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Extending Myself Grace

There are a LOT of emotions involved with having a baby. And I am not talking about all the crazy hormones that new moms have raging through their bodies - because that is true too. I am talking about having 40ish weeks of growing a baby inside you and then suddenly they are here and are fully dependent on you to keep them alive. And I mean fully dependent (unless they aren't being breastfed). I am running on only a couple hours of sleep, a lot of time not being able to shower, being unable to do much help beside feed her, change her, maybe eat something between and then repeating. I had thought that she would be sleeping a lot of the time and I would have time to work more (at least in longer stretches of time) and to read and relax. HA! Who am I kidding.

I've talked about this in my previous posts but basically for 32 weeks, my body wasn't mine. It started changing as I gained weight to grow this little person. Although I had a pretty easy pregnancy, it was a challenge to have to dial back exercising, to eventually give up running for the rest of the pregnancy, to accept that I didn't fit into my old clothes, etc. I knew that once I had her, my body would not immediately go back to looking the way it did before I got pregnant. And I had already decided to give myself grace as I started my postpartum journey. Now with feeding her, my body definitely isn't mine. It's all hers.

Even though I am fortunate and already did lose most of the weight I had gained, my stomach especially is not the same looking as it was pre-pregnancy. I can wear my bigger clothes but don't fit into the tighter ones - or look the same as I did. It is easy to beat myself up over it, limit certain foods and want to exercise to get back into that look. But I promised to extend myself grace, and I don't want to hurt myself while I am healing. And when I look at this little girl who is fully dependent on me for her survival, I can't help but being amazed and proud of what my body did. It created a little, perfect life. And it is producing milk to sustain her. It is truly an amazing miracle.

And that miracle is what I am going to keep telling myself when I look in the mirror and am down on how I look. I will be able to exercise hard again - sooner than I think. I will be able to wear my clothes again - or if not - it's not the end of the world. I can always buy new clothes.

In the meantime, I have been practicing my connection breath, walking when I am feeling good and it's not so flipping hot outside (have been having back pain, but otherwise have been feeling great), am starting a few short movements when I find the time, and am scheduled to see a pelvic floor physical therapist next week to make sure everything is stable before I even think to start exercising again.

I've struggled most of my life with self esteem issues on how I look. Now that I have a daughter, I do not want her to go through feeling what I did - and what so many women struggle with. I want her to feel confident and love herself, no matter what she looks like. So I need to start now - extending myself grace. Accepting that, at least for now, this is what my body looks like and it is perfectly OK. And being grateful for her and what my body did and is doing for her.

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