Dear 3 month postpartum self,
I know you saw the pictures of Scarlett Johansson’s tiny little bod at her movie premiere like two months after giving birth. I know it made you want to curl up in a ball and never put clothes on or go out in public again. It sucks, because being a new mom in our media obsessed world is hard enough; there are a million and one things you can compare to and nit-pick and worry about. And then these celebs (and other real life moms around you) basically walk out of the hospital looking like they never carried a child around in their abdomen for 9 months. And there’s nothing wrong with that. More power to those mamas! But I know you’re trying to pretend to not wish you were them.
Because even though you’re working out 4-5 days a week and counting calories (ugh) and doing your best to avoid Girl Scout Cookies (double ugh) – you still look about 2 months pregnant on a good day. Girl – it’s okay. But all the while you’re googling “Olivia Wilde after baby”, because what’s postpartum life without a little self destruction? Getting dressed in anything other than yoga pants and t-shirts typically causes a full blown meltdown, and the search for roomy shirts never ends.
How you feel about yourself makes me sad most days, if we’re being honest. You should be proud of your body instead of comparing it to everyone else’s. It grew a beautiful, perfect human being, and continues to nurture and sustain her even today. The constant inner monologue about how fat and out of shape you are has to stop. You should be embarrassed by how much time you’ve spent reading about how quickly so-and-so lost the baby weight, and then whacking yourself over the head with it. You have to stop finding your worth in inches and pounds and jean sizes. I know you know it. Because if you can’t learn to love yourself as you are, how the heck are you supposed to teach your daughter to one day? That should make you want to make real changes in your thinking and speaking. The fact that at some point down the road, you’ll be setting an example for a young, moldable 12 year old who society is already trying to tell she’s fat. How, right? That’s what you’re thinking.
Baby steps, I guess. Grace. Remind yourself that getting to wake up to this sweet little face every morning is worth every pound. And it really is. Try to actually listen when your sweet friend reminds me that “it took your body 9 months to get here, give it at least that long to get back.” Do your best to believe your husband when he tells you that you’re beautiful. Keep working hard and eating right and set realistic expectations. Take the hard moments for just that – moments, and do your best not to dwell in them. And remind yourself that you’re never going to be able to do all of these things in the same day, that that’s okay. Keep moving forward.