Earlier this week I wrote about postpartum body image and accepting the changes in our bodies after pregnancy. One mother, who wrote to me in response to the original post, stated that she loves her body more now than she did before she ever got pregnant because of the awe she feels towards her body's capacity for creating and sustaining her children during pregnancy and postpartum through nursing. I thought it was a beautiful viewpoint so I wanted to share it.
As promised, I have some ideas for nurturing your mama-body.
I want to note that acceptance may be a process, particularly because a woman's body continues to change for a time postpartum and postpartum is a time of much giving, little receiving and we often neglect our physical and emotional needs. Also because in our culture, one has to fight the negative self-perceptions which arise from being exposed to media images (which are actually touched up and not even real) and unhealthy standards in our society.
Here is the first idea...
Make the time, on a regular basis-weekly or once a month, to get a massage. Healing touch can be a powerful way to experience your body and promote an emotional reconnection. Allowing someone else to care for your body, especially if you experience that person as nonjudgmental and affirming, can facilitate integration and acceptance of your new body form. Although there is benefit from getting out of the house to go to an appointment, many massage therapists are willing to come to your home, which can save you time from being away from your baby. You can arrange the massage during a time that your partner or someone else could take your baby for a walk so that you will have a peaceful environment. If finances are a barrier, a gentle back rub from your partner or trusted friend could be an alternative.
Even if you are several years postpartum but still struggling with accepting your body, a massage can be a helpful part in working towards acceptance.
We have two massage therapists at Nurture, Sarah Dykes and Tiffany Ueltschi.