Sunday, August 30, 2015

Postpartum Self Esteem Hits (And How To Fix It)

I have never been the 'hot girl', and to be honest most of my life I couldn't have cared less. I was confident. I wore a bikini even though I was a size 14, I knew I was smart, driven, and many days I felt like a Phenomenal Woman.

Then I had a baby.

Now I'm super self conscious and unhappy with my looks. I've been trying to figure out what happened, why I've changed, and I think I've narrowed it down to these things...

I Haven't Lost All The Baby Weight
When you are pregnant so much focus gets placed on your looks. Of course most people are very careful to tell you how beautiful you are, but still - if you aren't used to your appearance being a main topic of discussion it is quite alarming. It's no surprise this becomes even more of an issue after you have the baby. I can't even count how many discussions I've had about my weight, and how much focus gets put on being back to where you were (or better than) before you got pregnant.

For the record, I added 40 pounds during my pregnancy, lost 35 in the first few months postpartum, and gained 5 recently.

Not Dressing Well
I always tried to look good when going to work or for evenings out with friends. I don't work or go out much anymore. The rare times I do, I don't have the same amount of leisure time to spend coiffing and primping. The result is my reflection looking kind of bla on a regular basis. I'm certainly not a total frump, but I just don't make the effort like I used to.

Compared To Other Moms
I feel like an adequate mom, and I'm not insecure about my ability to be a parent. But I do compare myself to other moms a lot. Online, at the mall, in my mommy and baby classes... there is always a mom doing absolutely everything better than me. No matter what it is there is always someone better.

Postpartum Body Changes
A lot of things change after a baby and many of those things are hard to come to terms with. Lucky me, I got the gift of postpartum acne. So while I can hide the stretch marks on my tummy, I cant cover up a face full of zits.

Negative Self Talk
I heard people mention negative inner dialogue before, and while I of course didn't always feel awesome, I never really thought horrible things about my body or image. Now I find myself thinking degrading things about myself numerous times a day. It almost seems like the more bad things I say to myself the worse I feel, and the more negative thoughts appear. It's a vicious cycle.

SO.... I don't have a grand life changing plan or an expert's advice, but here's what I am going to do about it:

Be Healthier
Screw focusing on the baby weight. I want to be healthy, meaning I want to make healthier decisions than I did yesterday. Any time I am presented with an option I want to choose the better one. I know this will do a tremendous amount for my confidence, and as a bonus my son gets a healthier mom.

Positive Playlist
I love singing along to some good tunes, so I figure if I make an effort to listen to positive self image music I will be changing my inner dialogue without even realizing it.

Get Professional Help
... With my skin I mean. I just learned that it can take up to a year for the pregnancy hormones to leave your body, and even longer if you breastfed, so I still have a ways to go before my levels normalize. But if after that time I still am having skin issues I am going to see a dermatologist.

Get Dressed Up Once A Week
It sounds like a meager goal but I figure if I get dressed up, and spend a good amount of time doing my hair and makeup once a week - even if I have no reason to, I will feel a bit better about myself.

If you are feeling some of the same things as me lets try and change together!
You can do it, and P.S, I think you are fucking sexy.

- Genevieve

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