How this year, moms are talking more about #selfcare, #selflove and positive body image – and why it’s so long overdue.
It’s a new decade – and thank goodness for that!
For ages, it has seemed as though women, especially new moms, would refer to their postpartum bodies with negativity, making comments like:
- “Still carrying that baby weight”
- “I need to get rid of these stretch marks”
- “Look at me before kids, I had such a nice body”
- “I can’t wait to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans”
You get the idea.
These feelings are probably all too familiar; at one time or another, we’ve spoken, heard or thought them (either internally or out loud). The truth is, it’s not uncommon for women to put enormous pressure on ourselves to bounce back to our pre-pregnancy size, seeing that as an important standard of beauty. Somehow, we were programmed to believe that our bodies are supposed to only look one way and, although we experience life changes, it isn’t “accepted” that our bodies change as well.
It’s ridiculous, if you think about it.
Why Old Views on Female Bodies Need To Change
Our bodies grow and feed our children – the very beings we love more than anything in this world. Our bodies create and bring life into the world, and then we turn around and shame those bodies for stretching out and changing.
The bottom line is that our bodies, ladies, are amazing! They should be celebrated. This shift in societal thinking is, thankfully, happening now.
Media is protesting the norms and beginning to portray real mom bodies. Postpartum bodies and breastfeeding, in all their glory, are being shared more and more by influencers who after tired of editing out cellulite and stretchmarks.
Body acceptance is trending. And we are here for it all!
How Body Acceptance is An Integral Part of Self Care and Self Love
There is a lot of attention being given to the ideas of loving yourself and taking care of yourself… and this includes loving every part of you.
We are being encouraged to take time to do things that make us feel good inside and out; taking care of our health (mental and physical); and not succumbing to traditional standards of beauty, but celebrating who we are. This shift has been transformational for women’s mental health.
So, what role does body acceptance play in all of this?
Once we accept our bodies – perceived flaws and all – it changes our mindset, our motivation, and our will. Body acceptance doesn’t mean you give up on your health goals. It means you accept your body as a part of you and love yourself at each phase in your journey.
That love handle, that stretch mark, that scar or that wrinkle – they’re all a part of you. It may not be there forever, but it’s there now and is a part of you. Accepting that you are still worthy of loving yourself – not in spite of these things, but because of them – is the key.
Loving yourself shows others how to love you; shows your children how to love themselves; and motivates yourself to know that you are in control of your own happiness and worth.
How Can I Practice Self Love?
You can start today, by simply looking in the mirror and smiling – really smiling – and making the choice to love what you see.
Here are some tips to consider on your journey towards loving yourself, and implementing self-care:
- Follow social media accounts that showcase female body empowerment (for example, @thebirdspapaya) and to see other women proudly showing their cellulite (there are lots!)
- Identify those things that bother you, and write them down. Then think, “Are these negatives, or could I view them in a (more) positive way?”. For example, if you’d like to lose weight, do it to be healthier, and seek advice from a nutritionist or trainer on a healthy routine that will work for you before committing to something that won’t work. It’s important to remember that at each stage of weight loss you still need to love and nurture yourself vs. focusing just on the numbers, because your heart and brain will not change in size.
- Write a letter to your body, apologizing for all the mean things you may have said to it and thanking it for sustaining you, for giving your kid(s) life, and more.
- When you look in the mirror, be conscious of your thoughts. If you think something negative, try to say something positive to counteract it. You may feel silly talking to yourself at first, but by making it a habit to always say one positive thing, you’ll start to catch the negative thoughts and dismiss them. The positive voice will win out!
- If negative thoughts happen often, consider a life coach. There are many that will provide a free consultation, to see if they’re a good fit.
- Try essential oils for happiness and mood support and diffuse them daily, combined with self-affirmations.
Taking the time to explore how to truly accept our bodies – to love ourselves in all circumstances – is something that is long overdue.
As this monumental shift is happening, it’s important that we, as moms and as women, encourage each other throughout this journey.
We will change, our bodies will change, but that is just fine because we’re all beautiful. Let’s make a conscious effort to live with a sense of reverence and respect for all our bodies do.
Here’s to making 2020 a year full of self-love, care, and acceptance. Your body (and mind) will thank you.
Mother of toddlers, foodie at heart, city-loving, blogger, writer, marketing specialist, and overall busy-bee, that is Christina Chandra in a nutshell. Christina lives in Vancouver where she is a freelance writer & marketing specialist, and also blogs at ChristinaChandra.com. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local eateries, cafes and local hot spots.