How did you feel about your body after birth?

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 1.57.43 PM


I’ve had three very different births now. I’d love to say I’ve come out of each one very zen, with total acceptance of my postpartum body after birth. But that would be a flat out lie.


How we feel about our body after birth plays a big role in how we feel about ourselves as Mothers and women. I think it changes how we interact with our partners and our confidence in life generally.  At least, that’s how it’s been for me.


After round one I was completely shell-shocked. The whole thing was traumatic. I’d had an episiotomy and it hurt to even think about it.  Every single nurse who checked on my stitches after the birth winced and then tried to pretend they didn’t.  I also vividly remember being home, wandering around the house with sore swollen boobs, in a deliriously exhausted state, not being able to sit down because it was so painful.


It took me a LONG time to recover first time round.  But not just because it was physically bad, but also because I was so determined to be back to normal that I didn’t look after myself very well and I pushed myself back into things far too soon, rather than accepting where my body was at and how it needed to heal.


Months after having Eamon I looked like I was back to normal, but I really wasn’t. I had lost more weight than I had started with (something interestingly I was cheered for – no one ever questioned if that was a sign I was not doing ok).  I was still sore and uncomfortable and I remember looking down at my body and barely recognising it as mine.


Round two and I was determined to create a more positive birth experience.  I’d done a hypnobirthing course, I was doing lots of yoga, I hired a private midwife to support me and I was feeling good.  I had a fast labour and felt on top of the world to experience a calm birth.  


Going home and healing this time was a lot different.  I was told the recovery from a third degree tear would be worse than last time but it absolutely wasn’t.  I kept bracing myself for the day of not being able to sit, but it never came.  Likely because I was looking after myself better. I wasn’t trying to get straight back into regular life.  I was more accepting this time of what my body needed.


Of course, round three has been a totally different story again.  There has been no real physical recovery.  I felt no pain when he arrived – though I would swap the physical pain of a full term baby for the emotional pain of losing a child any day.  And yet I am finding, acceptance is playing a big role in how I’m feeling yet again.


My body seems to still thinks it’s pregnant, which is both confusing and painful at the same time.  My boobs and belly are still swollen and I’m holding onto more weight than I would usually have.  Some days, on the bad days, I find myself getting worked up over how my body now looks and feels.  It feels like a cruel joke to still show signs of a pregnancy that ended too soon.  But I have to keep reminding myself that stressing and worrying about it only makes it worse.  Accepting what my body currently looks and feels like is the only way to stop suffering over it.


So that’s what I’m currently working on.  It’s painful and hard, but I’m trying to accept my body for where it is now.


Whether you’re 6 days after a birth or 6 years, you might have some acceptance to work on too?  It might be extra weight you’re carrying, or a ‘dodgy’ pelvic floor or perhaps a belly covered in stretch marks. Whatever it is, I can guarantee you that acceptance is the only way to stop suffering from it.  To stop getting stressed out each time you go to get dressed, or buy new clothes, or heaven forbid – strip naked.  


I’ve added a yoga class over in the studio today to help you try and find some acceptance of your body after birth.  I’d love if you’d pop over and join me in this practice if this is something you need to work on too. You can start your 30 day free trial to watch it today.


How did you feel about your body after birth? Have you found acceptance of that now?

2 Responses to “How did you feel about your body after birth?

  • You could separate this into two questions… How did you feel about your external body? and How did you feel about your internal body? Outward appearances can be often deceptive. A woman told Tamika that from behind she does not look at all pregnant, she is currently 36 weeks, and that she was “obviously one of those lucky women who have pregnancy easy”. What the woman cannot see in how Tamika is traveling on the inside, or even just under her clothing. Her skin from neck to pelvis is covered in dermatitis. On the inside she has Braxton Hicks contractions so bad the hospital has checked her out several times. Backaches so bad she cannot find comfort standing, walking, sitting or laying down. Vaginal discharge, shortness of breath, lack of bladder control. But yes she still looks thin! Wow, yes how great is that? NOT!
    Me? I have felt different with each pregnancy and birth. With Tamika I was a single Mum, at her first birthday I looked like a walking skeleton with huge boobs. My weight had dropped to just over 40kgs from stress and lack of sleep. With Jarvis I opted not to give shit about the external body. I was so damm proud that I had carried a baby full term and given birth to a live baby. At his first birthday party, I think my body looked amazing. Okay, well amazing for someone who was 44 and never excised in her life. But I was at the point of bliss where I felt like yelling at the world “my body made that!”.
    But now after three more miscarriages, I am yet again fighting a raging battle with my body. It is aging and has failed me five times. But do I give a shit about lumps ans bumps? Nup. So I fight internal body issues and dont really get bothered about external body issues.

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Thank you so much for this response Julie. It’s so true- after the first two I was concerned about the external. Now I feel my body failed me in some way. I think it may be a long road to trusting that my body didn’t fail and in fact it has innate wisdom that I’m just not aware of, but I’m hopeful I’ll get there one day. So much love to you. Xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *