I was in the shower this morning and I thought, “ I don’t recognize this body anymore.” And then I instantly had guilt – I should be thankful for the way my body provided a home for, birthed and nourished my babies. And then I thought, I am thankful for that AND I also don’t recognize my body anymore.
And then I realized something…it’s okay to feel BOTH.
It’s okay for me to be thankful for the way I was able to have children and it’s okay to not feel comfortable in my own skin.
I think in this era of social media, and all the articles on ALL OF THE THINGS ALL OF THE TIME, guilt is always in our faces. You know what I’m talking about – all the articles or posts on breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sleep training, home birth, hospital birth, raising children, toys for your children, boy image etc.
And then I thought (I had many thoughts this morning) about a little tool my counselor taught me that has helped my anxiety. It is the simple act of acknowledging a feeling, feeling it in all the ways you need to and then letting it go without letting any guilt in.
Going back to my example about my body – today I felt I didn’t recognize my body, I don’t feel comfortable with my stomach after this second pregnancy. Sometimes I compare myself to other moms who “bounced back quickly.” And sometimes I miss my pre-pregnancy body/self.
I also felt thankful that my body is so strong to house two babes, to give birth twice, to nourish them and to return to some type of non-pregnant state.
And then I moved on, without guilt or shame or anything other then how I felt.
The next step is to say thank you. I thanked my body for giving me two beautiful, healthy children and I promised to continue to do my best to take care of my body.
But if you aren’t at this step yet, if you aren’t ready to say thank you because you still have some pain for how you look, how your pregnancy went, how your birth went, how you are feeling postpartum, THAT’S OKAY TOO.
Give yourself the grace to feel what you feel and let it be.
I could use this example for many things – for example, if you co-sleep or don’t, if you breastfeed or use formula, if your birth went the way you hoped or didn’t. Let yourself mourn, let yourself feel sad or disappointed, don’t let guilt sneak in and when you are ready (and only when you are ready, not because someone posted an article about what you ARENT doing) say thank you and move on.
This is a small gift you can give yourself anytime you feel anything. And I hope it helps remind you of the beauty of your humanity, that we aren’t supposed to be perfect and we have to make the right decisions for ourselves. You deserve that.