The Gift of Self Compassion for Every New Mother

New mother, in my opinion, is a legend. Not only have they emerged from pregnancy, which is not just a beautiful experience, but it can be fairly taxing on her body as well. Then, after nine months, she finds herself in the delivery room; the gateway between being pregnant and having her plump cherub newborn. This is where she may roar like a lion, or look for silent help in her partner’s eyes. This is where she may emerge proud, strong, relieved, or a combination of every emotion she can think of.

After her baby’s birth, she is now feeding, pumping, or constantly mixing formula, changing diapers, and rocking her little one to sleep. She is waking at all hours, and sleeping at random ones. It’s an incredible time in her life, and then, out of nowhere, comes the pressure to lose weight.

The Social Mindset

It may first start with a comment about a friend losing the pregnancy weight. Or perhaps it’s from a late-night Instagram post of an influencer who looked back to her body weight within just a few weeks. Or maybe, and probably the harshest, is from a family member, known for being a little critical, who passes judgment on her shape. Ouch, it burns. 

I’m not sure when we decided that a woman’s body is passable for comment, even after such an amazing feat as growing a living, breathing, human being. I’m also not sure if people realize that one of the harshest critics of a woman’s body can be herself, and our mindless comments can add fuel to the fire.

As a society, there is something intrinsically wrong with the collective expectation that a woman must shrink back to her original form, to quickly erase all physical memories of the incredible experience that pregnancy and delivery can bring. Those marks are her physical memories. The weight is a by-product of creating life.

Think again!

Instead of placing pressure on a woman to lose weight, we should be helping new mothers heal and become stronger. That tummy that seems to flop down? After delivery, a woman’s abs are like a popped balloon, stretched out after creating space for a baby. The mum-tum she may be poking at may be unhealed diastasis recti. The back pain she may be feeling? It could be a result of a weakened pelvic floor. All of which we can heal, given the right attention, to make her stronger. 

This mother, this legend who just created and produced life, her soul purpose in life shouldn’t suddenly become to lose all of her baby weight. It should be to love herself, her abilities, and her strength, and to focus on her healing so she can be a confident mother.

Mother
Mother

Here are some ways a new mother can focus on herself to become a stronger, confident mother (#strongmom!)

#1. Focus for 5:

Taking five minutes out of your day to meditate, pray, or focus on breathing. Taking five minutes out will lower a mother’s stress levels.

Meditation
Meditation

#2. 4 foods to eat: 

Focussing on your food intake will not only help produce the healthiest breastmilk, but it will also help heal your body by providing you with the nutrients you need to heal.

Balanced meal
Balanced meal

Protein: lean meats or vegetarian sources of protein such as tofu, paneer, beans

Healthy Carbs: whole grains/pasta, oats, fruits

Vegetables: eat the colors of the rainbow!

Fat: keep your fat intake to around 2 “thumbs” per meal. Fat is essential for healing, but too much can have you gaining weight or keeping the stubborn pounds on.

#3. Connect for 3:

There is a core exercise that a new mother can do almost immediately, and that’s the Core Connection Breath. The movement of the diaphragm is connected to your pelvic floor and your deep inner core muscles. Learning how to sync this movement pattern can help strengthen her entire core and stimulate blood flow and healing to that area.

  • Lay down on the floor, knees bent
  • Allow the natural curve of the back
  • Place one hand on the chest, one on the lower abdomen.
  • On the inhale, inflate chest, stomach, sides, back, and pelvis with air.
  • On the exhale, lift the pelvic floor (kegel), draw up your lower abdominals.
  • Inhale, rest the pelvic floor and abdominals while inflating the body with air again

Repeat 3 breaths for 3 rounds, break in between each set.

#4. Stretch for 2:

Take two minutes of your day to stretch the tight muscles that result from feeding and changing diapers.

Stretching
Stretching

#5. Be Grateful for 1:

Did you know that we have over 6,200 personal thoughts a day? Our bodies physically respond to both positive and negative messages, even when it comes from ourselves. Start your day off right by focussing on the positives.

Positive
Positive

Instead of pressuring our mothers to lose weight, let’s give them the gift of self-compassion and strength, enabling them to be the mothers they always dreamt they’d be.

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