Body Image. Postpartum. Mental Health

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Ok Body Zoners… this post is long overdue. I apologize for my lack of updating you with my postpartum journey the past 6 weeks but I need to be honest, I was struggling: mentally and physically.

My two previous pregnancies I didn’t find the postpartum swings interrupted my everyday as much. The first 6 weeks PP being the most difficult due to balancing hormones then everything seemed pretty much normal. My mental health was much more stable as well as my body bouncing back to what felt acceptable.

I’m officially 3 months PP and I’ll be the first to admit the past 6 weeks have been a rollercoaster ride from outward bursts of breaking down crying for no reason, to a lack of motivation in completing the simplest of tasks and serve loss of appetite. It progressively worsened as weeks went on. I tried to fight threw it alone, convincing myself it was just my body balancing itself out, working out a little more to increase my endorphins, going for walks to find some solitude and as much as I did see an improvement it just wasn’t enough. My happy, energetic, fun loving self was still hidden behind a weight I couldn’t lift.

And then one night changed it all. I had to give in and ask for help. I reached out to my small network of family and friends whom I trust my life with and told them how I was feeling.

I cannot begin to describe to you how free I felt after I had a listening ear or two to unload my thoughts/emotions on.

Postpartum depression is real and untreated it can affect everything around you. In fact, it affects 1/3 new moms. Anyone can get it and after any pregnancy. Please listen to your gut and seek help if you aren’t feeling yourself after your precious bundle arrives. The first few weeks are always an adjustment but if those emotions stay, please reach out to your physician or people you trust for help.

There are many reasons one may suffer from PPD – hormone changes, lack of sleep, being overwhelmed, increase in anxiety or a decrease in self confidence.

For me it was a combination of a few things – I realized my body image and self confidence were at an all time low. I only saw my flaws, extra stretch marks, a stomach that seemed like it would never go back to normal, a butt with extra dimples and a closest full of clothing that didn’t fit. I had people around me whispering lies and negative thoughts into my ears about my post baby body (Don’t worry it wasn’t my husband saying those things to me… he has been very supportive). And somehow, I let those words weigh on me and I started to believe them. Sure, my body isn’t the same – it will NEVER be the same. I produced and brought into this world another human being. And that is worth the sacrifice of my body any day. I realized I had to let go of this negative body image I was creating; not only for myself but for my three beautiful daughters. The way I see myself and speak about myself will be a strong reflection to how they feel about themselves as they grow and develop. I have now accepted my new body and am learning to love it’s new marks, shape and abilities.

I also realized I needed to place myself back into my “element” of what makes me happy and thrive. Now please understand I LOVE nothing more than being a mom and providing for my children, even at the expense of myself/happiness. I would give the world to them. But if somehow, we as mothers can find balance of still giving our children the love and attention they need and finding time to fill our own buckets – what a beautiful world we would live in. Let me tell you- this beautiful world does exist, but, it does come with a few extra hands from time to time.

Determine how your bucket is filled. For some it may be fitness, for others it may be reading books, volunteering, time with friends etc. For me, I realized my element of my bucket being filled is when I am serving. I love serving others – whether it be at work helping my clients reach their goals, helping a friend complete a project etc. I also thrive off fitness (which I am sure was a given). I love my one hour of having my body as mine to train it and see what it’s capable of. With no one touching, poking, sucking on me. An hour of freedom.

I also fill my bucket by experiencing new things (i.e. traveling, excursions etc.)

I noticed a huge shift in my mental health when I went back to the studio a few hours a week, committed to serving/blessing one person a month, and booking a mini trip away to visit my best friend… when I started to fill my bucket.

So now, I am 3 months PP and feeling more and more like myself everyday. I am taking time to fill my bucket, seek help when I need it and slowly progressing with my fitness goals.

But the best part – is I finally feel like me again!