What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.
Any new mom will be the first to tell you babies are a blessing and a joy. That said, motherhood isn't always an easy transition as there are lots of expected and unexpected changes mothers must go through. In addition to adjusting to unpredictable sleeping and eating schedules, and unsolicited advice from strangers, new moms also have to accept their postpartum bodies.
Postpartum body shame isn't always a topic that is openly discussed, but Revie Jane Schulz, a personal trainer and owner of CrossFit Babes, is creating a dialogue.
She posted a photo on Instagram after giving birth to her daughter, Lexington, and discussed her struggles with coming to terms with her new body.
"It's been 6 weeks since I had my little Lexington and without contest, it has been my biggest blessing in life. Being her mother is and will be my greatest accomplishment. I post on the daily about how much I adore her and how happy I am, but there are other sides to becoming a mother that I think are really important to speak out about. I've found myself several times looking down at my belly. I caught myself feeling sad when clutching the loose skin that was once tight, unmarked and toned. I tried to embrace and remind myself what it was all for but am left feeling so self conscious. I kept telling myself 'you knew it wouldn't be back to normal straight away, give it time,' but it was still a shock and I do get upset about it. And that is perfectly okay. Being in my profession, I used to live in a sports bras and shorts, I wondered 'Will I ever have the confidence to do that again?' I was confused because I felt like I was being ungrateful and vein [sic]. But how is suppressing feelings of sadness and insecurity going to work out for me? Trying to undermine those feelings can cause big problems in the future. When speaking to other Mum friends about it, they agreed that they felt like they were the only ones because its not often talked about. So, yes I have never been happier and yes I have a healthy, beautiful baby but that shouldn't mean I bottle up these feelings. I can honestly say, each week, it does get better. I remember thinking 'Is this forever?' I have seen so many changes already and am starting to feel content again! Will my body ever be the same? No it probably won't be and I've learnt it will be better in other ways. If you have been following me, you would know I am totally in a love fest over my darling girl, but we gotta look after ourselves too. We've all made our sacrifices and each of us are entitled to feel. The best bit of advice. Look. Look at what you created! At any moment, I look at Lexi and happiness washes over me. My body is amazing. So is yours xo ... "
In the news, we often hear about celebrity moms with six-packs soon after giving birth. Schulz's candid post is refreshing as it highlights the fact that accepting your new body is a journey. Even if you struggle with it, it doesn't mean you love your child any less.
Other moms reading Schulz's post are commenting how they understand what she is going through. One commenter wrote, "This is awesome! I had my baby girl three weeks ago and she's amazing but the birth and C-section has me looking at my new body and feeling less than excited about it. Especially since I can't even exercise for three more weeks!"
Another wrote about what a real post this is compared to some of the post-baby coverage in the media, "Best post-baby post I've read! So much more reality that [sic] what is often pushed in our faces. Go girl."
Other women are also speaking out about their post-baby bodies. Moms are taking to social media to post "real" postpartum bodies, while others are expressing their love of their stretch marks. These women and Schulz acknowledge that their bodies are different, but still amazing. And that is the best body positive message to have.
(H/T: Huffington Post)