20 Women Share How They Learned to Love Their Postpartum Body

Ashley Austrew | Aug 14, 2018 Being a Mom
20 Women Share How They Learned to Love Their Postpartum Body
Image: drazen_/iStock.com

woman walking with baby on the beach
drazen_/iStock.com

Of all the changes women go through when they decide to get pregnant and have a baby, the body changes are probably the most difficult for many of us to accept. As women, we spend so much of our lives getting to know our own bodies and learning how to feel comfortable in our own skin. Then, seemingly overnight, everything changes and the hard work of acceptance begins all over again. It doesn't matter what size a woman is pre-pregnancy, how she looks, or what kind of lifestyle she leads. Carrying a child leaves indelible marks on our bodies that simply can't be avoided or erased, no matter what we do.

The changes we go through when we have kids aren't a bad thing, but it can be hard for a woman to wrap her mind around new stretch marks, wider hips, fuller or saggier boobs, having clothes fit differently, and every other little thing that might be different. It's like getting to know an entirely new person, all while we're already adjusting to the new role of motherhood and getting acquainted with another little stranger: the new baby.

Body love and acceptance comes in many forms, and no two people will have the same self-love journey. But no matter what the journey looks like, it is possible to love and appreciate our postpartum bodies and to find real acceptance for the people we've become. Here, real moms share how they came to make peace with -- and even fall in love with -- their post-baby bodies. From workouts to fancy bras to staring at their own vulva in a mirror (yes, really), these are the ways women have learned to love their new shapes.

  • Looking at Old Photos

    1
    woman with twins looking at iphone
    jovanmandic/iStock.com

    "Every day since I gave birth I'd look in the mirror and be discouraged by my body, but one day when my twins were around a year old, I came across the week-by-week photos I took when I was pregnant. Seeing how I looked then really let me see what I looked like now: A strong momma whose body did something amazing." -- Megan Z.

  • Getting a Jogging Stroller

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    woman running with jogging stroller
    onfokus/iStock.com

    "Getting a jogging stroller really helped me love my new post-baby body. I thought it would be all about changing the number on the scale, but really I love how strong I feel pushing that beast up hills!" -- Kylie A.

  • Letting Go of Unrealistic Goals

    3
    mom in bathing suit
    HouseofWhite/Instagram

    "I gave up focusing on a unrealistic ideas about a goal weight and turned my focus and 'goals' to being happy, enjoying my life and promised to never miss a moment with my girls just because of a dislike of how I looked in a cosi [swimsuit]." -- Olivia W.

  • Appreciating My Pregnancy Body

    4
    pregnant woman cradling her belly
    aywan88/iStock.com

    "For me, having kids actually improved my body image. For so long I was at war with my body and even angry that it didn't look the way I wanted it to. After having kids, I was really in awe that my body was able to carry and birth and feed them." -- Lynn S.

  • Getting Rid of Old Clothes 

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    pile of clothes on the floor
    dstaerk/iStock.com

    "I got rid of my old clothes. I was sick of beating myself up for not fitting into my 'pre-pregnancy jeans.' Bodies are meant to grow and change, and donating old clothes gave me a chance to let go of the way I looked before and embrace my new shape." -- Ashley A.

  • Checking Out My Lady Parts

    6

    "The first time after giving birth I was TERRIFIED to take a peak [at my vulva]. The stories and belief of 'you’ll be ruined' had me petrified ... This time it was completely different. I spent my entire pregnancy gazing and deeply connecting to my sacred woman space ... Throughout my entire pregnancy I was completely in awe of how she changed. How she grew with fullness as my body expanded. I was so connected to the entire process that I couldn’t wait to see her after the birth, and thank her for what she had done. It’s incredible what can happen when we foster a relationship of connection & gratitude instead of feeding into the fears." -- Lindsay U.

  • Body Positive Instagram Accounts

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    "Four words: body positive Instagram accounts. Filling my feed with accounts like BodyPosiPanda and 4th Trimester bodies really made me feel like, I think the bodies I'm seeing on social media are beautiful, so why should I look at mine and think it isn't?" -- Carrie W.

  • Focusing on Actions

    8
    woman doing yoga
    PeopleImages/iStock.com

    "What helps me is focusing on what my body can do instead of how it looks. That first post-baby pushup felt like, 'Wow, I had a baby and I can still do this.' I feel amazing in those moments and it makes it easier to understand that my body didn't become less spectacular just because it looks different." -- Anonymous

  • Buying Fancy Lingerie

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    black bra and panties
    wundervisuals/iStock.com

    "Nice lingerie, including finding the right nursing bras that didn't make me feel frumpy and plain. Something about knowing I'm wearing pretty underthings just makes me feel more confident." -- Brittany S.

  • Wearing Whatever I Want

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    woman trying on clothes
    innovatedcaptures/iStock.com

    "For the first year or so after I had my kid, I was so worried about how I looked. I wouldn't wear certain things and I hated being in pictures. But I started to realize that it all goes so fast, and I didn't want to miss out on memories because I was worried about my body. So I started making a conscious effort to wear whatever I liked and to stop hiding. It was hard at first but it helped me get used to my new self." -- Anonymous

  • Letting Go of My Goal Weight

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    woman standing on a scale
    ShotShare/iStock.com

    "I stopped weighing myself. I was stressing out over getting back to my pre-baby weight, and then I did get there but I still didn't feel better. I decided to stop obsessing about the number and just focus on how I feel." -- Meghan J.

  • Loving My Stretch Marks

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    postpartum stretch marks
    RolandStollner/iStock.com

    "I actually love my post-baby stretch marks. I haven't really struggled with them. They represent that my kids grew in my body. It doesn't get cooler than that!" -- Anonymous

  • Coloring My Hair

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    woman getting her hair dyed
    Dimid_86/iStock.com

    "Six weeks after I had my son I dyed my hair purple. I've never done anything like that before. It felt like a way to reclaim my identity and do something that was just for me. It made me feel like a rockstar!" -- Anonymous

  • Embracing the Future

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    woman riding her bike
    witthaya/iStock.com

    "I'm excited about my life as a mom, and that makes it hard to feel bad about any change my body goes through." -- Anna M.

  • Running a Marathon

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    people running in a race
    Pavel1964/iStock.com

    "I ran a marathon. I know that sounds nuts. But I started training when my baby turned 1. It was something I always wanted to do. Surprisingly, my body didn't change all that much. But the way I felt about what my body could do changed." -- Anonymous

  • Focusing on My Baby

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    mom kissing newborn
    FatCamera/iStock.com

    "When I'm feeling insecure, I look at my baby. He is perfect, and my body did that. How can I feel bad about that? MY. BODY. DID. THAT." -- Sarah P.

  • Taking a Dance Class

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    two women dancing and happy
    FatCamera/iStock.com

    "I dance. Seriously. I signed up for a dance class, partly for exercise and partly because I just wanted to. It helps me feel good but it also helps me focus on getting stronger and how my body moves. Plus, class time is self-care for me." -- Anonymous

  • Buying New Jeans

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    blue jeans in a store
    kadmy/iStock.com

    "I went out and bought myself two really nice, expensive pairs of jeans. I wear jeans almost every day. It's my 'mom uniform.' And I couldn't justify wearing too-tight pants that made me feel horrible about myself. Being able to pull on great-fitting jeans makes me feel good about myself and my body." -- Catherine A.

  • Taking It One Day at a Time

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    woman drinking coffee
    valentinrussanov/iStock.com

    "I still have bad days, to be honest. I'm not sure if I will ever feel totally comfortable with myself. But there are days when I feel like I look really good or something great happens that makes me remember it's not just about my body. There's more to me. And I'm learning to love myself slowly, one day at a time." -- Anonymous

  • Remembering It's Supposed to Be Different

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    beautiful woman with colorful hair
    Lauren Gordon

    "The truth is I'm still trying to accept my postpartum body. My scale spits back my pre-pregnancy weight but my body is in no way the same. Clothes look weird, my stomach is an entirely different shape. It's hard. But what does help me is reminding myself that it's not SUPPOSED to be the same. I just did this amazing and hard and insane thing. Self-love will come again." -- Lauren G.

postpartum recovery body image

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