Every woman has a “mommy body” after childbirth. For first time moms, the extent of these changes can come as a shock. Try not to panic or berate yourself over it. Realize that these changes in your figure are part of a natural, healthy, and most importantly, transitional phase. Your postpartum physique is not forever.
Some of your “mommy body” changes are obvious: you’ll have a round, soft abdomen, weaker abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, and fuller breasts.
Other changes, such as a tipped pelvis, wider rib cage, lax ligaments, and rolled shoulders, are less obvious but have an impact in how your body functions and looks. Your uterus, through postpartum contractions, takes 4 to 6 weeks of shrink back to close to its former size, in a process called involution.
Your postpartum body proportions are very different than before pregnancy, regardless of body weight. Your ribcage will be a lot wider (most women have fuller breasts too), making your torso more cylindrical in shape.
Postpartum Body Evolution
Healthy weight loss, getting back in shape, and transitioning back to your pre-pregnancy self is a process that for most women takes many months.
Younger, fitter moms bounce back more quickly than older, or more sedentary moms, but everyone can bounce back. Give yourself permission to navigate this phase of your life with grace and acceptance, knowing that is, after all, just a phase.
Develop a Healthy, Realistic Perspective
Try not to idealize, or hold yourself up to an unrealistic standard on how some celebrity-moms seem to get super-skinny with rock hard abs just months after childbirth. This takes a crew of nannies, fitness trainers, cooks, personal assistants and oftentimes surgery, to pull off.
While negative thoughts about your mommy body may pop up from time to time, try to build the habit of noticing self-criticism, pressing an imaginary mental delete button and throwing them out. For negative self-talk, when left unchallenged, can undermine your motivation and self-esteem, leaving feelings of sadness, anger, and anxiety in its wake.
Allowing negative self-talk to continue unchallenged, makes it more difficult to adhere to a high quality, balanced diet, and hit your calorie target range, nurture your baby, support breast feeding, and return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Since most new moms can’t fit back into their pre-pregnancy wardrobe anytime soon, – and wear pregnancy clothes when you are not pregnant is a total downer – all new moms need a transitional wardrobe. Buy, or borrow, a few pieces of clothing that fit and flatter your “mommy body” so you have something nice to wear. (Don’t worry about the you need size, it’s only a number.)
No matter what your size and shape, when you wear clothes that fit well, you’ll look good and this will go a long way to helping you feel better about yourself and accept your shape in this transitional period.