One of the hardest things for me after having a baby was learning to love my new body. I had gained so much weight with my daughter, had so many stretch marks, and clothes just did not fit the same. That coupled with all the hormones, I found it hard to love myself. After having a baby, everyone always asks “How’s the baby?” So often, we forget to ask “How’s Mama?” I struggled with postpartum depression, but I never talked to anyone about it. I felt ashamed. There was such a negative stigma about PPD that kept me from saying anything, but we need to speak up. No one should ever feel alone and embarrassed to admit that they need help. Help is available! There are so many great resources out there and I’ll list a few below. One in seven moms and one in ten dads suffer from PPD, so you are not alone!
After bringing home baby, it is so important to have a strong support system. As a new mom, my mom was here when I came home from the hospital. And bless her heart, she decided to replace my carpet throughout house the weekend my daughter was born. We had to enlist volunteers to do it and man, it was stressful! Then she tried to get me to rehome my dogs to “ease the stress”. It was just way too much for someone who had just had a baby. The hormones overtook me and I thought “Well, if I can’t bring myself to get rid of my dogs, maybe I don’t deserve to have my daughter”. I know it was the hormones, but I struggled. My mom had the best of intentions and I love her for thinking of us. Her and my husband just didn’t understand what I was going through because they hadn’t just had a baby, so I had to cut them some slack. I cried many tears throughout my first week home with my newborn daughter. My mom was here with my son too and it was so much less stressful. I also had Ms. Debbie to hear me out, encourage me, and just support me. It was a completely different experience throughout the birth and first few weeks of having my son at home. This is why I highly believe in having Ms. Debbie as a doula. (She can also do overnight care which would be AMAZING!)
When you’ve been skinny most of your life and blow up like a balloon during the baby phases, it is hard to love yourself. To love that extra skin. To love those stretch marks. People say “those are your warrior stripes” and it is incredibly true. The things your body has gone through to bring life into this crazy world is a miracle. You have to learn to love yourself all over. I often look at myself and say “how can my husband still find me beautiful?” And I’ve asked him that question. He says to me, “Baby, look at what you’ve given us. There is nothing more beautiful.” Weight can be lost, skin can be tightened, and stretch marks can fade. But the miracle you were just part of will always be part of you. When you look at that child and look back at the pictures, you will feel that flood of emotions that you felt the day they laid your miracle on your chest.
It’s not easy to love your body after a baby. It is a big change. I’m still learning to love my body and my kids are 4 and 2. However, it is important and it is possible. You are strong, Mama! You are beautiful! You have created and birthed a miracle. Never forget the amazing love you’ve just made. Our bodies go through so much to bring a child into this world, and it is so worth it!
Think you or your spouse is suffering from PostPartum Depression? Here are a few resources to help!