After I gave birth to my son, I kept getting messages from a woman I went to high school with. She has become a weight loss and motivational coach with a popular company. This woman was incredibly friendly, but regardless of her lovely nature, I couldn’t get behind her message. The diet industry tends to make moms feel bad for the changes that happen to their bodies after having babies. I’m just not here for it.
At first, I would politely decline. I would also share with her my struggles of my eating disorder and that diets don’t usually end well for me. At that time, I was also struggling with my body image and had been through a few relapses with my ED. I swore she could read my mind, because I’d get messages from her asking if I was ready to learn how to be accountable and all that other diet-culture lingo on my bad body image days.
It never bothered me when she messaged me, because she also genuinely asked about my family. She knew what body image struggles felt like, but our approaches to how we view bodies became as opposite as they could. The moment she asked if I wanted my “body back” I was instantly turned off and not the nicest.
Sure, I regret the anger I felt towards her, but that last message was a turning point for my own body image. It lead to the curvy confident and proud plus-size woman that you know today. That was when I decided I was going to love my mom bod just as it was.
Falling In Love with My Mom Bod
For too many years, I thought my worth and beauty had to do my weight. I was so wrong for so long. Finally seeing that my body is beautiful and worthy just as it is was the best thing that ever happened to me besides becoming a mom.
Over and over again, I saw that same woman post call-to-actions for other moms to get their bodies back. She received so much positive feedback for transforming her own mom bod into a tiny toned little machine. I saw so many comments in her posts where other moms were begging her to help them lose weight and make it seem as if their bodies never went through the grueling process of pregnancy and birth.
I was so turned off by everything I read. I knew how these women felt, but I didn’t want to continually chase smaller numbers in hopes that it would make me happy. That’s just not how life should be lived.
We should also be celebrating our bodies as mothers, because motherhood does some hardcore shit to your body. All that stress and strain should be celebrated. We should get pats on the back instead of someone taking away our pasta and coffee creamer. I was actually thrilled to finally hit that realization that I was done starving myself and taking exercise to the extreme. I was done with diet-culture, because my mom body brings me pride.
How to Fall in Love with Your Mom Bod
It’d be pretty incredible if what I said resignated with you enough for you to change how you view your own body. However, I know the challenges of loving the skin your in. That’s why I want to help you get to that same realization. I want you to embrace your mom bod, because it’s magical.
Every stretch mark, scar, pouch, or whatever you struggle with is so incredibly beautiful. I want to help you see that too. Embracing and celebrating your body just as it is can be so freeing, because our happiness shouldn’t rely on arbitrary numbers. Happiness and beauty aren’t a size; they are a state of mind. So, let me help you get to that mindset.
1. Accept a damn compliment.
Yes, accept it. If someone compliments you, fight the urge to argue or deny the truth in their words. Accept a positive notion about yourself. Hell, take it a step further, and accept it with a smile. Just because you can’t see your own beauty yet, doesn’t mean it’s not there. You’re just bias, darling.
2. Show yourself some appreciation.
You carried a life for months. You created a tiny person inside of you and sacrificed so much of yourself. Give yourself some credit and appreciation. The female body is so amazing, and if you are able to carry and deliver children, you need to be grateful.
Gratitude really changed the game for me. Once I realized how blessed I was to be able to have kids, the self-love and appreciation for my mom bod came easier. I had a miscarriage before the birth of our son, and I needed to have a hysterectomy after our daughter. I’ve struggled with reproductive health, but I am still grateful with what my body was able to do.
3. Compliment yourself.
This isn’t easy, but you need to compliment yourself with some sincerity. Walk into your bathroom and say three nice things about yourself. Write down some compliments about yourself before bed. Be nice to yourself, because your body is your first home. It deserves positive feedback.
4. Talk about your birth story.
You don’t have to share every splash and bloody detail of your birth story with the world, but talk about it to someone. Sharing the details of what your body went through can help with gratitude, but it can also show you that moms and our bodies are badass- not sorry.
I was in labor 16 hours with my son and 14 with my daughter. Both were natural births, but I almost died with my daughter, literally. Being pregnant and having a baby isn’t something you should just brush off. I’m proud of you and your body. Own how hardcore you are and tell that birth story like you’re Wonder Woman.
5. Relabel what you consider flaws.
I talk about this in my book, Eat the Damn Muffin. Honestly, relabeling our flaws and looking at them in a different perspective can be so helpful. I didn’t wear a bikini for 4 years after becoming a mom. I felt ashamed of my mom belly with it’s soft saggy skin, stretch marks, and pouch. I thought those things were holding me back from being beautiful. Again, I was wrong.
Now, I see that belly, and I look at it with admiration. My kids grew in there. I put my body through hell with over a decade of bulimia, but somehow, my body was still able to create and carry life. Sure, I’ve had a ton of surgeries and health issues because of my ED and other things, but those aren’t flaws. Those are badges of honor. Those are marks of raw beauty, because perfection is boring.
Flip the script on your body image. For every flaw you see, turn it into a something positive. Don’t like your butt? Well, your butt is awesome. Don’t like your legs? Well, they get you from place to place and are beautiful, strong stems. Change your perspective.
6. Happiness can only come from you.
It’s time to realize that happiness with your body image can only happen if you want it and allow it. If you continually chase a smaller body, you’ll never be happy. You have to accept the changes that happened. Those changes were worth it, momma.
Counting calories, obsessive exercise, and punishing your body with diet-culture tactics won’t lead you down a path of happiness. Love your body because you choose to do so, not because some supplement or shake is helping you lose the weight in an unhealthy way. Learn to love your body organically, and accept that happiness will only come from you.
7. Look at yourself the way your kids do.
My son grabs my belly and tells me its soft. He kisses it and asks about being in my belly. At first, I would hold back tears when he would jiggle the loose skin. Now, I smile with pride, because he loves me.
Your kids don’t care about the size of your jeans. They love you just as you are. Try looking at yourself the way they do, because they are seeing something you don’t but need to. They see your strength and capabilities. They see how amazing you are as a mother, and those positives should carry over into how you see yourself too.
Love That Mom Bod
I still roll my eyes every time I see women complimenting each other with phrases like, “wow, you don’t look like you had two kids.” Honestly, I don’t care if it looks like I had kids or not. Pregnancy and birth are hard. So, I will continue to wear my mom bod as that badge of honor.
I’m happy, healthy, and in love with my mom bod. Now, it’s your turn. I’m not saying this journey is easy, but you’ve made it this far. I believe you can fall in love with your bod too.
Stop equating thin with health. A flat and unscathed belly isn’t the key to happiness. Happiness is living your best life free from food guilt and body shame.
Living your best life means looking at that those babies you created and being proud of your body despite the few dings it might have gotten along the way. Motherhood is hard, so don’t add more stress to yourself. Embrace your body and this journey, because you are worthy, momma.