There's an overwhelming pressure for new mothers to bounce back to their "pre-baby" body. Don’t even get me started on the number of products — stretch mark creams, boob lifts, stomach flatteners, and more — that are created to help women achieve this "goal."
As a leader in the body-positive movement, I hate to admit that I fell victim to this mentality after I had my first child, Marshall, last March.
After his birth, I looked down at my body and hated what I saw: a saggy stomach, lumpy thighs, and no waist in sight. I panicked at the thought of how the outside world would receive me. My first thought was to hide and work out constantly (hidden in my living room).
I was stuck in this cycle of body hatred for about a week before I realized that I knew better. I had the opportunity to put what I teach to the test.
Here's how I got out of my I-am-the-unsexiest-woman-alive funk to actually loving — and rocking — my new post-baby body.
1. I stopped hiding and sought out activities that made me happy.
Most women believe that our lives will completely change when we lose weight. This is not the case.
As long as we're waiting for our lives to begin once we're thin, our current lives are uninspired. If you make being a certain size your sole source of happiness, excitement, and connection, it only leads to negative outcomes.
When I was a new mom with Marshall (and now again with my second baby), I was of course super-tired and lethargic. So I made a list of all the things I would do if I were feeling energetic and beautiful. They were as simple as making new mom friends, visiting a museum, taking a dance class, and meditating more often.
Then, I got straight to work putting myself out there and not letting my body hold me back. Now my motto is #NoHiding. This experience showed me that I am alive, powerful, and fun, even at my heaviest weight.
2. I embraced the idea that women's bodies are designed to gain and lose weight.
After being pregnant twice and riding the postpartum wave, it became so clear to me that naturally, women are meant to gain and lose weight. Our feminine energy is connected to the moon and ocean tides. There is nothing fixed or linear about us — and we have to stop going against nature.
Once I truly understood that my life and my sexiness aren't tied to my size, I effortlessly lost four dress sizes.
My weight still fluctuates every month (heck, every day!), but what's really important is that every little physical shift doesn't bother me anymore. I know that when I am living more and connecting with my sexiness, I naturally move to a size that feels most comfortable to me at that moment.
3. I realized that my body is more than just a glorified mannequin for my clothes.
When I think about my body, I'm now in complete awe of its ability to grow a human. If you're a mom, you get it. It’s easy to forget the power of our bodies, but now I take time every day to reflect on how incredible it is that I've grown two humans in my body.
This reverence for its sheer brilliance grounds me in the truth that my husband is so blessed to be intimate with my body. It's like, "Yeah, you are one lucky guy to come into contact with this incredible, magical force of nature."
Now, a few weeks after the birth of my second baby, I'm so grateful to be free from what I call body jail: the fear of, "Will I ever look the same?" and "Will I ever want to have sex again?" No and yes.
I will never look the same as I did before I had my son or my daughter, and I relish that. My body is beautiful, with its silver stretch marks and wider hips. I am more than a body. I am a whole woman with a great life and a passion and inner fire that won't be held back by a saggy tummy.
Because of this, I am way sexier than I've ever been.
Photo courtesy of the author