My body has carried two babies. It has stretched and expanded. It has made space for two little lives to grow inside me.
I’m proud of that. And I’m grateful for the experience and the two little girls that became part of our family because of all my body did for us.
But I also have to admit that I’m still learning to accept my post-baby body. Rationally, I get why it looks different. But emotionally, I still have days where I loathe my body more than I love it.
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. (If I was flying solo on this, there wouldn’t be so many stories about celebrities’ magical post-baby slim downs.) I also know I’m not the only mom who’s waiting to love and celebrate my body until I lose the baby weight.
So today, I have a challenge for all of us. I want us to stop waiting for our bodies to get back to “normal” to start loving them. I want us to love our bodies even if our boobs are swollen with milk or saggy from months upon months of breastfeeding. I want us to love our bodies even if we’re a little softer around the middle. I want us to love our bodies including the stretch marks and the scars from childbirth. And I want us to stop withholding love for our bodies until we lose those last five pounds or squeeze into our pre-pregnancy jeans.
The question is how?
Self-appreciation starts with finding ways to love your body today. So this week, I want you to grab a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Then sit down and make a list of 12 things you love and appreciate about your body. You don’t have to come up with anything outrageous. What’s most important is that the things you write down are true and believable. (So, I love my soft belly might not work. But I love my belly because it was a home for my baby could.)
Then the next time you start indulging in negative self-talk, I want you to remember your list and try focusing on what you love instead of your perceived flaws. Do that again and again and again when you’re feeling judgmental toward your body.
Each time you do this, you’ll get practice breaking free from negative self-talk. And you’ll remind yourself that you have a choice: you can beat yourself up for the ways your body has changed or you can focus on the things you appreciate about it instead. You can celebrate it. You can honor it for all that it’s done and for all that it continues to do.
And you can love it. Right here. Right now.
P.S. If you’re resisting the very idea of making a self-appreciation list, don’t think you’re alone. It can feel pretty indulgent – arrogant even – to practice self-love for your body instead of negative self-talk. So if you need support to get started, email me or sign up for a free coaching call so I can help you create your list, put it to good use and start loving your body now.