Loving My New Mommy Body

1 week before I was due to give birth to little Azalee, after reading the blog of my amazing client and friend Jamie Wagner of The Blissful Kitchen, I committed to a daily body love practice for my New Mommy Body. This is what I commented on her blog …..

Thank you for the reminder to send love to my body because two days ago, in the last week before my due date of my first baby girl, I got my first and only signs of stretch marks. Since I had thought I had escaped these body scares of pregnancy, I felt disappointed to see them suddenly appear this late in the game…..pretty big red streaks up my lower belly. And for a moment I did in fact hate my body…hated it for these new scars as well as the huge amount of pain it has been in for the last two years. So right now I will send love…..to the body that has grown my first little girl….a magic miracle of life that will profoundly change my whole experience of living. I send love to the scars and even the painful back and pelvis that reminds me of the effort my body went through to bring this little girl to life. I love you body. And set the intention to show you love even in the post baby stage of flab and weirdness and newness. My body and I are about to be on another exploration together. A post baby love affair and getting to know each other again :)

In the last week of my pregnancy, my “Loving My New Mommy Body” practice looked like being more present and loving to my belly and body as I lotioned it after the shower…..even caressing my stretch marks and noticing their beauty. I took time to look at my pregnant belly, to feel it, to thank it….knowing that any day now it would no longer be pregnant and knowing how profoundly important this belly was in bringing my baby into the world.

When my body ached and I noticed my body judgement or hatred rising up, I pictured my body as a child hurting and my heart softened and I naturally found myself taking actions to soothe and show love.

So now post-baby…..

My body seemed very foreign to me….for one thing I hadn’t really been able to see my lower body for the last month of pregnancy because my belly was too big :).

Secondly, my belly literally looked fake. I told Ian it felt like I had one of those fake fat suits on my belly since my belly button was still sticking out and the excess belly flab looked plastic. I completely didn’t identify with the belly I saw that first week after birth. But as the uterus returned to normal, this fake belly became more real looking and somewhat recognizable as my own….now with purple stretch marks that stretched from my pubic area up and around my belly button and of course slightly more curvy then I remember.

Looking in the mirror I waited for the familiar judgement of this round pouch that I now had at my waist, or the disappointment in the stretch marks and the fear of ever wearing a bathing suit again, but it never came. I am waiting for the “shoulds”…I should eat less and start doing belly exercises ASAP, but that has not come up either and I eat whatever I feel my body needs.

After giving birth, my body now seems like a vessel with a clear purpose of supporting new life and oh how strong and wise this vessel is! My body, the fat and the skin, is simply made of cells doing exactly what they are supposed to do. All I want to do is listen and honor my body for she got me through birth…a process my brain never could done through willpower, control, or analysis. My body did it through the innate wisdom that I have tried to ignore for years.

After being completely naked and exposed in labor, the modesty or embarrassment about body imperfection was gone. The meaning of extra fat on my body was no longer “lack of control/willpower”, “ugly”, “imperfect”, or “hopelessness”. That little layer of fat meant food for my baby and a reminder that I am a beautiful feminine mother with curves and imperfections that are all perfect and beautiful.

The focus on my newborn baby made worrying about the roll on my tummy seem completely ridiculous. And the love and attraction my husband has shown to my new mommy body makes it seem even more ridiculous.

>>> Why would I torture myself about fitting into my new jeans or caring what others think about me?

>>> Why would I make that few extra cells around my middle mean that I am ugly, unlovable, unsuccessful, or out of control?

My old obsessions with food and body just don’t even make sense anymore….a perspective I never could have imagined a few years ago amidst the constant full blown war I waged with my body and food.

It feels peaceful …..and within this peace I can feel that getting back to my strong pre-baby body will happen naturally with ease when it is supposed to…I will start moving my body when it feels ready in ways that feel good for it…..without suffering and self hatred along the way.

Letting go….surrendering….CHOOSING LOVE.

I really do love my body! I never thought I would say that!

I will continue to share my post baby body story here on this blog because I am curious what will come up for me. I used to be an exercise/diet addict as a result of a deep body and food obsession that caused deep suffering for the first 28 years of my life. I spent years healing my relationship with body, food, self. I even created a program called the 50 Day Food Revolution to take people through the healing process that brought me complete freedom and peace from food and a truly unbelievable acceptance of my body that I never knew was possible!

I love coaching people around this topic because it goes so deep and the suffering it causes can really hold us back so much from living our Revolutionary Life (contact me if you are at war with your body and/or food because I would love to support you through a FREE Food Freedom phone coaching session!)

So I am curious what comes up for me in this post-baby body phase….can I stay in peace and freedom from body hatred and food obsession during a time when many moms start back up with their crazy diets and freak out fits when nothing in their closets fit?

Something I am staying present with and will share with you as things come up….

Share in the comments below….what’s your story with body love or body hatred? What will be your practice to CHOOSE LOVE in the realm of your relationship with your own body?

3 Responses to Loving My New Mommy Body

  1. jamie March 27, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Wow. Tessa. This is amazing and SO inspiring for me. I literally am so amazed and proud of your feelings toward your body. Here I am not pregnant, nor have I just had my first child and yet I find myself nearly daily dreading the simple task of putting on ‘real’ clothes. I dread this task because it instantly causes me to start down the path of self-deprecation wondering who’s body this is anyway. And yet, slowly (VERY SLOWLY) over the past three weeks every day I am able to fit in more body loving thoughts and less incessant inner chatter about my body never being good enough and how I need to control it with food and exercise. Yes slowly I am seeing the shift and reading your post reminds me that freedom from the vicious cycle is possible – THANK YOU!!!! Can’t wait to meet your sweet little girl you amazing Mama you xxoo

    • Ian Chittle March 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

      Hi Jamie, Ive worked with a lot of people as a counselor and a common theme amongst people, myself included, is inner self-deprecating chatter. It’s awesome you are aware of it and consciously choosing to replace it with some loving thoughts. What especially stands out to me as an awesome question for meditation is, “who’s body is this anyway?” It makes me think of a simple Buddhist practice of asking yourself “who am I?” I think pondering these questions has the potential to snap us out of our self-absorbed focus and deprecation, giving us the perspective that we are more than just our bodies, despite the importance our culture places on body. Of course, your work of helping others with The Blissful Kitchen is another great antidote for revolting against our tendency for self-absorption. I get caught in my selfish needs and focus every day, and I am too learning to shift this focus, especially to care for Azalee.

  2. Katie March 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Tessa thank you SO MUCH for all the inspiration this post has brought! You and I have talked quite a bit about the war so many of us wage against our bodies and reading about this process makes my heart so full! I can’t wait to hear more about your journey and the way things unfold in this new relationship with your body!

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