Body Image After Kids

I remember after I had my first child, I had to come to terms really quickly that my #body was forever changed. More so after my third child. My second and third babies were both C-sections.

I had to go through a phase of processing how foreign it felt to be in a body that had homed three babies, and then gave birth to them. The C-section scar will be there for life yet it took me a while to see it as a badge of honour because of what it represented and gave me.

In a world where #beauty these days seems to be skin deep, we forget that it's important to be gentle on ourselves, and also come to a place of acceptance when it comes to what our #bodies look and feel like after birth.

Don't get me wrong, this is a #journey in itself that looks different for everyone. Some reconcile with it sooner, and others take a bit more time to accept it. But if there's one thing I know for sure, we still hold a responsibility to love and take care of this body. If anything, it's more important to pursue #fitness, #health and overall #wellbeing for the sake of our children.

We shouldn't hate our bodies, but rather embrace the stories each of them tells, through scars, and stretch marks, weight fluctuations that remind us that water retention and bloating still happen as a normal part of life. We've labeled these things bad as a society and demonized it and we've also placed emphasis on social media on just portraying the good parts of ourselves -but we all know filters and good angles can contribute to a false perception that fails to tell the whole truth.

Though it can take a while to take the first step after the six weeks of #postpartum and being cleared up by your midwife, it can seem overwhelming to pick up physical activity. You can take it nice and slow. There is no rule somewhere that says you have to bounce back right away after having a baby. In fact you're better off being gentle with yourself, and taking it slow for yourself. However, at the same time, every individual works at a different pace.

What might seem a good time for me to start, another #mother will want and need more time before they commit to beginning that journey again after #recovery. Or perhaps. your fitness #lifestyle has been non-existent or stagnant for quite some time. It's never too late to choose to work towards wellbeing and a healthier, fit lifestyle. Being active is good for our bodies but also good for the mind and soul. One thing I appreciate fitness for is not just its variety, but the fact it helps to combat things that assail us after having babies like postpartum depression and encouraging us to actually socialize with other mommies which is extremely beneficial.

Fitness doesn't just benefit your body, but it develops a wonderful sense of #community around you. It doesn't have to be a lonely walk but one with plenty of #support.

As new mothers, or even mothers to more than one child, we can easily forget our needs, or at the very least shove them to the back burner in order to attend to the needs of our little ones.

Hear me out on this, but that's irresponsible. Here's why...

If you don't first take care of your needs and wellbeing, you are eventually going to burn out, stretch yourself thin, and not be capable of fully showing up for your kids the way they need. You want to show up strong and energized for your kids. Does this mean this is going to be your daily reality? No. There is a myriad of times where I am just too tired and exhausted, and I skimp out on the workout or shower, or I just resign myself to ordering takeout for the second day in a row because I am just too dang tired. We've all been there. Mommy burnout is such a real thing!

The key is to minimize how often it happens, acknowledge it happens, and keep going!

I've been in the space of body loathing, or just not loving my body at all. I've been to a point where I don't really like looking at myself in the mirror because my body reminds me a little too clearly how it's changed on the outside as much on the inside, but then I remember that it's okay to not fall in love with everything about #motherhood 24/7. Sometimes we just need to be real and raw and then work from there.

I started working on reminding myself that my body grew beautiful babies that I can now not live without. I remembered how resilient and adaptable it can be to change and challenge. I reminded myself -and still do- that I need to show up not just for my sake, but for the sake of my kids. I am setting an example for them as they grow up but I am also making a choice that simultaneously expresses that I care to be around for a long time, and that I accept my flaws and imperfections and still work within them. I simply move my body in a way that feels good to it and that I resonate with and continue to work on #consistency and hold onto the fact that movement is medicine; movement is important for us.

When it comes to #fitness, I think we tie this specific image of being "fit" and #active to an idea of being "skinny" and having prominent abs, unblemished body. But that's not real life. Real life should be finding beauty in the imperfections, and the parts of our body that have a story behind it that we might dislike and find a presentation of uniqueness within it that is our own and using it as a propelling reason to pursue movement that makes us feel #empowered, #happy, #strong, and #confident.

I see so many women intimidated by the #gym scene, or they are so low on the self-esteem scale because of their bodies that it's heartbreaking to see them almost give up on the idea of ever reaching their body goals, or fitness goals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way physically -it really does fuel confidence because if you look good you feel good- but we want to be sure to find a healthy balance where we're being both ambitious and realistic in our approach. We want fitness to go far deeper than just aesthetics. We want it to be about #strong, #resilient muscles that can do daily life in a way that doesn't leave us exhausted. We want #longevity to really enjoy the things in life as well as being around for those we love.

#Body #image after kids has to be viewed from a place of love and care for our bodies, and not out of hatred or frustration that it doesn't look how or do what we want.

The best way to do this is just start now, start small if it seems to difficult for you to reconcile with just yet. Baby steps is key. Work daily on loving your body and what it's accomplished and what it can continue to accomplish and adapt to. You are beautiful, and strong and capable. Let's always support and celebrate each other as moms working hard to raise tiny, precious humans who need us around for a very long time and set the example that taking good care of our bodies starts with making a choice to invest in ourselves and strap on a healthy #mindset around it.

Like a boss,