“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.
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.
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)
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).
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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?
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