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Jun 2, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

How I'm Learning to Love My Post-Pregnancy Body

—  found in  Family  —

I was speaking at a girl empowerment event this week and sharing with teen girls the connection between what you eat and your mood, a topic I absolutely love to speak about. After my talk, a few of the speakers – including myself – were interviewed by various media. One of the reporters asked me how I feel about my body post-baby, which caught me off guard and after chatting with her I decided, I should blog about it.

Until very recently, I haven’t even thought about my body post-pregnancy. I have been so busy with being a mama and work life that it really hasn’t been on my radar. I wear clothes that I feel comfortable in (and admittedly this includes my favourite Roots yoga pants more often then I would like to admit).

However, I recently got all my summer clothes out from the locker and tried everything on. Not surprisingly, all my shorts were super snug and while I could do up the top button, they weren't exactly comfortable anymore. Sure I could squeeze into them, but I don’t like wearing tight clothes.

I found myself looking in the mirror wondering how did my hips manage to become so much wider. Oh right… I had a baby! Those hormones widened my hips to allow my beautiful baby to be born. So ya, my hips are wider and my boobs change size on a nearly hourly basis, depending on milk flow and let's not even go there with my tummy, ha! All my mama-girlfriends have already advised me that after nursing for 2 years (which I'm hoping to do) my boobs could be like little pancakes. Eeep!

This affirmation comes to mind as I write this...

Clearly, I need to create some positive affirmation cards about my body. Since trying on of all my pre-preggo clothes, I’ve found myself not feeling as confident in my new mama body. You might be thinking “Joy, you look great,” and I thank you in advance, but my body has changed since before being pregnant and this makes me feel a little self-conscious. 

Am I okay with these changes?

Hmmmmm. The answer is a very honest one: sometimes yes and sometimes no. When I tried on all those clothes and everything was uncomfortable I found myself thinking negative thoughts about my body. Even me! I’m the one who is always preaching love your body no matter the size was suddenly feeling inadequate looking in the mirror at my new mama hips.

I felt like I transported back in time when I was a teen and would weigh myself multiple times per day and stare at my body in the mirror criticizing it and wondering how I could change it. Back then, it was my self-esteem that needed a makeover because there was absolutely nothing wrong with my body. It was beautiful and still is. I actually feel very emotional writing this post because I can’t believe how critical I was about my body back then. I will never allow myself to be that way ever again. It was so unhealthy and spilled out into more aspects of my life than just how I felt about myself.

And while it sounds cliché, I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have been much kinder to my younger self.

Isn't it interesting that I find myself back in such a familar position? I’m not weighing myself; in fact, we don’t even own a scale. But I did have a moment of "oh crap, I need to lose weight to fit into those friggin' white Aritzia shorts I love so much." The truth is, I don’t need to lose weight. My body is perfectly perfect just the way it is.

Promo Block

I know those feelings will sometimes creep back in, but now I have a plan to deal with them. Just like when I was pregnant and sometimes found anxious thoughts come out of nowhere, I can use my secret weapon: affirmation cards.

I have created these positive body-loving affirmation cards that I keep in my bag (which now morphed from trendy purse to practical diaper bag) and carry with me at all times. Anytime I’m feeling a little unsure about my new mama body, I will read them out loud and remind myself how grateful I am to have a baby and to have been given the gift of Vienna. And of course, that my body is beautiful just the way it is.

In addition to this, loving my body also means caring for it like a temple and that means nourishing it well. This is one area I can say with confidence I've nailed -- what I eat. While I'm not striving for perfection, (I do eat pizza and gelato from time to time) 99% of the time Walker and I eat incredibly delicious and healthy food. This has a positive impact on my mood and mental well-being. It is a lifestyle for us and such a part of who I am I don't know any other way any more. 

If you're curious to find out what I recommend and the kind of meals I've been eating since Vienna came along, you can check out my latest ebook: Feel Joyous, Look Great After Pregnancy and Beyond.

Even if you haven't had a baby, I hope you enjoy these affirmation cards. Let's all love our body a little more, shall we? :) 

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I absolutely love this little poem.

I wonder what conversations I would have with myself 20 years from now if I could talk to 38-year old me. What would you like to say to your younger self? Share them with me in the comments below!

Thank you for reading :)

Joy

Jun 2, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
24 Comments
Valerie   •   June 2, 2016

Wow. I needed to read this. My baby girl is 14 months, even though I am the thinnest I've ever been, my body is different. I am stilk breastfeeding and I am going through hormonal change. Even though I eat clean and organic 100% of the time and avoid all intolerances, I have weird stuff going on in my belly!! I follow a Naturopath and a Physio to fix my hormones and core strenght.... It's hard to swallow, all these changes! BUT thank god I have Èva, she is the BOMB. Thank you for this post! I will focus on my new Omega Juicer I bought yesterday hahahaha.

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Heather Allen   •   June 3, 2016

Kate   •   June 3, 2016

Hips widen with age regarless of pregnancy. There's an interesting study which looks at how much width one gains throughout life. So your self acceptance cards are great for anyone.

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Heather Allen   •   June 3, 2016

Meghan Telpner   •   June 9, 2016

YOU ARE AMAZING!!! xoxo

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Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Melissa   •   June 9, 2016

Many thanks for this Joy! Although I've never had a baby, I find that I am very judgmental about my body, just like so many other women. I really appreciate your honesty and love about this topic. The idea of using affirmation cards is a fantastic one!

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Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Tanya Carinci   •   June 9, 2016

Brilliantly honest post! Confidence is learned...so IF I could go back in time I wish that I learned more confidence building strategies in order to shield my younger self from all the negative self talk.

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Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Chels   •   June 9, 2016

I absolutely love this post! My baby boy was a lazy eater and ended up weaning himself off breastmilk at 8 months when we started introducing solids. Ever since then my body has fluctuated so much. I do my best to eat as healthy as can be, but in a large household of people that don't eat healthy, I find myself giving in to temptation quite easily. I have never been one to blame my son for my body and I will continue to wear my new body as a proud mama. Loose and flattering "mom" clothes are my new go to (glad I am not the only one who doesn't like wearing skin tight clothes). Now my son is 15 months and super active. I find keeping up with him is quite the work out and has helped me shed a few of those fluctuating pounds. Thank you for the motivation and positivity!!!

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Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Trista   •   June 9, 2016

This was amazing Joy!! As I read it, I actually felt like I was in the one writing it. Every single aspect I have lived!! You hit every single point bang on with honesty and beauty. I have been a performance coach, fitness leader and nutritionista to my students for over 15 years, and like you, after having me amazing daughter (who is three today!!), I was questioning quite a few things. Not to mention getting used to my new body :) I appreciate everything you do, you help so many with your authenticity!! ?? Oh and lastly...I breastfed my daughter for two and a half years...sadly, the pancake boobs will be a reality

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Heather Allen   •   June 9, 2016

Kate   •   June 9, 2016

Thanks for your honesty in this post - I think all women feel this at least to some degree post-pregnancy. My babe is only 2.5 months but I'm already feeling the body pressure (from myself only!). Why are we so quick to compliment and support other women with "You look great!!" after they have a baby but can't just say this to ourselves more often?! Great reminder and great affirmations!

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Joy McCarthy   •   June 9, 2016

Irina   •   June 9, 2016

This article is fantastic, because we do need to love our bodies as they are. We need to remember that body isn't fixed in one state but it changes. Saying that, it is also great to think of this post pregnancy body is a phase in which our body is slowly restoring itself after such hard work. My boy is 5 now and I am glad to report, the body recovers incredibly well. I know it is different for every woman but apart from monor changes, my body is pretty similar to what it used to be pre pregnancy. I hope it is of comfort to some of the lovely mummies who are reading this. Keep nourishing your body and don't punish it with diets or harsh exercises. ? It takes time

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Jorlinis   •   June 10, 2016

Hi Joyous , Thank you for this post . I've struggled with eating disorder since I was 17 I'm currently 33 and man I wish I had that mindset . I have done a lot of damaged to my body and although I have overcome a lot .I still truffle especially because I was bikini bodybuilder . I pray that someday I could just find that happy medium stage like you .. I have your first book and follow you on fb thank you for always being so inspirational.

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Heather Allen   •   June 10, 2016

Danielle   •   June 22, 2016

Help me !! After having two babies , 16 months apart my body is so different . I've always struggled with my weight but now I'm the heaviest I've ever been and yet I eat the healthiest I ever have in my life . I'm still breastfeeding my youngest who is now 18 months old but I'm gaining not loosing . I don't understand ?!

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Joy McCarthy   •   June 22, 2016

Monique   •   September 20, 2016

Thanks for the super honest post Joy. I (like most women) have often been super critical about my shape, but a few years ago I started thinking how much I wish I would have realised how awesome my body was when I was 20, and 24 and 30! (I'm now 37) I wasted so much time overthinking and overanalysing my shape and I could have spend all those hours actually enjoying life! So this is my new philosophy - I'm betting my 45 year old self will look back and think 'Girl, you should have been way more secure about your body at 37', and my 60 year old self will think 'Wow, I wish I would have taken advantage of the fact I could still wear a short skirt when I was 51' so now I'm not as critical and just enjoy the fact that my body will change and I need to make the most of it as it is right now.

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Maris K.   •   May 4, 2017

i am so happy i met Doctor Odunga. I would love everyone to contact this man. I contacted him to cast me a fertility spell and he completed it in 48 hours. I was barren for 4 years with problems coming my way. I really don't know how to say it today but i thank Doctor Odunga that i am no more sad anymore as i am now happy today. If you read this well everything will be clear to you. I write this because i want you to have a reliable spell caster who is true to his work and he will help you within 48 hours. His website is odungaspelltemple.wordpress.com. He has been doing this work for so many years and he has helped a lot of people His direct contact is odungaspelltemple@gmail.com Contact him to help you too in 48 hours

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Dori L.   •   March 7, 2018

No one can take my Joy away anymore from me. I am a happy woman today on the face of this earth and that is why I write this. Contacted the right spell caster. Meet Doctor Odunga at odungaspelltemple@gmail.com and his website to see his works is odungaspelltemple.wordpress.com and know him. My name is Dori Lanchester. This is a great testimony of Doctor Odunga who helped me bring back my ex husband from the bondage of another woman who has been with my husband for over 5 years and I have been a lonely woman since then. I and my husband have been married for over 8 years but without a child. I was barren. Two years later, we met my High School mate in a restaurant downtown whom I introduced my husband to, unknowingly to me was into my husband. They went out together occasionally and I became worried until my husband no longer come home early, later no more. This became the disaster in my life. One certain morning, my husby came home and packed some of his clothes and left the house. We had a quarrel over the issue of him and my friend on constant occasions and he flared up and called me sorts of name to justify himself. THIS WAS WHEN I MET DOCTOR ODUNGA at odungaspelltemple@gmail.com and he solved my problem. He told me all I needed to know and within 2 days my ex husband after 5 years of being away came back home and begged me for his awkward behavior. I asked Doctor Odunga why did he leave and he told me to have patience. Within a week of my husband coming to me, I became pregnant with child. How thankful can I be than to declare his works and you should contact him too. Contact odungaspelltemple@gmail.com to meet this great spell caster

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