Four ways to love your pre and postnatal body
We’ve partnered with Expectful, to provide you with advice about how you can feel positive about yourself and your body. Anna Gannon is a mum and writer, who focuses on wellbeing for mind, body and baby. Anna opens up about the ways she felt about her body during and after pregnancy, and how she began to love that body once again.
It’s difficult for me to admit this, but my biggest concern when I found out I was pregnant, was how my body was going to change. At a young age I battled with my weight, both emotionally and physically. This went on for years and it wasn’t until I was introduced to yoga in my early 20’s that I began loving the parts of me I once hated. Before I became pregnant, I felt as though I was in a good “bodyspace”, but when my body started changing I was flooded with past emotions around my body image.
Much of this fear came from me being scared of how my body would look after I gave birth. I was terrified of gaining weight too much weight, struggling to lose it, getting stretch marks, having excess skin and getting sagging breast.
I fully embraced that after giving birth my life would change and I would change, but I couldn’t bring myself to be ok with my body changing.
I wish I could tell you that after I had my baby these thoughts went away, but they didn’t.
After I gave birth I felt pressure to get back to my pre-baby weight immediately.
However, that all changed when one day as I looked at my body in the mirror, I noticed my daughter looking at me, looking at myself. In that moment I realized how my negative body image could not only affect me, but also my daughter.
This lead to me thinking about how as women we never assume that we will be the same person after we give birth, so why should we assume that our bodies will be the same?
“97% percent of women will have a negative thought about their body today.”
When I came across this statistic I was shocked but also relieved to see that it wasn’t just me. We spend so much time thinking we are the only ones with all these negative thoughts rolling around in our heads when it comes to how we look, only to realize it’s a very common practice for lot of us.
Seeing how prevalent this is for pregnant women and new moms, I wanted to share four things that have helped me to love my pre and postnatal body, in hopes that they will do the same for you.
1. look for the positive parts
For many of us, pregnancy can be a difficult time. However, if you can make it a habit to notice all of the extraordinary things that your body is doing on a regular basis, you’ll find that your anxieties fade into awe. Realize for a moment how remarkable it is that during your pregnancy your body grows a whole new organ - the placenta. This organ passes oxygen and nutrients from your bloodstream to your baby, protects your baby from infection and eliminates your baby’s waste. Or consider how amazing it is that the force inside your uterus when pushing during a contraction is 397 pounds of pressure per square foot. It’s safe to say that your body is showing up for you in ways that deserve an abundance of gratitude.
2. give yourself time to heal
Over the course of your pregnancy your body slowly prepares to deliver a baby. Trust that nature knew what it was doing when it gave your body time to gently open, doing it’s best to prevent it from injury when possible. After you give birth, remember that the same is true for allowing your body to heal from pregnancy. Do your best to let go of expectations of your body needing to be back to where it was pre-baby. For some women, it will happen quickly and for others, it will take time, be gentle in your own unique process.
3. find comfort in your community
Sometimes the best thing you can do when feeling low is to speak to someone who understands what you are going through. Don’t be scared to let others in. Share your thoughts, or how you are feeling with women who can relate and you’ll be amazed by how far a little support and listening can go. You are not alone, I promise.
4. spend time looking inward
One of the ways I was able to overcome by body image issues during this time was through meditating with Expectful. Their guided meditations helped me connect with how amazing pregnancy and new motherhood can be, and opened up space for me to focus on enjoying my changing body rather than resisting it. Taking time out of my day to just simply remind myself of the power of my body and myself truly helped me to be a stronger mother, partner and friend.
It’s my hope that these tips will help to support you through your prenatal and postpartum period and allow you to trust, love and appreciate your body like never before.
Are you pregnant or new to motherhood?
Expectful is a digital platform that makes meditation easy for expectant and new moms. Each one of our guided meditations has been created to support you throughout your pregnancy and motherhood journey.
Our mission is to help you give your baby the best start in life. Go to expectful.com and sign up for our free meditation trial.
Anna Gannon is a mom, the Community Guide and Editorial Lead at Expectful, a Writer and a Yoga & Meditation Guide. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Yoga Today and The Expectful Blog. Anna is passionate about the importance of the mind, body, and sometimes baby connection. Her mission is to improve women's emotional health during their fertility, pregnancy and new motherhood experience by sharing open and honest stories, educating them on the benefits of meditation and movement and most importantly, letting them know they are never alone.