Now that you are reading this, Peanut will most likely have arrived and I will be completely caught up in the wants and needs of this tiny human being.
And while the first weeks (months?) after welcoming a new member of the family are usually spend in a fog caused by hormones, sleep deprivation and utter exhaustion, I know that I will someday emerge, look into a mirror and try my very best not to hate what I see.
This post, of course, needs a disclaimer. I am fully aware of the wonder that growing a human being is, of the amazing things my body has done and that being healthy both myself and my child is the only thing that really matters.
But even if I tell myself that 100 times, and yes, I know it is superficial: I wished I´d look different than I do now anyway.
When your body starts changing throughout pregnancy, you have time to watch and adjust. With every bit of weight gain and every new spider vein appearing you will see the belly growing, and it will somehow feel worth it.
But when the baby is born and the belly should be gone, it actually isn’t. It is smaller, yes, but I at least looked like I was five months pregnant still. Only that everything was soft and saggy, not perky and round anymore. That is, of course, perfectly normal. What grew nine months needs about the same time to shrink again, I know that.
Nevertheless, I struggle.
The weight put on to butt and hips somehow seems a lot more obvious when the gigantic belly is gone, rolls appear that weren’t there before when everything was tightly pulled around the growing womb and you still have to rely on stretchy pants and flowing tops, maybe more than ever.
The breathlessness and lack of endurance you could blame on the gigantic belly somehow persist, because your muscles are mostly gone and a 15 minute walk pushing the pram feels like an intense workout.
That paired with dull skin, hormonal breakouts and various changes your lady parts have been through don’t exactly add up to a positive body image.
At least for me, and for many other women I have talked to over time. And with social media bombarding us with #whatsyourexcuse pictures and celebrity moms showing off their bikini body with an eight week old in their arms it gets even harder to have patience and persistence.
Having been there before, I know that hating myself will not get me anywhere. It will just make me even more miserable and impatient, and patience with my body and myself are the only thing that will really help.
No supportive and caring husband, no friends nor family will be able to help you with this one. You need to accept and love yourself first.
How to achieve that?
To be honest, I don’t know. It took me ages to get to that point after my last pregnancy, and I wasted months loathing my body and pushing it way harder than I should have. I hope that this time, knowing that these things need time and patience more than willpower and pain, I will be gentler with myself.
Some women swear by positive affirmations, others use relaxation and meditation, some will not even know what I am talking about, because they were fine all along.
But for everyone going through that the first time: Many others feel that way too. They just don’t talk about it.