Self Esteem for Mums (and everyone else!) Part 1: Appreciate your Body

Now that I have an 11 week old baby, I have quickly realised how having a baby can have an impact on a mum’s self confidence. I will give you some top tips on increasing your self esteem in the next three blog posts, which I have broken down into three themes:

Mums overall

 

 

                    1. Appreciate your BODY
                    2. Nurture your RELATIONSHIPS
                    3. Love your SELF

 

These tips are particularly written with mums in mind (and even more so for new mums as I am most tuned in with those feelings right now!), but they also apply to anyone looking to boost their self esteem.

This first post is all about appreciating your body. Here are my five top tips for feeling more confident about your new and amazing body.

  1. Expand your wardrobe

wardrobe

The first huge mistake I made as a new mum trying to feel good about herself was to try my pre-pregnancy jeans on at around 3-4 weeks postpartum. What was I thinking?! They barely went up past my thighs and don’t get me started on the zip…no amount of breathing in was going to help! I felt really miserable afterwards as I pulled back on my maternity jeans which also didn’t fit properly for the opposite reason.

Second mistake incoming: I thought fitting back into my old jeans would be a great goal to aim towards. Surely after a few weeks of exercise I would squeeze back in and wouldn’t have to spend money on new jeans that I would only wear for a month or two. In the meantime I would just live in my maternity leggings. I soon realised my error…mums do not have time in the first few months to undertake a huge body transformation!

Finally, I made the right decision – treating myself to some new clothes that actually fit. The amount of money you’ll be saving through being at home more and missing out on nights out etc. absolutely justify you spending some of your cash on a small new wardrobe. I felt so much better once I had bought a new pair of jeans. Don’t worry about the size you buy, it’s totally normal to need a size bigger than before, as long as they fit well that’s what will look and feel good.

I would still vouch for this tip if you’ve been a mum for longer or for anyone – you may have a fitness goal in mind and think you should hold onto your old outfits just in case you can fit back into them one day. Yes, hold onto them if you like, but in the meantime, treat yourself to some new clothes that fit – you’ll feel much better about yourself as you work towards your goal.

2. Pamper your body

Your body has been through one hell of a journey in pregnancy and birth, and beyond! Mums have to carry carseats, push heavy prams and rock growing babies to sleep. Even if you don’t love your body, it deserves to be rewarded with some pampering. As a mum, you don’t have much time for it though! But you can take small actions – I make an effort to quickly moisturise after showering. Buy yourself a really nice moisturiser so it feels extra special. Other ideas: paint your nails, have a bath, use a face mask, blow dry your hair, put on make up.pamper

If you have more time, why not book yourself a massage? It will feel so darn good after what your body has been through (I can’t wait to make time for this once the corona virus lockdown eases!). If you have a willing and able partner, why not ask them to give you one in the meantime? It could help the two of you rebuild the physical part of your relationship as well, which is a theme I’ll address in my next post.

3. Exercise – gently at first!

I’m afraid exercise was always going to come up in this post! As much as it would be lovely to appreciate our body just with new clothes and pampering, you are going to have to work a little to feel really good about your body. 65d4e081-e6f8-432f-827a-3b829efe7198

For new mums like me, getting back into exercise is tough. Tiredness and soreness dominate your body for a few weeks after birth. You can’t expect yourself to leap back into running, HIIT workouts or even your normal yoga practice. Give your body time to recover – the advice is to wait until 6 weeks postpartum or until your doctor clears you to exercise. My advice is to enjoy this time – I quite liked having no pressure to do any moderate/intense exercise, and to instead rest my body.

Exercise honestly can make you feel so so good about your body and your whole self. As a mum, it also makes you into an amazing role model for your children as they pick up on healthy habits. For mums who have been cleared to exercise, and for anyone who is fairly new/returning to exercise, my main advice is to build up slowly. Walking is an amazing form of exercise, and one that is accessible to almost everyone. I am lucky that I have a dog who acts as a personal trainer when it comes to walking (see photo above!). Even a short walk around the block is a great start and as a new mum, it will make you feel better mentally too (take my word for it, on the days I walk I feel so much better). Bonus points for pushing the pram – it’s bloody hard work!!

4. Eat healthy but treat yourself

I like to think I practise what I preach when it comes to the first three points…but this one I need to work on! Perhaps because we are in the middle of the corona virus lockdown as well, I have been heading all too frequently to the biscuit tin for a quick pick-me-up when I am tired/stressed out by life with a young baby.strawbs

Regular unhealthy eating does your self esteem no good, as you can end up feeling lethargic, guilty and putting on weight. For mums who are already struggling with a changed body and extra weight, eating unhealthily can make it even harder to feel good about yourself. I know I feel pretty rubbish after eating half the biscuit tin, although in the moment it feels good!

My top tip here is to not go on a diet and don’t start denying yourself every unhealthy treat out there – instead, focus on building healthy habits e.g. eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, making sure there is something healthy on your plate e.g. add some fruit to your bowl of cereal, have half the pizza with a big salad instead of the whole pizza and no salad. For me, it’s about eating 1 or 2 biscuits instead of 5 or 6!

5. Appreciate what your body has done

Finally, I know it might sound a bit corny but if you’re feeling low about how your body looks, you need to focus your attention on what your body has done. Mums: your body created and grew an actual human being, and it was strong enough to give birth. That is bloody amazing!!!

This next tip is for everyone. When you look in the mirror, rather than focusing immediately on a particular area of your body that you dislike e.g. somewhere with stretch marks, try to look at yourself as a whole person instead – remember a single part of your body does not define you, it’s not why others love you and it’s not who you are. Have you ever loved or formed a close friendship with someone because of the way parts of their bodies looked? More likely it’s because of how they are as a whole person, imperfections and all.

Mums – remember how strong your body has been and the important job it has done, giving you your beautiful child. Rather than putting it down, appreciate it and think about all the practices you’re going to put in place (perhaps some from this post!) to make it stronger and healthier than ever before.

I will leave you with a quote that I think sums up what I want to get across, from Chrissy King:

“If we make self-love or body acceptance conditional, the truth is, we will never be happy with ourselves. The reality is that our bodies are constantly changing, and they will never remain exactly the same. If we base our self-worth on something as ever-changing as our bodies, we will forever be on the emotional roller coaster of body obsession and shame.”

The next part of this mini series will be all about nurturing relationships to increase your self esteem, please share this with any mums out there or anyone who needs some extra doses of self love at the moment xxx

One thought on “Self Esteem for Mums (and everyone else!) Part 1: Appreciate your Body

  1. opegrace says:

    This is so true. Especially the part of pampering yourself. Been a mum is beautiful but can also be overwhelming, so a little rest here and there and taking good care of yourself as well is important.

    Liked by 1 person

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