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Post-Birth Body Image: Celebrating Self Acceptance & Daring for Self-Love

February 20, 2021

Every woman that becomes pregnant arrives at this special moment in her life with a body that is uniquely her own, as well as with a mind and personal history of her own. Some women come into pregnancy with a body that they love being in, whereas some begin with something a little less than love; perhaps a strong like for her legs, or another part of the body that she is proud to highlight. Some women enter pregnancy with a long-standing shame around aspects of their bodies, discontent with their weight or shape; a little too much of this, and not enough of that. Some come with bodies honored and loved, some with bodies that have experienced abuse and domination by others, or by their own means.
But, no matter how you arrived at your pregnancy, you are immediately part of something tremendous. You are doing magical work, you and your body. Your body is made sacred with every moment of this shared journey between you and your child.

For myself, and for all the women with whom I am lucky enough to share my heart freely, none of us are simply this or that. Our hearts, bodies, and lives are varied and nuanced with goodness and successes, with difficulties and failures. Lessons learned from, lessons still in practice; lessons taken deeper for the next opportunity, for evolution. We are changed by our pregnancies, labors, and births. Our bodies grow to support the baby and the internal environment of the womb, and these changes will be reflected in the external landscapes of our bodies as well.

Many women share the fear of how their bodies will change to accommodate a baby and the many physical changes that pregnancy will bring. The collective of mothers is marked and changed by labor and birth, many of us will be challenged in self-acceptance at some point, whether it is our weight (too little, too much), stretch marks, extra skin, Cesarian scars, or laboring injuries. Our blessed bodies are our witnesses, silent or not, that we have made this journey into motherhood.

There is no shortage of resources on, "How to lose those last 10 pounds" (at any cost!) out there, but there are also more and more post-birth celebration resources too — as women continue to honor their own changes, and honor other women by witnessing their bodies as they are, in their post-birth glory.

Besides the incredibly open and post-pregnancy body positive accounts linked in the pictures above, I think you would truly enjoy the following:

Birthmarkings is a documentary film that features tight close-ups of the torsos of 10 women as they share in their own voices about their own post-birth bodies.

The Shape of a Mother, a website that allows women to post photos of themselves and their stories while giving other women the opportunity to offer support, praise, and the chance to commiserate if that is needed; self-loathing is NOT possible for too long in the good company of these women.

How has your own body changed? Are you at a point of self-acceptance, and dare we even ask, self-love? You are in good company here, please share if you feel moved to.