Giving birth and becoming a mom comes with a variety of changes. (Duh, right?) And one of the changes that can be hardest for new moms to accept is those that happens to their body. The feelings association with said changes are only made worse by the ridiculous myths about your postpartum body that should otherwise be ignored. Because, at the end of the day, they only contribute to many struggles that new moms experience.
During my first pregnancy, I noticed a lot of changes as the trimesters progressed. They made me uncomfortable, especially after my baby was born, and actively I sought ways to stop the changes or reverse them all together. Looking back on it now, I realize I was associating change with negativity and investing my effort into how others would view me.
Now, I'm totally happy and comfortable with my #mombod. The truth is that change isn't bad, it's just different. It gave me an opportunity to explore and accept myself despite my new breast size or the stretch marks on my thighs. It also gave me a crystal clear view of the myths that surround postpartum bodies, and here are a few that you should definitely ignore.
Myth #1: Losing Baby Weight Means You'll Get Your Pre-Pregnancy Body Back
Just because you've lost the pregnancy weight doesn't mean you forgo all of the pregnancy changes your body went through. According to What To Expect, your body’s shape is going to be somewhat different than it was before birth, no matter what the number on the scale says. Some moms' bodies may eventually feel similar to their pre-pregnancy physique, but for a lot of moms, the body can feel different in ways you didn't expect and that's OK. There's nothing wrong with your figure changing and learning to accept your postpartum body is the main step toward realizing that.
Myth #2: You Should Fit Back Into Your Old Clothes
At no point after giving birth is it required you fit back into your clothes. Even if you lose the baby weight, your figure may be different, and your old clothes may not be comfortable anymore. After my first child, I could technically fit into a lot of my clothes from college and even earlier. But it just wasn't the same. When I finally came to the conclusion it's more important I focus on clothes I think are flattering and comfortable than worry about my old wardrobe, I felt much better about myself.
Myth #3: You Need Your Body "Back"
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing an advertisement that prompts me to "get my body back." I don't need anything back, and that implication is totally unproductive. It's not up to anyone else to be happy with your body except you, and loving your postpartum body is much better than chasing after pre-baby body standards you don't need.
Myth #4: Peeing When You Sneeze Is Your New Normal
You did just push a baby out of your vagina, so if you find yourself peeing a little when you laugh, sneeze, cough, stand up, or whatever, that's OK. The idea that incontinence is permanent, however, isn't true. After you've gotten past the initial four to six week healing period, there are plenty of vaginal strengthening exercises you can do (just as you would with any other muscle).
Myth #5: Your Vagina's Elasticity Is Ruined
According to Psychology Today, when the vagina stretches during childbirth, it fully re-tightens within six months. Although several births and general aging sometimes means your vagina doesn't completely return to its pre-baby norm, the looseness isn't noticeable and can even be remedied with Kegel exercises.
Myth #6: Your Body Can Be Exactly Like It Was Before Pregnancy
During my first pregnancy, I was so hung up on the stretch marks. People would try to comfort me by saying they'll go away or that there's this trick or that tip to stop your body from changing. But the truth is you can't stop it, and change isn't a negative thing either. Years later, my stretch marks are barely even visible, but they're still there. I did change and so will you. Looking back, it's humorous to me how worried I was about something so insignificant. It's OK to admit that your body is going to be different in some way postpartum, and the perception that "different" means "bad" or "not as good as before" is simply not true.