Becoming Body Confident After Two Kids: Daily Actions

“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body”. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am so proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.” -Kate Winslet, Marie Claire

Only 4% of the 10,500 women surveyed by Dove (in this study) consider themselves to be beautiful. It is far too common for women to have body image issues. How could we not? We are surrounded by media’s representation of the ‘perfect’ body. Photoshopped images flood our social media feed and are in almost every magazine. How do we become body confident in such an environment? I don’t think there’s a short answer. I do think that small daily actions are helping me become body confident after having two kids.

 

My own body image issues began in childhood and intensified during my first pregnancy. I worried about the changes that my body would go through. Will I get stretch marks during pregnancy? How much weight will I gain during my pregnancy? I worried about how much I’d grow in places other than my belly. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I even worried about my belly size.

 

My concerns felt validated with every comment that someone made on my appearance, good or bad. I could write a book on the pregnant body shaming comments that my pregnant friends and I received. For example, I was about 25 weeks pregnant with my first baby when a neighbor said “Do NOT gain more than 19 pounds, or you will NEVER get it off.” Too late, I thought.

 

When did it become acceptable to comment on a pregnant woman’s weight or size? Or, on anyone’s weight or size for that matter? Why are we so obsessed with exactly how much weight we gain while growing little humans? I have an idea. What if we focus on having healthy pregnancies and healthy babies?

 

I am 5’7” tall, my pre-baby weight was 140-143 pounds and I gained 40 pounds with each pregnancy. I was optimistic at how much I lost within days of each birth. After delivering nine pound babies, big placentas and shedding excess fluids, I dropped a decent amount of ‘baby weight’ within a short time.

 

The rest of the weight loss can take a while for me, even while breastfeeding. There are moments when the slow weight loss can feel discouraging, especially when there’s so much societal pressure to ‘snapback.’ After my first was born, it took me about a year to reach my pre-baby weight.

 

To be honest, I don’t know exactly how much I weigh now, since I broke up with the scale about three months ago. My kids were watching when I weighed myself daily, and they sensed the change in my attitude if I was discouraged by what I saw. Although this had been my normal for some time, I decided that I want more for my kids. I ditched the scale. Instead, I chose to focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit, instead of what I weigh.

 

Rather than stress about my weight, I’m learning to embrace my post baby body. I’m working on becoming body confident and taking daily actions to learn how to love my body today. Today, that means finding clothes that make me feel beautiful. Today, this dress makes me feel beautiful and has two of my favorite post baby clothing features. It’s black and flattering… and makes me feel beautiful.

 

Black floral maxi dress

 

I wore it on the fifth day of vacation (below), when my belly felt nice and bloated from a combination of diastasis recti separation, an umbilical hernia (both parting gifts from pregnancies), pasta and s’mores pie…and I felt beautiful. 

 

Black floral maxi dress

 

 

Other mom-friendly bonuses:

  • Easy access for breastfeeding
  • Light fabric that’s perfect for layering as we transition to fall
  • The patterns are great for hiding leaked breast milk, spilled formula and kids’ sticky finger residue
  • Easy to chase toddlers (see below)

 

Black floral maxi dress

 

For size reference, I’m wearing a large in the dress and a six in the leather jacket. The cut is very low and the back is open, so you might need a black lace racerback bralette to go underneath. To layer, I added a black leather jacket (here).

Pin for later

Black floral maxi black leather jacket

I’m relatively new to the body confidence movement, so I’d love to hear what you’re doing to love your body. Do you have any tips? And, what can we do to raise body confident children… that will grow into adults that love their bodies?

 

(The links herein contain affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission if you end up buying something you found here. Thanks for supporting The Blend By Nicole!)

Black Floral Maxi Dress & Black Leather Jacket

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50 comments

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I do not have children, but I do want/need to become body confident! This was a great read! It is so informative but catchy at the same time! ❤️

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Thank you for reading and I’m glad that you enjoyed it 🙂 <3

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you look AMAZING! and i love the message of this! xo

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Thank you so much, Shannon!

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I love this post! This is such a painful subject for so many women! Like you, I want to make sure I raise my girls to be confident and proud of who they are on the inside AND out, but first I need to practice what I preach! For me, this is an everyday struggle. It’s been a little over 10 months since my second c-section and like many women I’m not exactly where I’d like to be. I don’t have super power genes that help me snap right back to my pre-baby weight. It takes work, hard work! It took me months before I could even start to ease back into my pre-pregnancy workout routine. Even then, I needed to stop and slow down many times because my body just wasn’t ready yet. The media doesn’t give mommies credit for plump babies or post c-section pouches! Which is reality! Us mommies have to stick together and collaborate on blogs like this one to share ideas on how we can empower each other! My first attempt at being proud of my post baby body was made public a few months ago. I took a picture in my bikini standing on a boat while vacationing in the Keys and my husband told me I looked awesome and that I should be proud of myself. It made me feel so good because I had been really pushing myself hard for months. So, while I was on the boat having lots of adult beverages I had the guts to make it my FB profile picture! After all, it was a beautiful shot of the blue/green water! Is it where I thought and hoped I’d be (body wise) that many months after baby #2, NOPE! Did I work hard to get there, have two healthy beautiful girls, a supportive husband, and the strength to keep going, YEP! So, I did it and its still my profile pic today!

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Thank you! I agree, it’s so tough, especially after a C-section. All you want to do is get active and start trying to lose the baby weight… but the darn recovery is so hard. I definitely don’t have natural snapback genes either! You should totally be proud of your accomplishments, you have two beautiful healthy babies and you LOOK AMAZING! xo

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love the confidence that’s the spirit the importance is what you feel, your happiness not what others think of you. http://www.tourinstylebyrizelle.com/perfect-boots-transition-fall-winter/

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Thank you lovely 🙂

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That dress is gorgeous and you look beautiful! I can certainly identify with what you’ve been going through… body confidence has frequently been an issue for me, but particularly since becoming a mom. Like you, I ditched the scales and have focused on a style that fits my body (as opposed to the other way round).

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Oh I’m so happy to hear that, screw the scale! It’s just our gravitational pull anyway, right? We are so much more than that! PS – thank you for saying that I look beautiful 🙂 xo

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I adore this point. I love that it really gets you thinking a bit about being a parent or even just a woman in our current culture. I have a little girl that is almost a year and a half old now. I know I want her to have a body confident image of herself, however I have no idea really how to pull that off! I struggle with how to show that you are body confident. Is dressing up being body confident? Or not dressing up at all cause you are so confident in your appearance? The struggle is real for this momma!

survivingthatmomlife.com

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I understand completely… it can feel overwhelming for me to try to raise body confident kids when I’ve struggled with this most of my life. For me, it’s starting with changing my own behavior, even if I don’t believe it at first. Like that saying… fake it ’til you make it. RE: dressing up or not… You know what, if it makes you feel beautiful and confident to dress up, then dress up! If comfy sweats make you feel beautiful, go comfy! I think it’s whatever makes YOU feel good and letting go of negative talk to yourself. Thank you for reading 🙂 hugs!

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I love that dress on you and I think you look stunning! This is a great blog post and I love the body confident message. xo Jana | http://www.janastyleblog.com

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Thank you Jana, hugs! So glad that you enjoyed it 🙂

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This is so refreshing to hear. I’ve been one of those people where I grew into my body early and have been the same ever since. When it changes if I have kids I may or may not freak out lol

Vanessa | http://www.vanessarenae.com

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Hi Vanessa – Thank you for reading 🙂 Me too, I was about the same size (give or take a few lbs) from age 11 or so. I felt that way big time during my first pregnancy. Now I’m learning that there’s so much more…. xo

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That is the greatest quote above! I can’t speak for myself since I do not currently have children but, I totally agree with this message of body love and confidence!

xo Anna Elizabeth
https://www.lifestylebyannaelizabeth.com/

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Kate Winslet really GETS IT… truthfully, the message applies to everyone, kids or not 🙂 thank you for reading 🙂

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I think you look fabulous and I love your message for us on body positivity. I think so many of us look at other women and know how beautiful they are, but then judge ourselves so harshly which we have to love ourselves first. Every woman is different and has a different body and we are all beautiful because of that. After having children it’s hard to feel confident because you have changed and will never be exactly the same again, but thats part of the beauty. We are able to carry and give birth to a human life which makes us the most beautiful creatures God created!! xoxo

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First, thank you so much 🙂

It’s easy to fall into the cycle of judging ourselves, but I agree we should love ourselves first. The mom beauty is totally different and richer than the previous version of ourselves. HUGS! – Nicole

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I absolutely love everything about this post. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves and worry so much what others think. I totally agree that a little body love can go a long way and that confidence is something that everyone around you notices! Thank you for the reminder that I am beautiful no matter what’s on the outside. Every woman needs to read this to be reminded to love themselves!

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Thank you SO MUCH 🙂 It’s definitely what’s on the inside that counts. Hugs!

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You look so beautiful! I am inspired by you! I have had three and still practicing body confidence! We are so blessed with our amazing incredible bodies God designed!

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Thank you so much Debbie 🙂 And congrats on being a Mommy to 3, I’m inspired by YOU!

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I so needed this post! I’m 24 weeks pregnant with our first child and have already gained about 23 pounds. I constantly think about how my body is in such a weird unknown space for the next year. How big am I going to get? How much will I lose immediately with giving birth? What will my body be like after and what will I need to lose before getting pregnant again? I’m trying to focus more on how amazing it is that my body can go through this transformation and that my body will be beautiful no matter how things go. I did find it really helpful to buy some maternity clothes yesterday and completely cleared out my closet of all clothes that won’t fit for the rest of my pregnancy. It was so nice getting dressed this morning in something that wasn’t leggings and that I knew would fit when I put it on.

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I’m so glad that it resonated with you, I completely understand how you’re feeling. I remember my first trip to the maternity store and I left crying. I’ve found that the more I embrace the changes and remember that it’s all temporary, the better I feel. Hang in there mama, you’re doing such a powerful thing by growing a little human 🙂

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Love that dress! I had a similar epiphany after having my two girls. It’s less about the weight and more about appreciating what amazing things our bodies can do!

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Thank you lovely! It sounds like you’re one step ahead 🙂 So happy to find more women who think like this

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Thanks for sharing! You are SO right about the body shaming of pregnant women! I don’t know how to make people understand that even comments they think are positive are still so annoying and invasive. I hate that people consider pregnancy an open invitation to opine on my body. Next time they see me in a Miss America pageant, they can go ahead and talk about how I look. In the meantime, they all need to mind their business! 😛

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Unfortunately, it’s become so common that people think it’s acceptable to comment on a woman’s pregnant body. Agree with you, so very invasive!

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You are so stunning!! I totally agree that as women we are always critiquing how we look vs others. It’s not realistic. I really hope my daughter can grow up with a positive body image and understanding that her worth is so much more than how she looks.

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Thank you lovely! Just that you’re aware is a great model for your daughter 🙂

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Beautiful dress! I’m three kids in and am definitely trying to accept the new normal…for both my daughters AND my son to see. Bless my husband for being complimentary, but it’s still a struggle for me. Great post!

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I agree, it’s a daily struggle. I’ve had to make some serious mind shifts!

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Who can say you are a mom of two you look Fab. And loved reading your post. one must love herself before planning any regime for self

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Thank you so much!

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I think you look absolutely beautiful! I love that dress! I swear my confidence can vary even in a day and definitely in a week! I have two girls and I don’t want to ever let on that I’m not confident in my body but it is hard to try to switch what almost ingrained in us!

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I agree that it’s ingrained in us. Time to change the conversation and what we tell ourselves. And I completely understand allowing such thoughts to fluctuate in a day!

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This is a strong post, body shaming is a serious problem everywhere, thanks to colorful media. But accepting your bodies, finding confidence in what you wear and feel gorgeous is something that people should start taking seriously. I also took a challenge last month to lose some weight, I did managed to lose weight and with that came the stamina which I needed badly to run behind my toddler. That dress looks super cool and you are looking so pretty in this dress.

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Thank you so much! And I’m glad that you were able to do something that made you FEEL better and increase your stamina.

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I never understood why people feel like it’s ok to comment on a women’s body just because she is pregnant! Why does a pregnant woman’s body suddenly belong to everybody? We should be focusing on the amazing miracle that is taking place in our bodies, not every calorie or pound!

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So much truth!!!

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Every woman’s body is beautiful, but pregnancy makes it even more so!

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Agreed 🙂

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Thank you for sharing this, loving your body can be so hard especially after the changes childbirth brings! You look amazing!

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It really is challenging, especially with the message that society sends us. Thank you so much 🙂

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I’m really proud of the confidence you are sharing. I can only hope that someday I too, can have the confidence in my body after having my daughter- but right now, it’s just not there.

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I can understand that, it’s tough and I have to work on it daily. I catch myself in my old thought process constantly and have to practice on retraining my brain.

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Thanks for sharing! I think positive affirmations are extremely important! I love your Brave photo.

I’ve been working on a post similar. I did one about feeling pretty postpartum but I didn’t quite dive into how I feel about my body yet. It’s still kinda fresh for me! I’m working on it. I also have diastasis-recti. Oh the joys of pregnancy!

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Thanks so much! Loving our postpartum bodies can be a process, since we’re exposed to such impossible images of ‘snapbacks’ in the media.

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