Thinking Differently May Improve Postpartum Body Confidence

Throughout pregnancy, we are told we are glowing, how beautiful our bump is, and how strong our bodies are in creating and growing a tiny human being. The pregnant body is empowering and transforming.

Suddenly, when the baby is born, we are told to bounce back and regain our shape as though this magnificent transformation never happened. We look in the mirror and see a body that seems unfamiliar and likely exhausted because pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are hard on our bodies. Our self-esteem may take a hit, our confidence lowers, and we can feel like we’re in a pretty negative space when it comes to how we view our bodies postpartum. However, thinking differently about our bodies can have a huge effect on our confidence after we give birth. Here are some ways you can tackle those postpartum body confidence issues.

Think About Everything Your Body Has Done

Not only has your body grown a baby, but also a brand-new organ in the placenta. Yes, your body has shifted and changed throughout pregnancy and is now feeding that baby. It has all been a monumental task of epic proportions, so don’t underestimate how powerful, courageous, and strong your body is.

Yet, all of these changes and expectations on your body can make it difficult to feel enthusiastic or confident in your body. To think differently about your body, try to remember what your body has achieved.

Exercise: Write down three things you are grateful for when it comes to your postpartum body and it could help with your confidence.

Reframe Negative Thoughts

Many of us think negatively about our bodies after birth, and that’s okay. The trick is not to get caught up in a spiralling negative pattern of damaging thoughts. Instead, aim to reframe your thinking if you find your thoughts are being unhelpful.

Exercise: Recognise the thoughts you are having and shift the thought pattern to something a little less hurtful or destructive. Instead of aiming for something positive, move to say something neutral without judgement. For example, when you say, "I hate that my stomach still looks pregnant," shift your thinking to, "My stomach looks different than before I was pregnant." Slowly reframing these thoughts to recognising the change and embracing that change will alter how we see ourselves.

Trust Your Body

We all know that dieting or excessive fitness regimes are not what the body needs postpartum; we do not have the recreate the body we had before we became pregnant. In fact, this is a time when we should listen explicitly to what our bodies want and need. Whether we are tired, hungry, thirsty, or need to slow down, our bodies will tell us.

Exercise: Listen to and trust your body. By protecting your body, you are inadvertently promoting respect, self-esteem, and by effect, boosting your body confidence.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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