Real talk: it sucks to feel like a stranger in your own skin. It sucks to not recognize your own body, especially when that new form is so far from what you've been taught your whole life is "beautiful." For many new moms, myself included, overcoming negative messages about your postpartum body is one of the hardest parts of adjusting to motherhood, even if we didn't necessarily struggle with body image before or during pregnancy. One of the worst, most insidious things about the oppressive beauty standards we've all grown up with is the way we internalize those messages. As a result of toxic conditioning, we end up saying terrible things to ourselvesabout our postpartum bodies;things we'd probably never tolerate someone else saying to us or someone else we cared about.
If you're wondering if this is a problem for you, try a little thought exercise. The next time you're looking at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself how you'd respond if someone walked up to your best friend in a bar and said to them what you're saying to yourself. If, in that hypothetical context, your self-talk all of a sudden sounds like fightin' words, please go easy on yourself. You deserve better than to go through life with a little voice in your head that berates you all day, every day.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: struggling with postpartum body image doesn't make you a bad person, a bad feminist, or a bad mom. It's a normal thing, unfortunately, in a society that tells women that how beautiful we are is the most important thing about us, and that there's only a few specific ways to be considered beautiful. If you're looking for a place to start on your path to self-acceptance, quieting the following borderline abusive messages you're sending yourself could be a great place to start.