Your postpartum body image: is it just a physical issue, or a spiritual one, too?
Have you ever felt disappointed with your postpartum body? Today we’ll be discussing how God wants us to view our postpartum bodies.
Recently, my mom and Finn were reading a book called “My Amazing Body,” and they were on the page where it shows how mothers carry their children before they’re born. It had an image of a pregnant woman with a flap to lift so that you could see the growing child inside.
My mom told Finn, “God made our bellies to stretch and grow so that we could fit a baby inside! Isn’t that amazing?!”
From across the room, I commented, “Yeah, and those bellies never go back to normal.”
We laughed, but the interaction made me pause: I realized that my comment was actually detracting from God’s glory in the childbearing process. It is amazing that our bodies can expand to hold another living being! And by grumbling about the flaws in my own body, I was diminishing God’s incredible design.
This realization, as well as the chapter on postpartum body image in Risen Motherhood, encouraged me to dig deeper in the scriptures and in prayer to figure out how God wants me to view my postpartum body.
This is the fruit of that investigation. Here are 5 questions for us to ask ourselves about our postpartum body image:
#1: Why do I want a better-than-before-baby body?
Before we have kids, we think, “I’ll be the bounce-back mom! No one will ever know I had a kid!” But once we actually have a child, life doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Our bodies don’t cooperate the way they used to. Our schedules aren’t as neat as we thought they’d be. We find ourselves disappointed in ourselves and the bodies that just carried us through the miracle of life-giving.
So you’re stuck at home during this quarantine and your kid is driving you crazy…what do you do?! I’m constantly in a state of searching for activities for my high energy kid, Finn. Aside from displaying the Gospel to my kids, it seems like my #1 daily goal is to get energy out of them! God did not grant me children who will sit quietly and color or read books all day. So I’ve had to learn the hard way how to get energy out of my boys through trial and error. This is some of what I’ve learned.
My strategy for the day is typically to feed them, get energy out of them, and then try to have some quiet time. I’ve found that they will play on their own more independently if those two needs are met. Our day starts with breakfast, a short devotional where we read a Bible verse together, and then trying to go for a long walk or some sort of activity (preferably outdoors) that will help Finn burn off some energy.
So, if you’re working from home because of this COVID pandemic, I highly recommend trying to feed and de-energize your kiddos before trying to get some work done. (Another helpful hint for working from home: try to get as much work done as possible BEFORE your kids wake up. Get the hardest tasks done first, right from the start of the day. Trust me. Try it. You can thank me later.)
A few helpful principles for wearing out your high energy child:
Utilize muscles that aren’t typically used – this is tiring for all of us!
Challenge them with activities slightly above their ability. If it’s too hard, they won’t want to do it. But if it’s too easy, they won’t burn off as much energy. It’s a balancing act!
Be okay with repetition – if something works, don’t be afraid to do it again and again…and again. You’ve probably noticed, kids love repetition.
When in doubt, go outside. Nature is somehow simultaneously stimulating and calming. God is amazing!