The postpartum body is never what you think it will be. You kind of go into it expecting that you’ll ‘bounce back’ like literally everyone has told you. Why people say this, I’m not sure. But in reality, you’re in a place between what you used to look like and what you want to look like now. And it will take a long time for you to feel as remotely as strong as you once were. I think for most of us women, these are just facts.
Admittedly, I initially felt annoyed with my postpartum body. I ate fairly healthy throughout my pregnancy with Sidney and worked out consistently. But after giving birth I stepped on the scale and realized I’d have to lose 15 pounds to where I once was.
But it wasn’t just the weight. It was hair loss, raw nipples, weird looking boobs, and so much more. That’s on top of trying to let your body recover from just giving birth. Ugh, I thought.
I tried to pull myself together. I encourage myself up with positivity such as: “You just had a beautiful baby boy!” and “It will come off with time!” or “Give yourself grace! Honor where you are.”
And initially those sentiments worked. I focused on Sidney. I ate whatever I wanted in the first month or two. I didn’t really cook and I certainly didn’t exercise. I tried to sleep whenever I could and I reveled in my little boy’s ocean blue eyes. This was motherhood. I was doing it. The raw nips, hair loss, hemorrhoids, flabby tummy, thicker thighs and swollen face were all worth it. I literally didn’t care.
Ebb to Train Bra Medium Support: this is my new favorite sports bra! It’s so comfortable because it’s seamless meaning there’s no tightness underneath your boobs or chest. Super supportive too!
Wunder Under High Rise Tight 28”: hello, cute leggings! I wanted something a little fun and different so these are perfect.
But after a few months, a feeling started to settle that I didn’t feel ‘me’ anymore. Was this postpartum depression? No… I still felt ‘good’ most of the time — just not ‘me’ (hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it).
So, what was it then? A cloudy feeling I couldn’t shake. I wasn’t eager. I didn’t feel creative. I just didn’t feel like myself.
I knew it wasn’t the extra weight that carried beautifully with me either. I had settled into that and finally accepted that my body was my new body. One built for a mother. One that I honored because every season of life serves its purpose. I made peace with my new body. It was the one that I had. And for months, I didn’t focus on my appearance.
Finally though, I noticed that it was my confidence that felt like it was pulled out from under me. I was raising a child for the first time, breastfeeding for the first time, learning how to become a parent, and saying goodbye to a life of independence that I once knew, valued and cherished. My life was now all about my sweet boy, Sidney.
Changes, my friends, were the hardest to accept and adjust to. And so my confidence went too. I was transforming into someone I had yet to meet, embrace and accept fully.
All of this on top of being stuck inside during a pandemic made for an extremely difficult few months of postpartum. Not seeing family or friends. Not getting help or a break, ever. It was lonely and I knew I needed something different.
By month 4 postpartum, I was ready to make some changes. Committing to something, or really anything, I knew would make a big difference. So I started working out again, following an online program from my personal trainer Rae, founder of Ladies Who Lift, and also doing workouts on YouTube (I love the PopSugar Fitness videos).
I’m not going to lie, I worked really, really hard. It was a STRUGGLE.
Align Pant II 25”: one of my favorite leggings. The align is just the best there is and I really don’t wear much else. I personally love this length.
Flow Y Bra Nulu Light Support: this bra is perfect for yoga and light training, and I love all the colors it comes in.
Always Effortless Jacket: my new favorite jacket. Literally so cute! Perfect for fall because it’s water repellent.
Yet, every day was a commitment to myself. I was ready to workout as soon as I put Sidney down for a nap, and at that point since his naps were so short, sometimes doing a workout in my PJ’s and a nursing bra was the only option.
About 5x a week for 30-45 minutes, I took time for ME. That time boosted my mood, my confidence, my identity. And slowly I felt as through I was transforming and accepting my newfound self. She was a mother, she was strong, she was capable of ‘doing it all’.
Slowly, I got back into working in a way that felt good for me. I started cooking and meal prepping for myself, knowing how much food made just a difference in how I felt and the energy I was able to give my partner, my son and me.. I time-blocked my day when I could to fit in workouts, I started going grocery shopping again and going on runs and bike rides. I switched to doing house chores at night and watching less movies and TV at night because frankly, I don’t really have the time to keep up with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch something every now and then but I had to shift my energy and priorities.
Finally by month 6, I really started to feel like me again. I bought some cute outfits and new bras for my new breastfeeding boobs from lululemon (hadn’t gone shopping in MONTHS!), put on some makeup every now and then, and did a few things that made me happy. A month later, I’m feeling great. Well, as great as a new mom can feel in the middle of a pandemic.
Throughout this post you’ll find some of the outfits and bras I really loved that worked well for me while I continue to breastfeed. They have enough support from high impact or medium impact and are actually comfortable, plus they come in various cups sizes.
Energy Bra Long Line Medium Support: I have this bra in two colors and LOVE it. It’s super supportive and cute because it has fun straps in the back.
Align Pant 28” Diamond Dye: Probably my new favorite leggings! These are also great for pregnant mamas because they stretch, stretch, stretch — making them the most comfortable leggings EVER.
Really, above all, the confidence that motherhood has forced me to find again feels… honest. Like as though I’m myself all over again, but a new me. It challenged me to embrace the raw, realness that I find myself living everyday instead of chasing an ideal version of myself or my body. It’s settled me in ways that I can’t explain. Maybe because I have all that I need. It also gave my body a story, of capability, of beautiful strength and resilience.
I am permanently changed and forever grateful.
As always, thanks for reading! I’d love to hear about your postpartum experience in the comments below!
This post is sponsored by lululemon. All opinions and text are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that help make this site possible.
Love this blog post!
Thank you! 🙂
What a beautiful article, thank you for sharing! I appreciate your honesty and vunerability.
Absolutely. Thank you for reading and for your note!
Thank you for sharing this. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but you’re absolutely right. My confidence is gone. I’m 6 months pp, still have a few lbs more than I thought I would at this point, and just don’t feel quite like myself. Not quite sure what direction to move in, but this gives me the hope that I may find a new me to be confident in.
Absolutely. The pp months take time (and there’s no “right” amount of time!) We definitely have to give ourselves grace. I hope you do find confidence and are able to take some time for yourself – right there with you.
Seems like you bounced back pretty fast if all of that was accomplished in 6-7 months! That’s a ton of hard work… the postpartum workouts are grueling. No one can understand unless they’ve experienced it, you literally do not have the same body after… after two kids, and being a full 10 years out I can say that I FINALLY feel like my pre-kid self – not just in terms of being fit/in shape but in having time FOR MYSELF. The last decade was a marathon every day, running from the morning when I woke up to the minute I passed out at night. I’ve finally now been able to take the time for myself that I’ve wanted. I hope you can keep up your career and fitness! Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
It’s such a challenge! So true that no one can understand unless they go through it. I’m glad you’re finally getting time for yourself – it’s so important. Thanks for your note!
you’re so very lucky to have that much time off to be able to focus on you. Its really important. I had 9 hours off in the first 10 months with my first one.
I definitely consider myself lucky to be able to work from home and to have taken some time off. Every woman’s experience is so different!
You are beautiful inside and out, and thank you for sharing your raw real truth. <3 Syd is so lucky to have you.
Thank you so much, Nicole! Means a lot.
Very well written, thank you. I relate so much to this. My son is a month younger than yours and I enjoy following along your journey!
Thank you, Anette! So happy to hear that.
long time follower here – i only comment to rate recipes (always 5/5 stars, duh). this was such a beautiful post. i have never wanted or will ever be a mother but i think any women can resonate with this as our bodies change with time. your words are so beautiful, as is your journey. thanks for sharing – i have read this post again and again and i will def come back to it. <3
Hi Hope! Thank you so much for your note. I’m glad you’re loving the recipes here as well as the dose of inspiration 🙂 I do hope that women from all different experiences can resonate with this post. Thank you again!
I can totally relate to this. Acceptance has been a challenge for me. Acceptance of this new person, of all the changes happening, of plans changing, or my body, of not feeling like “me”. I can’t get anything done and I am having a difficult time asking for help. I look forward to me time and working out or even meditating… things that normally take 10minutes seem impossible to accomplish… I hope once my baby has more established nap times I’ll be able to get things done for me and to help me reconnect with myself. Loved your post and could really relate to it. Thank you
Absolutely. It’s truly one day at a time – acceptance & asking for help are so important (but often challenging). I’m glad you were able to connect with the post – thinking of you and sending positivity your way!