Body Image – Embracing your postpartum body – Mommy Blogger

Hi! I’m Amanda Brindley. I have a 23 month old little girl named Molly (she’s not 2 yet!|) I’m also the owner of Fitbump – a fitness studio specializing in Prenatal & Postnatal fitness. I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and went to the U of S. I lived in the mountains for awhile (miss them) , spent 4 years living in Edinburgh, Scotland (absolutely amazing) where I met my husband. We moved back to Saskatoon, got pregnant, had Molly and opened Fitbump in the space of two years so it’s been a whirlwind to say the least.Being a mom and running a business is pretty challenging so I like to keep it real, with a bit of humour along the way. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for motherhood, but I feel like the more honest we are about mom life the less of a shock it can be to new moms.I am passionate about making motherhood less lonely, and creating a village where we can connect with each other, whether it be through social media or in person. I’m excited about this blogging opportunity and the opportunity to reach some more amazing moms!  Check out Fitbump’s Facebook page to see what I’m all about.

We need to change the conversation about postpartum bodies. We need to change the conversation about bodies period. But let’s start with postpartum. New moms are constantly targeted with a barrage of “get your body back” programs, weight loss detoxes, wraps; the list is endless. We are supposed to erase any evidence we even had a baby! Pregnancy and labour are extremely hard on the body; postpartum recovery whether it be VBAC or C-section is super difficult. Not to mention your mental health in the early postpartum period.  I teach Mom & Baby fitness classes for a living so I’m surrounded by new moms daily and for so many of them the focus is their body, and weight gain. New moms should NOT be worrying about “baby weight” or counting calories. This is the time to focus on sleeping when you can, eating nutritious food, and bonding with your baby. Gentle walks are great for exercise and fresh air can really help with mental health too.  Why do new moms feel the need to get back into exercise so quickly??

Because that’s the society we live in. Everyone is on a diet, the 21-day fix, “eat clean” etc. Diet and weight loss fads are a billion-dollar industry with very little success rate. Diets are NOT sustainable. They are restrictive and lead to bingeing. We need to stop with the diet culture and putting so much emphasis on appearance, when really at the end of the day it is what is inside that counts. Your kids will love you no matter your size, shape, or colour. It is called unconditional love, and we need to figure out how to love ourselves the same way. It is super hard in a world where we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic body images. Generally marketing and advertising companies use thin, Caucasian women. And we hold up this ideal that is what we should look like… when it is unattainable for most people, and has nothing to do with health. Skinny does not equal healthy. Often these images are photo shopped; and it is only a picture, you have no idea if that person is happy or healthy. The average women in Canada is 5’4” and weighs 155 lbs, about a size 12/14. [Macleans]  Yet where are all these women in media and marketing?? Nowhere to be found. The lack of diversity is appalling. The only way we can change this is by becoming aware of it.

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to watch the documentary Embrace. (Highly recommend every woman seeing it.) This documentary is the work of Taryn Brumfit, a mom of three from Australia who found herself hating her body after she had her children. She decided to improve her body, and started strict exercise and diet so she could compete in a bikini competition. After gaining her “ideal body” she realized she still wasn’t happy, and neither were the women on stage who had amazing bodies. Taryn knew then this was a problem that needed to be addressed so she created the documentary to create awareness of body positivity and body confidence. She is on a mission to spread her message of embracing your body, no matter what size. This documentary was so amazing and eye-opening. After watching the film I was chatting with one my friends who is tall, thin, athletic and in my mind has the ideal body. And she was crying because she felt bad about her body like so many of us. I couldn’t imagine her having any issues yet she did. And we all do. 90% of women feel bad about their bodies. Things need to change.

There are young girls out there who are on diets, trying to lose weight. Feeling bad about their little bodies because we live in a society where smaller and thinner is better. This makes me so sad, and really inspires me to want to create change, and hopefully it inspires you too. Now that I have a daughter I am more mindful of this than ever. I’m always telling Molly she is smart, kind, strong; hoping I can make things less about appearance for her. Many of the moms who take my classes talk about how their moms were (and are) always on diets, speak negatively about their body, etc. I was very lucky to have a mom who never talked about bodies in a negative way but I know now this is a rarity. I have always been confident in my body, but there so many things I would change. I am working on learning to love my body as it is. I am active, eat well, but I am never going to be “skinny”, it is just not possible for me. It is not possible for many body shapes and types because we are all DIFFERENT. I look at all the babies in my classes, they range so much in shape and size. And so do we. Look like you. Do you. Be you. And don’t forget what you created. You are strong AF. Appreciate and love your body.

You can start by surrounding yourself with positive reinforcement. Join Healthy Habits Happy Moms, a group of amazing, supportive women who get it. Follow body positive people on social media. Unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. Stop commenting about people’s weight loss. Are you a better person if you’re thinner?? Read this amazing and profound article. Let’s stop trying to be smaller. Focus on being healthy, strong. Thin does not equate to healthy. Let’s make things less about appearance and focus on what is really important.

“You make me laugh.”

“I appreciate our friendship.”

“You have such a kind heart.”

“I admire your courage.”

Change the way you feel about food, all food is good. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life counting calories, stressing about your weight, diet, and exercise? Think of how much more time and attention you can spend on your kids, husband, friends and self care if you are not worrying about these things.  Learn to love your body for what it is capable of, not how it looks. You are STRONG, you have carried and birthed a child. Your body is AMAZING. This is not an overnight change, you need to keep telling yourself this every day. What do you love about your body?? I love my strong arms for lugging around my toddler and carrying 10 bags of groceries in one go. Eat food you love to nourish your body. Find exercise you love to keep you moving. It can be going for walks, dancing, it doesn’t have to be a HIIT workout or running on the treadmill for half an hour. If you love running, great! If you don’t then find something you do love. Life is too short. Your body is not an ornament, it is a vehicle. Let’s create change ladies.

For us, for our daughters and their daughters. Let’s learn to embrace and love our bodies. One day at a time.

Reference: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/how-canadian-are-you/

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