05/05

Motherhood

Nurturing Your Body: A Guide to Positive Body Image During the Postpartum Period

Welcome to “Nurturing Your Body,” a short guide designed to support postpartum

Welcome to “Nurturing Your Body,” a short guide designed to support postpartum mothers in cultivating a positive body image during this transformative time. In this guide, you’ll find practical tips, insights, and resources to help you embrace and celebrate your postpartum body with love and gratitude. 

Understanding Body Image 

What exactly is Body Image? 

Body image refers to how we perceive, think, and feel about our bodies. During the postpartum period, body image can be influenced by the significant physical changes that occur as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as societal expectations and cultural norms. 

How do pregnancy and postpartum affect body Image? 

The postpartum period is a time of transition and adjustment, both physically and emotionally. Many postpartum mothers experience changes in their bodies, such as weight gain, stretch marks, and changes in breast size and shape. These changes can impact how women perceive and feel about their bodies. For some women this will be the first time that they may have ever questioned how they feel about their bodies or the first time they will develop negative body image, for other women pregnancy and postpartum might trigger past body image issues and can pose a threat to those in eating disorder recovery.

Nurturing Your Body: A Guide to Positive Body Image During the Postpartum Period 

Embracing Your Postpartum Body 

Self-Compassion and Acceptance: 

Practice self-compassion and acceptance toward your postpartum body. Recognize that your body has undergone an incredible journey to bring new life into the world, and it deserves love and respect just as it is. 

Recognizing Your Body’s Strength: 

Shift your focus from appearance to functionality and appreciate the incredible strength and resilience of your postpartum body. Your body has nurtured and sustained a new life, and that is something to be celebrated and honored. 

Non-Diet Approaches to Health: 

Embrace non-diet approaches to health that focus on nourishing your body with balanced nutrition, intuitive eating, and joyful movement. Reject restrictive dieting practices that promote weight loss at the expense of your physical and emotional well-being. Studies now show that dieting is not sustainable over the long term and can very negative effects on metabolism, self esteem and self worth. 

Wear Comfortable Clothing: 

Understanding that as our bodies go through a process of change during pregnancy they do the same during the postpartum period. Expecting to get back into your pre pregnancy jeans or clothing probably won’t happen anytime soon, accepting this reality is important in order to support our mental and emotional state. Use it as a chance to update your wardrobe with pieces that fit your now body and remember that the clothes should fit you and not the other way around.

Nurturing Your Body: A Guide to Positive Body Image During the Postpartum Period 

Navigating Societal Pressures 

Bounce Back Culture: 

Challenge unrealistic expectations to “bounce back” to your pre-pregnancy body. Every woman’s postpartum journey is unique, and it’s important to honor your body’s individual needs and timelines. 

Media Influence: 

Be mindful of media representations of postpartum bodies and their impact on your body image. Remember that these representations often do not reflect the diversity and reality of postpartum experiences. Seek out body-positive media and resources that celebrate all bodies. 

Understanding Hormonal Influence 

Impact of Hormones on Body Image: 

Hormonal fluctuations during the postpartum period can influence mood, emotions, and body image perceptions. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels may contribute to mood swings, anxiety, and depression, which can impact how women perceive their postpartum bodies.

Nurturing Your Body: A Guide to Positive Body Image During the Postpartum Period 

Building Body Image Resilience 

Cultivating Self-Care: 

Prioritize self-care practices that nurture your body, mind, and soul during the postpartum period. This may include getting enough rest, eating nourishing foods, engaging in gentle exercise, and practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques. 

Seeking Support: 

Reach out to friends, family, and healthcare providers for support and encouragement on your journey to making peace with your body. Surround yourself with people who uplift and affirm you, cull your social media and start following accounts that are inclusive and do not promote thinness over health. Please seek professional support if you feel that your feelings towards your body are interfering with your daily life, health and self care. 

Conclusion: 

Remember, your postpartum body is a reflection of the incredible journey you’ve undertaken to bring new life into the world. Embrace and celebrate every curve, stretch mark, and scar as a testament to your strength and resilience. This is yet another season of your life to embrace in its entirety. You are worthy of love, acceptance, and respect just as you are. Every body is different and the ideal that is portrayed to us in most cases is not achievable. You are more than just your body and to be honest it is probably the least interesting thing about you!

Nurturing Your Body: A Guide to Positive Body Image During the Postpartum Period 

Some accounts I recommend following on Instagram: 

https://www.instagram.com/tallyrye/

https://www.instagram.com/fat.and.pregnant/

https://www.instagram.com/intuitive.eating.ireland/

https://www.instagram.com/intuitive.eating.ni/

https://www.instagram.com/flexwithvera/

https://www.instagram.com/slowpostpartum/

https://www.instagram.com/body_image_fitness/

https://www.instagram.com/nicolahaggett/

https://www.instagram.com/thatirishdietitian/

and of course me 🙂 Mindful Wellness | Jen

Books to read 

  • Reclaiming Body Trust: Break Free from a Culture of Body Perfection, Disordered Eating, and Other Traumas: Break Free Form a Culture of Body Perfection, Disordered Eating, & Other Traumas Paperback – 13 Feb. 2024 by Hilary Kinavey (Author), Dana Sturtevant (Author) 
  • Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself Paperback – 25 May 2021 by Lisa Marchiano (Author) 
  • Intuitive Eating, 4th Edition: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach 
  • Evelyn Tribole MS RDN CEDRD-S, Elyse Resch MS RDN CEDRD-S FAND (Author) 
  • More Than A Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament Hardcover – 29 Jan. 2021 by Lexie Kite (Author), Lindsay Kite (Author) and the accompanying workbook! 

This list is by no means exhaustive but it is a good place to start. 

I hope you enjoyed this resource and gained some insight from it but if you would like to learn more you can work with me directly through 1:1 virtual sessions. please reach out via DM on Instagram, through my website www.mindfulwellness.ie or email to info@mindfulwellness.ie

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