Happy Thursday, sweet friends!
Real talk: I’ve had this post in the hopper since October. I was about 7 weeks postpartum and decided a photoshoot was a good life decision.
(Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.)
I remember getting ready for this photoshoot. Overall, I felt pretty good. My pregnancy was so physically hard that by comparison, postpartum wasn’t awful. I was no longer nauseous 24/7 and every joint in my body didn’t scream with each little movement. I could take deep breaths and see my feet.
It felt amazing to take the time to shower, blow dry (and curl!) my hair. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d worn mascara. I was starting to feel like myself again. Slowly, but surely.
I started to get dressed. It wasn’t going to be anything crazy: just a sweatshirt + jeans. I hadn’t shot anything since June, so I was going to ease into it.
I pulled out the jeans I had purchased to fill the postpartum jean role. (Mamas: if you don’t have a few pairs of postpartum jeans, I urge you to order a few. Go up a few sizes. Be kind to your body. And for the love of God, DON’T try on your pre-pregnancy jeans. Just don’t.)
They zipped. I could breathe. And I didn’t feel like canceling the whole shoot. Small wins.
The photoshoot went well. I have been working with Melissa of Iron + Honey since right after Evy was born and feel completely comfortable with her. She worked her magic, as she always does. I wanted to sit because standing seemed too…exposed. Same reason I wanted to wear sunglasses. (That’s actually nothing new. I’ve worn sunglasses in almost every shoot I have. I feel safer in them. For real.)
After the shoot, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, and I had content for the blog. I could get back into my working mama groove and do what I love: share easy outfit ideas with other mamas. Yay.
I got the photos back. I hated them. And NOT because of the photos. Melissa is amazing.
I didn’t like what I looked like. Specifically, I didn’t like my postpartum body.
I’m not going to get into specifics because I think that could be triggering for some people. BUT. I picked these photos apart. And so, they didn’t see the light of day. I stored them away in a file on my computer, never to be seen by anyone but me.
I vowed that I wouldn’t schedule another photoshoot until I was closer to my pre-pregnancy weight.
Earlier this week, as I was planning my blog post for the week, I decided to look at these photos again. I really do love this whole look and this sweatshirt has become a favorite, so I wanted to share it with you.
Dreading every second of it, I opened up the file, fully prepared to spin out and pick myself to pieces again.
I was shocked.
They weren’t that bad. Sure, I could see the extra pounds. BUT. I could also see…me.
I could see a new mama of three, trying to find herself again. I could see a mama who has battled postpartum anxiety and come out the other side. I could see a mom of two little girls who wants them to know that strong is beautiful and perfect is overrated. And I could see a new mom to the sweetest boy in the whole world, who is beyond worth every single extra curve and dimple and roll.
It was then that I realized how hard I’d been on myself, those few months ago. And OF COURSE, right? I was thick in the middle of the 4th trimester – hormones raging, breasts leaking and fully sleep-deprived.
Postpartum body image is a BEAST, y’all. It plays with your mind and screws with your mental health. It can trick you into thinking you should look like someone else, or lose that baby weight faster, or that you’re just not good enough.
If you’re in the middle of that 4th trimester and want nothing more than to feel like yourself again, let me just say that YOU WILL. Without even knowing it, you’re getting closer, day by day.
Buy a few pieces of clothes that will make you feel like you’re old self, but in a bigger size.
Be kind to yourself.
Give yourself the grace you need to make progress, in YOUR time.
Trust that as you lose the baby weight, you’re also growing.
Oh. And don’t schedule a photoshoot.