From Awe to Ugh!
During pregnancy I was in awe of my tummy transformation. I saw it morph into this giant ball and contort as my baby wiggled around in there. Although the phase of pregnancy itself was far from the 9 months of continual bliss portrayed on TV, I anticipated our baby’s arrival in gratitude and disbelief of what my body was capable of. It didn’t matter that it was baby number two. I was aware of the miracle at hand.
After Leo’s arrival looking at my tummy’s reflection in the mirror was no longer awe but awful. It was a reminder of how much weight I had to lose and how flabby I looked. Ugh! This was an instantaneous shift that occurred as soon as I gave birth.
The first couple of days I tried to ignore the reflection of my protruding belly bulge. I was fully aware that I still looked six months pregnant but was no longer carrying a baby.
I remember thinking, “Oh my God Val, look at yourself. You look disgusting! What if you never lose the weight and stay looking pregnant forever? You’ll never fit in your normal clothes again!” I call this internal chatter, La Criticona.
The kindest thoughts I was able to conjure up at the time were: “Be patient. Remember how it was when you had Luciano. You’re going to hate how you look until you lose the weight and get back into shape.”
I also remember fast forwarding the months in my head and reassuring myself, “Six months to a year from now you’ll be more or less back to your normal self.” Though I was conscious of the fact that my body needed time to recuperate, it didn’t stop my mind from being my own personal bully.
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“Don’t let your mind bully your body.” -June Tomaso Wood https://ctt.ec/khESX+ #postpartum #bodyimage
A Kinder Alternative
About 5 days post-partum, it occurred to me that there was an alternative outlook. This was another shift… a shift towards real gratitude, the kind you feel even when things aren’t exactly as you wished they were. It was as if a gentle voice whispered in my ear and said, “Look at the tummy you hate. Don’t forget it gave you the gift of children. Love it and truly give it thanks. Now, more than ever, “Barriga” needs your love and approval.” In an instant, I burst into tears, put both my hands on my flabby belly and gave it thanks.
I can’t explain why the sudden change in perspective. What I can tell you is it gave me the patience I longed for. Amazingly, it also fueled me and gave me the strength I needed to put me on the path to getting my sexy back! They say there are only two motivators in life: fear and love. I consciously chose love.
I began to look at my postpartum belly as a third party. She had given me the most beautiful of gifts and was now exhausted from her work. She was in need of rest and lots of “consentimiento”. How can you hate something that has shown nothing but love?
Self-Acceptance As Your Postpartum Fuel
I won’t lie and say that I never rolled my eyes again at the reflection of my postpartum body. Six months later, I have managed to lose most of the weight but am still in need of tightening my mid-section. Nonetheless, my new perspective doesn’t allow the self-hate mind chatter to linger for long. I tell La Criticona to take a hike and let loving Val take over.
Mamacita, if you are struggling to accept your postpartum body I invite you to examine your mind chatter. Are you speaking words of self-love or are you your own Criticona?
Stop for a moment, allow yourself to look intently at your reflection in the mirror and allow yourself to feel grateful. Touch that belly, no matter how loose or how big, close your eyes and say: “Thank you!” This won’t mean you’ve settled. On the contrary, perhaps it will give you the fuel you need to lose those postpartum pounds and get fitter than you’ve ever been!
If you want to delve further into this subject I invite you to watch the episode below of Mama Talk Live where Molly Ann Luna and I talk all about postpartum self-acceptance and self-love as the first step in getting your sexy back. Every Tuesday at 1 pm EST this mindful mama and I are going live to discuss all topics relevant to mamas.
As always: Don’t be a mama con drama. Let’s be Mamas Con Ganas!
Valentina aka #inspiredmamacita