“What a cruel scheme to keep a woman from knowing her power. To put the focus on what pregnancy did to her body rather than focus on what her perfect body just did. Here we sit, creating and nourishing the future and we are diminished to “baby weight.” I will not succumb to your demeaning ideals.” -Amethyst Joy

The changes a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy are significant. She grows an extra organ (the placenta) for goodness sake, and then has the audacity to expel that organ after birth. Her other organs move, shift, adjust and settle into new places for a while, and one (the uterus) grows exponentially to house the growing baby. Yet another vital organ gets squished and compacted (bladder) for months. Her skin changes, breathing becomes more challenging, turning over in bed is an Olympic event; all in the name of calling forth a new generation, a tiny human, our future.

Yet, as soon as that baby is earth-side many become obsessed with “bouncing back” and getting rid of the “baby weight.” What if we changed this attitude and thanked our new body shape and size profusely for being able to mold, bend, and ebb and flow to the changing demands of our baby and body?

In the United States we are taught from an early age what the ideal female body “should” look like – tall, thin, and blonde. But this is not the reality for most women before they have children, let alone afterwards. Did you know that 91% (yes, 91%) of ALL women are unhappy with their body?

We owe it to ourselves and to our children to take small steps forward to loving our bodies no matter what they look like – tall, short, thick, thin, black, brown, freckled, strong, muscular, bony, curvy.

A recent article in International Doula, DONA’s professional journal, had an article on body love. Below is an easy activity from that article that you can do to show yourself some body-love.  It’s a great way to remind yourself of how strong you are and how amazing your body already is!

Make three body-love lists and put them somewhere that you can reference frequently (on your fridge, medicine cabinet, next to your mirror, or somewhere private like your journal or inside your closet door.)

1: All the things about your body you already love.
2: All the ways you take care of your body.
3: All the things you can (and would love to) do to take even better care of your body.

If you are interested in exploring this topic further please join us for Mother With Courage, a FREE support group for pregnant and postpartum moms, Monday, February 27 from 5:30 – 7 p.m at Homegrown Families Health and Education Center at 201 Charlotte St.

The feature image above is of Alexandra Brea who was recently featured in a Refinery29 article on the realities of postpartum bodies.

Learning about childbirth in early childhood courses in college, Kelly saw birth as a painful and difficult experience. Through educating herself and learning her options, Kelly’s perceptions changed drastically while pregnant with her first daughter. She experienced birth as transformational. As she gained knowledge of the process and a multitude of coping techniques, a passion was unleashed to help women overcome their fears about birth and work toward the birth experience they desire. Having had both hospital and homebirths with her own children, Kelly carries the variety of those experiences with her when working with women. Now a certified birth doula through DONA International and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Kelly brings knowledge, compassion, and spirit to her clients and students.

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