Many of us women hate our bodies at one point or another, or we at least hate a certain part of it. Hands are too big, chest is too small, nose is too narrow – you name it and a woman somewhere isn’t happy with it.
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This can lead to dings in self-esteem and a whole host of serious issues, such as disordered eating. And even if things aren’t that serious, you’ll still probably harbor some unnecessary negativity about your body that can weigh you down in both conscious and subconscious ways.
But there is one experience that can help you overcome the prison of body self-criticism that you may be currently living in, and that is motherhood. Being a mother teaches you about acceptance, love and gratitude in ways you may not even realize, and those things can translate into a you who is happier with your body image.
Check out the following ten reasons why you should love your body more after becoming a mother.
1. You Carried A Pregnancy
Your body has grown, nurtured and produced a new life. That is a remarkable feat – one that shouldn’t go unnoticed. According to Live Science, a woman’s body undergoes many visible and hidden physical changes, from an expanding belly to an enlarged uterus. Try to remember all the changes your body endured over your pregnancy, from morning sickness to swollen ankles.
Recall the amazement you felt at the way your body changed and accommodated your baby. Don’t limit this to just changes you viewed as positive, such as a skin glow. Think of everything your body did and handled in order for you to have a child, and how wonderful that all was in the end.
Don’t forget to give your body credit for bouncing back after the pregnancy and how quickly that happened despite the months you were pregnant.
2. Your Body Is Meant To Change
Naturally, your body changed in shape during your pregnancy. This is entirely normal, but for some women, those changes and any lingering ones can be a cause of distress. Things like a droopy tummy and stretch marks just aren’t features people are usually happy about developing, but you have to put them into the proper prospective.
Change the way you think about differences in your body brought on by time and major events like your pregnancy. If you can accept these changes are completely natural and part of the cycle of life, you can begin to appreciate the natural order of things as they are instead of longing for the past. Your body of today isn’t your body of yesterday or tomorrow, but it also isn’t meant to be.
3. It Won’t Pass Judgment
Your body isn’t going to judge your choices, letting you be whoever it is that you are. Being a mother doesn’t mean you can’t stay up on the latest fashion trends or wear those high heels and cocktail dresses for a night on the town.
It also doesn’t mean you have to do those things, as you can just as easily lounge around in your pajamas on your day off. Your body won’t judge for any of those things, so you can go with your own personal flow and not give a second thought to it.
4. You Know Your Body Well
Think about what you know about your body, such as trouble spots and what you need to give it to get through a day. It sounds funny, but realizing how familiar you are with your body’s wants, needs and condition can help you form a together bond with it.
Being pregnant is an exercise in understanding your body, so if you weren’t an expert before, you are now. Embrace that knowledge with the familiarity you would an old friend to connect with your body in a newer, deeper way.
5. Your Body Helps You Embrace Your Femininity
Consider all the fun things you can do because of your body, such as wearing a cute dress and painting your fingernails and applying serious or fun make-up. These moments of joy also translate into your overall happiness and emotions as a mother, and you have your body to thank for that.
6. You Can Move Your Body (And Laugh While Doing So)
So, you love dancing but the sight of yourself doing it is pretty hilarious. And that’s okay! Learn to love how your body moves now, after becoming a mother, and laugh at yourself for it at the same time.
Accepting yourself for who you are partly comes from body acceptance, and you also need to be able to not take everything seriously.
7. You’re More Present
You had a baby. If you’re lucky, you have a six-pack of abs most women would die for, but chances are, you don’t now and probably never will. And that’s 100 percent fine. With the challenges motherhood presents, you’ve got to learn to give yourself some leeway.
Little things, like having your favorite dessert occasionally, can go a long way after a day of dealing with crying infants or yelling children, so don’t deny yourself those pleasures over a body ideal you don’t need to meet and likely can’t anyway.
8. Your Body Isn’t Obsessed With Age
While you’re keenly aware of your age, your body is not. It is only aware of how you feel. Take advantage of being a mother by enjoying the youthful things you’re “allowed” to do because you have kids, such as being on a playground and attending kids’ birthday parties. This will help you feel younger, and in turn, your body will just go with that idea.
9. Your Body Can Learn
Just like your mind, your body can learn movements, from dancing moves to sports maneuvers. Indulge your body’s thirst for knowledge just as you do with your mind. Take some classes and work with your kids, as their interests can open up a whole new field of learning for your own body.
10. Your Body Hugs And Kisses Your Children
Your body is what allows you to show affection for your children, which is a wonderful thing. Seriously consider all the wonderful things your body allows you to do to help you gain an entirely new appreciation for it.
Overall, being present in every moment of your life, as a mother and as all the other hats you wear, can really help you learn to accept and love your body as it is.
Without your body, you wouldn’t be able to get up each day and take care of and love your children, so you owe it more than you think, and it’s fine just the way it is. Take care of your body as well as you can so it is able to take care of you and let you be the mother you want to be for as long as possible.