if you spent quality time with them.
I hope you don’t feel guilty for taking time for you occasionally to exercise.
I hope you LOVE YOUR BODY, YOUR SOUL, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS and YOUR MIND enough to quit spewing hateful thoughts to yourself about any kind of poor self-image.
Your heart is precious, and doesn’t deserve to be spoken to the way society tells us to sometimes. You are so strong, mama. And when you don’t feel strong and you see those 5 extra pounds, let’s take a deep breath, thank the Lord that He gave you that sweet baby and then make a game plan for where and when you can fit in exercise if it will be life-giving for you in this season.
I could write on and on forever about this topic but for now, I love you and I see you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are struggling with body image or anything postpartum! Talk to me or a friend or doctor if necessary. You are wonderful!