I had sweet baby Joel 5 days ago (when I started writing this). He came right on his due date (February 12th) weighing 7lb 4 oz (my smallest baby) and 20 inches long. He is healthy and sweet and sleepy. He does all of the things newborns do, including keeping his parents up at all hours of the night. He is a sweet addition to our family. We are all adjusting to the changes a newborn brings, and that includes adjusting to my post-pregnancy body. In fact, I think we can all use a little “adjusting” to our body. By adjusting, I mean accepting, loving, and embracing your body right where it’s at–no matter where you are at in life, no matter your current size.
I was inspired to write this post as I was laying down resting today. Suddenly, I realized that my belly was no longer rounded, but flat (at least as I was laying down) and squishy. Obviously, I knew that my baby belly was gone, but it was just this deep realization that the baby is no longer taking up residence in my womb and that my body is slowly going back to its “normal” shape and size. And instead of feeling this pressure that I *have* to reach my pre-pregnancy size, I felt this beautiful acceptance that I just had a baby and that my body is beautiful as it is. I felt my squishy belly and thanked God for the beautiful miracle that just took place. I give the Lord the glory and thanks that I’m not obsessing about getting back to a certain size, but that I can accept my body right where it’s at today.
So what is it like to experience eating 0-5 before, during, and after pregnancy? It’s amazing! As I’ve said before, eating 0-5 works no matter what and that includes all seasons of life, including pregnancy and after baby comes. My body knows exactly what it needs. Pregnancy isn’t an excuse to “eat for two” and breastfeeding is the same. Although, I find that I’m much more hungry while breastfeeding than while pregnant. And that makes sense because the body needs a lot more fuel to produce milk for baby. It’s pretty amazing how it really all comes together. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how TW works with breastfeeding (that will be for a future post); I wanted to expound more on accepting my body after having baby.
During my pregnancy, I had my times of struggling with thoughts of being tempted to go back to a diet after having a baby. But the Lord has clearly shown me how diets do NOT work (95% of diets fail and you gain the weight back plus more over time). I struggled with thoughts about my body. I remembered that I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after having my 2nd child and I felt this pressure that I had better get back to that by then or if not sooner. Wow, such unnecessary pressure I put on myself! (A few days after I started writing this post, I am in the next size down jeans. So I’m not at my pre-pregnancy jeans size, but almost–praise God! And a few weeks after starting this post, I’m able to [mostly] fit into my regular sized jeans). But praise the Lord because my mindset is totally different now. I’m going to love my body and accept it right where it’s at. I’m going to do that by smiling at myself in the mirror and thanking the Lord for my body. I’m going to cherish and respect this body God has blessed me with by being satisfied with His provision and eat between hunger and satisfaction (0-5). I’m going to wear clothes that fit my present body.
One thing I wasn’t able to do much during my pregnancy was exercise. I had all of these different physical things going on and it just wasn’t working to exercise on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to exercising again, but that could be weeks from now. I will rest and respect my body. I’m making an exercise goal, but I promise it’s not anything extreme or crazy. I’m going to exercise in ways that I enjoy and I’m going to wait until my body is ready and I’m well-rested. I’m no longer going to put this crazy pressure on myself to have that “beach body”. I’m not going to make my body a slave. I’m going to give it the love, acceptance, and respect it deserves. I am a child of God first and foremost. I’m not going to conform to this world’s image; I’m all done with that.
These are not empty words. These are all truths the Lord has been working and working on getting into my head (renewing of the mind). I am not a number on a scale or the size of my jeans. I am not my pre-pregnancy body. I am who I am because of Christ. It’s taken almost 3 years to (finally) accept these truths! I’m so thankful that the Lord is so patient!
Wherever you are in your journey toward freedom, stop and ask yourself: what would happen if I accepted my body as it is, today, in this moment? Would I give it more love? Would eating between hunger and satisfaction happen more naturally? Would I try shoving it into clothing that simply doesn’t fit or wear clothes that fit my present body? Would I compare myself with air-brushed images or say ‘thank you’ to the One who made my body?
I know not everyone reading this just had a baby. Maybe it’s been many years since you had a baby. Maybe one day you would like to have children. Truth is, no matter what your body has done or how it’s changed over the years, you can accept it and love it and respect it right where it’s at. You can honor God’s temple NOW. Stop thinking you will only do this when you are that magic number on the scale (get rid of it!) or when you are “skinny”. Thank Him NOW for the amazing miracles that take place each day in your body, whether it’s grown and birthed a baby, whether it’s gone through some miraculous healing, or even the simplicity of taking you from where you are to where you need to go and doing all of the necessary things needed for life (like breathing). You were knit together by the Lord in your mother’s womb. You were marvelously made!
Our body changes as we go through life. It’s just a fact of life. Let’s embrace and love and accept our body today! Honor your hunger and honor your body by eating within those beautiful boundaries God has so lovingly designed. Take care of yourself. When you look in the mirror, thank God for your body; purposely thanking Him for those parts you aren’t so sure about.
P.S. I found this really great article about the pressure the culture and media plays on women about getting their body back after having a baby and how it’s important to accept our new bodies. Let me know what you think!