At first glance, I hated it. I hated the photo that my 8 year old daughter had taken of me and my other two daughters sitting on the couch and cuddling. The very first thing I saw were my stomach rolls bulging out of my pants, and then my eyes were drawn to my double chin that was highlighted by my joyful smile. Then, Little C looked at me and said, "Mom! Isn't this the most adorable picture of you and the girls? I'm going to use it as my background on my tablet so that I can see you every time I open it up. You are so pretty." This isn't the first time one of my children has reminded me how beautiful my "mom bod" is, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
I know a lot of you - my dear readers - are mamas too, so today I want to chat about our mom bodies. I want to write honesty about the changes my body has gone through since becoming a mother and how I'm owning each change. I've wanted to write about this here for some time now (I touched on it a few years ago), so I'm so thankful that TENA has inspired me to do it and is sponsoring this dialogue today.
Here are 5 ways my body has changed since motherhood and how I'm owning it:
1: More Body Weight
With each pregnancy, I gained over 50 pounds. That's a lot of weight for a petite woman! It was really hard for me to lose the weight after all 3 pregnancies - hardly any of it came off until I stopped breastfeeding each baby, and I'm still heavier than I was pre-babies. How I'm owning this? I'm slowly getting used to my curvier self, and learning to love my fuller figure. I do want to be a healthy mama for my girls, so my main goals are to eat healthy foods (like lots of veggies and whole grains) and exercise daily. When I'm busy, it's hard for me to do both, but I'm trying not to be too hard on myself and reminding myself that each day is a fresh new start!
2: Thinner Hair
My hair fell out in clumps postpartum. Did yours? It was frightening! My head of hair has never been the same since. It's not as thick as it used to be, and it's a lot different to style. How I'm owning this? I've discovered the wonderful world of dry shampoo, and I can usually go 3 days without washing my hair. A quick spritz of dry shampoo in the morning gives my hair some body and texture, and if I feel like styling it, a large curling wand can add even more bounce to my locks.
3: Stretch Marks
It was so weird - I didn't have one little stretch mark for my first two pregnancies and then - boom! - baby 3 brought with her a host of marks on my stomach, breasts and thighs. I was surprised after I found my way out of the 3rd newborn fog to find these little stretch marks all over my body. How I'm owning this? I honestly don't give them a second thought. They're like little trophies that prove I've carried 3 precious babies in my womb and helped them enter this world. How do you feel about your stretch marks?
4: Different Skin
Is it just me, or does a person's skin chemistry change after giving birth? I've always had problems with large pores and acne, but my condition only got worse postpartum, and it's still difficult to manage now. Not only do I still have acne at 34 years old, but I'm starting to battle under eye circles and sagging skin like most tired mamas. How I'm owning this? When I see the bags forming beneath my eyes, I'm reminded that I need to REST. It's such a foreign word to us, right? We often put our children and husbands before ourselves and forget that we need to take care of our bodies in order to take care of our clan. Better sleeps and taking a little time to give myself a DIY facial helps me take care of my skin.
5: A Leaky Bladder
Before kids, I could jump rope, sneeze, laugh and bounce on the trampoline without a care in the world. After 3 babies, my bladder can cause unexpected problems. Sometimes I'll even pee a little when I sneeze or cough.1 out of 3 women experiences stress urinary incontinence at some point in their livesKegel exercises are easy to do any time of day and they help strengthen my pelvic floor. I've also been using TENA Intimates Light Ultra Thin Pads to help me feel fresh all day. I hardly notice them, and they really help me feel more confident as I go about my regular daily routine.
My goal this summer is to appreciate my mom bod and not let any of these changes prevent me from enjoying life to its fullest with my girls. I want to swim in the lake with my daughters - instead of thinking about the size of my thighs, I want to think about the size of my smile. I want to go camping with my family - instead of thinking about the state of my hair, I want to think about the state of my heart. I want to ride my bike around the neighborhood with my girl - instead of thinking about unexpected leaks, I want to discover an unexpected adventure.
Learn more about the unexpected leak and how to manage it by watching the video below:
Tell me: How are you feeling about your body post-pregnancy?
Thank you for letting me be transparent with you today, and thank you to TENA for helping me open up about my mom bod
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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by TENA. All of the opinions here are my own.