Dear Postpartum Mama Who Feels Like a Stranger in Her Body
Dear Postpartum Mama,
Things have changed. That much is clear.
Where you once felt kicks from the inside-out is a reminder of your baby’s first home.
To grow your baby meant to change your body, and you may not remember who you are anymore.
Bringing a precious child into your arms, growing your family - it has been worth every ache and pain.
But did you lose yourself in the process?
You are in the same body, yes - but does it feel less like the body you used to know?
Do you feel like you won’t find a sense of identity as a mother until you have lost that baby weight?
Are you feeling frustrated with your postpartum wardrobe options and embarrassed that nothing seems to fit?
Are you unable to enjoy the things that are most important to you in life because of the way you feel about your body?
Perhaps you’ve never felt more alone and uncomfortable in the one placed you’ve always lived. Maybe you feel more like you’re living in a stranger’s house than within the familiar comforts of what you once called home.
Maybe you feel trapped, stuck in what feels like a leftover shell of a journey you’ve only begun to navigate.
In unknown territory, we search for the familiar to make ourselves comfortable.
Mama - the changes we are experiencing in this transition go far beyond the physical. Our motherhood body transformations closely parallel our new shifting identity and the rediscovery of who we are now that we have become a mother.
Losing our sense of selves as new mothers often amplifies the discomfort we feel in our own skin. It’s easier to fixate on the outwardly - on our appearance, on the changing shape of our bodies, what we can visibly see, what we think we can control; all while our internal gauges recalibrate to a new melody orchestrated by motherhood.
You may feel discontented in your body or preoccupied with how it needs to change.
You may desire a sense of normalcy in your own body to anchor you through the changing winds that is new motherhood.
Acclimating to changed surroundings implores a return to normality, which many try to achieve by resisting a body that has been remade by motherhood.
In a world enveloped by the harsh conditions of diet culture and blistered by a message that dictates, “You are not enough”, is a mother born.
When you birthed your baby, you too are born again - given a new body as a badge of honor for the transformational journey that grew life and shared that with the world.
We need not run away from the unknown but to take it all in; to embrace it as a friend, to learn from it as a teacher.
Accepting the new body that comes with motherhood doesn’t mean that you are letting yourself go; it doesn’t translate into complacency or communicate with the world that you have somehow given up.
It means giving yourself permission to rediscover who you are.
It means creating space for your body and soul to harmoniously exist.
It means accepting change as a necessary passage to who you were always meant to be.
You may be wading into unknown waters, but you have not forgotten how to swim.
The guide that will always lead you home is innately within you.
So stop waging war against yourself; you were never meant to fight this battle.
Stay a little while longer; linger here in this space between who you were and where motherhood has brought you. Hold on to the truth that your body deserves kindness and respect, because you are worthy.
Day by day, you will find the familiar again. You will rediscover who you are now and what your body has brought you through. You will find glimmers of your past that have assimilated with who you are now.
Your body is a home to your soul, not a product to be measured, weighed and scrutinized.
In the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar, grow your roots deep into the truth that always remains: you are unequivocally more than your beautiful and ever-changing body.