Body Image & Fear of the Postpartum Body

Body image issues are no stranger to me. I’ve been struggling with them for many many years. Those insecurities do motivate me to eat healthily and workout regularly, but even when I’m at my fittest, I’m still never 100% satisfied with myself. I am, however, satisfied enough to avoid considering extreme measures like extreme calorie deprivation or excessive exercise.

Now contrast my normally super fit self to my current self… extremely deconditioned after 10 weeks of bedrest, and nine months pregnant. Not surprisingly, I’m not exactly feeling great about my body! But after all of the complications this pregnancy, I’m so excited to see my still-growing belly that my body’s sacrifices seem minute. Plus, at least its winter and I get to wear baggy pajamas and lounge clothes so I don’t have to see how things are looking! But I know postpartum will be different.

38 weeks pregnant belly picture

I’m 100% certain that seeing my postpartum body will be upsetting, despite knowing that it just accomplished a tremendous task. To combat my anxiety about this, I’ve been doing what I do best… plan. Planning always makes me feel better. I’ve been putting together postpartum tips and guidelines to hopefully help myself get back into decent shape sooner rather than later. The first two weeks postpartum will be “figure out new life” weeks, but after that I’ll attempt healthier diet choices (I really need to up my veggie intake!) and get back into exercising (already ok’d by my OB unless something crazy happens). I’ll be starting out slowly with yoga and barre classes. A nearby studio has “bring your own baby” classes, which I’m so excited about! Getting my bum to the studio will be a challenge, so I’ve let myself splurge on a few workout clothes that I can wear (and feel comfortable in) while I work towards getting back into pre-pregnancy shape. My go-to sports bra and leggings will be temporarily replaced by a much more comfortable, stretchy and padded (in case of leaking… yuck) sports bra and some loose but flattering capri pants. I’m hoping my regular tighter tank tops will fit so I can just layer a loose tank or tee over until I feel a bit more confident in my body.

I’ve looked at some other women’s postpartum fitness journeys and have appreciated their openness and honestly. I’m hoping I’ll have the courage to do weekly or biweekly postpartum fitness updates as well. I know a postpartum body is nothing we should feel ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.