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Body Image After Baby

Okay. It’s taken me 8 months to sit down and write this post. 8 months before I could really be in the right mindset and really gather all of my thoughts and emotions surrounding this topic.

Let me start out by saying how absolutely incredible and amazing this journey has been. Motherhood has made me feel so complete and so blessed that my amazing body had the ability to bring such an angel into this world. I am so unbelievably grateful for that. Nothing else matters. Nothing else should matter.

With that being said…I am about to share with you something that has been wearing on my conscience… a whirlwind of thoughts, emotions and honest feelings about how I dealt with the major changes my body went through those few months after Ella was born.

At times I may, but will try my best to not, sound superficial, ridiculous, crazy, obnoxious, annoying and maybe a little too hard on myself… but I am going to keep it real and not going to censor or sugarcoat anything. These were my feelings and after having a baby my hormones were all over the place. Whether how I felt was right or wrong, they were valid feelings. Every woman deals with it differently, and here’s what I went through…

I can sit here and write this post today because I am now in a good place with these changes, and my progress. I finally started seeing the results I was so anxious to see several months ago. I honestly feel great currently, but I still have my moments. I am human and no where near perfect.

My intention when writing about this topic, and my timing is not that I need anyone to validate my feelings. It’s not because I need strangers or friends on the internet to tell me how “great I look”. It’s all something I need to get off of my chest and at the same time attempt to help other moms, or anyone that may be going through something similar. I felt very guilty after Ella was born and I went back on promises I made to myself to not fall into critical thought patterns. I felt a little crazy when I thought everyone was looking at me thinking how horrible I looked and even validated when I put pressure on myself because of my profession that I didn’t “snap back” so quickly. I felt like I was being ungrateful that my body had this amazing capability to provide a home for another human being, that she was and is healthy, that I was healthy. Why is how I look so important? There are much more important things in this equation. And while how I look was not my sole focus, and while I am so blessed to have my body, my health and my daughter, I still went through a tough time. For about 6 months post-partum I struggled and battled with my body image, I felt discouraged with my progress and I felt discouraged with myself for feeling the way I did. And even though these feelings may have been wrong and superficial, they were still my feelings. You can’t always control them.

With the exception of the first couple of months and the last 3 weeks, I can honestly say throughout my pregnancy I felt more beautiful than I have ever felt…ever. My body image was at an all-time high. If only I could bottle that up and sell it….

In the past I have mentioned my previous struggles with my weight and my body image. It all started when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  I spent a majority of my teenage years in and out of treatment for an eating disorder and made many friends over those few years in therapy. I had a couple of different roommates at Renfrew that I became close with and a couple of girls in my outpatient therapy that lived locally who stayed in touch for support. I struggled with different forms of ED through my early 20’s, but have since really got a grasp on my health and truly make a conscious effort to not fall into those old behaviors.

As time went on I became more and more healthy, but even when I look back a few years ago, while having a healthy relationship with food and exercise, I still struggled in other ways. I never know how crazy my thinking is until I looked back on it. For instance, at my girlfriends wedding a few years ago I was probably at my thinnest, ever. Not from dieting or disordered behaviors though (I was training hard and eating “clean” but in a healthy way).

Back then,  I looked at a few photos from the wedding and thought they were unflattering and I looked “heavy” in some of them. I was anything but;  and it was scary to see how my mind still works sometimes. Very scary. It takes stepping back, or time to realize girlfriend needed to have some sense slapped into her.

I am not going to spend too much time talking about my history with ED, but my point for bringing it up is that part of overcoming my struggles was helping others with theirs. That and how I reflected back to my coping methods in recovery to not fall back into behaviors that, in the past, would breed off of my thoughts.

I can’t imagine being in the situation I was in as a teenager this day in age. With the internet and with all the websites out there –I can only imagine how triggering it can be for girls who are struggling. Back when I was a teen I stayed in touch with girls from treatment via snail mail. Anyone local I would chat with on my old fashioned cordless phone (gawd I am dating myself). Even when I was in treatment I would “fake it” for my friends sometimes. If someone was having a really bad day,  I would try and show how strong I was by doing or attempting to do something that terrified me. When I would speak to a friend from IOP and they were talking about relapsing, I would tell them how great I was doing and encourage them that they could do great too…even if it was a lie.

I never ever wanted to be triggering to my friends so I , as much as I could, I would try and show how strong I was. Eventually I started believing my own “lies” and over time became stronger and made the decision to really, genuinely be healthy. I could not truly do that until I separated myself from those friends I was trying to help. I had to stay away from girls I grew to love and care for because they were not well and it was not doing me any good. I had to cut out my friends in life who constantly put themselves down or obsessed over their weight. Then there were those who were in a good place, and my strength helped them and theirs me. I ran a private group at my high school with the guidance counselor and spoke to middle school students about the dangers of ED. That was part of my therapy and it was a stepping stool that helped me get to where I am today.

This is why, when I was feeling less than stellar after having the baby I thought, okay…if I just hold my breath, don’t think about it and put myself out there and show the world what a woman looks like right after having a baby, even if I feel horrible about myself, I may help someone to embrace their own body and then maybe I can embrace mine. (Along with tracking my progress, and seeing visual changes, without relying on a scale)

I lied to myself, ahem, fibbed. I talked about how “great” I felt, and how proud I was of my body and what it went through. <—While that part was true, I was dishonest about my struggles. I felt, well, “disgusting” and disgusted. There, I said it and I hate myself for using that word, but it’s what went through my head every time I tried something on that didn’t fit; or every time I was around one of my “skinny friends”, or every time I went to the gym and looked in a 4 way mirror. The funny thing is, again, looking back, if I wasn’t me and I was looking at “myself” right after having a baby, I would have  probably genuinely thought, “wow, she looks great for having a baby ___weeks ago! This is partly why I struggled writing this post because I feel in a way like I am being incredibly insulting by saying these things about myself. It goes back to being a teenager and always hiding my feelings for the sake of others.

{The truth is, I did a lot of comparing myself to others post-partum}

While I was pregnant I stayed very active and ate healthy so I heard all the time from people how I would “bounce back right away.’” How I was “all belly” and looked “so great.” Like I said earlier in this post, I felt that way too. I felt amazing. I loved my body and my belly. The pressure I put on myself, I can say, was majorly due to the fact that I’m a fitness trainer, nutritionist and healthy living blogger. The part I hate admitting is the fact that I  know a little part of me will always struggle with body image and toxic thoughts, even if I fight them most of the time.

Mothers, with their best intentions, would tell me how they lost all their weight in 3 months and were not as active as I was. I had such high expectations of myself, and had it in my head that, as a fitness professional, people would not be as forgiving of me not losing most of my baby weight in 12 weeks. Yet, I got to the 12 week mark, then the 16 week mark, then the 20 week mark…but my body was being stubborn.

Despite my working out and cutting out sugar, eating tons of home made salads and lean protein, and other “power foods”— my body wouldn’t budge [<which was part of the problem I am saving for another post]. I was being a little insane and less than relaxed at times about my progress those first 3 months especially. I thought I was hiding it from you guys on here, but looking back on my posts I subconsciously typed little nit picking here and there. I was called out on it and originally didn’t understand because I thought I was being positive about my progress on the blog. I could have easily posted cropped pictures of myself, or photos at flattering angles, or nothing at all….but I didn’t. I posted what was real, what was there. Not because I needed you guys to tell me how “fab” I looked, but for those silent readers who could look (this was all what was going on in my head) and see after 3 or 4 months I still had a belly, my arms weren’t “ripped,” and as a trainer who took care of herself through her pregnancy, I still was struggling to “get my body back”—however, I (thought) I was coming across positive about it, and thought “believing my lie” of initially embracing my body would help me get over it, and truly embrace myself and just relax.

I also though sharing any discouragement (even though I thought I was doing it in a positive way) would  trigger feedback from someone else who was in my situation. I thought seeking comfort from other women with a similar background, and similar struggle with their body after baby would help me along the way. Having anyone tell me they thought I looked great was not helpful at the time because I didn’t believe it, it didn’t feel genuine to me. However, hearing someone tell me they were also struggling or struggled despite breastfeeding, healthy eating and exercise, at that, time was comforting to me, if that makes any sense?

I am fighting with myself to hit publish on this post because I am not quite sure how it will be received. Honestly, like I said earlier I am able to write it now because I am in a good place. I know everyone is different., but I can tell women who are feeling guilty about similar feelings, or feeling discouraged with their body after baby that it gets better. It got better for me. It took about 7 months, but I am finally feeling ‘fab’ and more importantly, comfortable in my skin, most of the time.

This was all something that, having a daughter especially, I knew I had to get under control…..

 

Part II coming up soon!

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63 Comments

  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I think I understand your intentions by posting this… not for compliments or anything… but I think sometimes we are trapped into thinking negative things about ourselves, no matter what. And no stranger on the internet is going to make that negativity go away. I am often not in a good place about my appearance and also kick myself for making it matter so much. I keep reminding myself that the body is just a vessel by which we navigate the world.

    However, as you said, I know others struggle and can relate to/take comfort(?) in knowing that we’re not alone with these feelings.

    That said, I do think you’re being hard on yourself, though you already seem to know that. I thought you said before you wanted to end up at a place higher than pre-baby, which is more realistic for sure. I think you already look awesome, and not just “for someone who had a baby X months ago.”

    January 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm
    • Reply laury

      Julie,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and sharing how you feel as well. I truly appreciate it!

      Yes, I did say I was not planning on trying to be where I was pre-baby. I am very happy with where I am at currently and plan on maintaining/ just doing what’s best/ being healthy! Thanks again for your comment!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm
  • Reply Nicole@makinggoodchoices

    give you lots of credit for posting this. i know how hard it was for you to do this. I <3 you for being REAL and showing the truth and not disguising things. I'm sure this is how many many new moms feel. thanks for sharing.

    January 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm
  • Reply K

    I commend your honesty and, as someone who is at around 26 weeks in her own pregnancy journey, I really value your candor and openness. Pregnancy is such a strange time – your body is doing these amazing things and it also suddenly becomes something for public consumption and discussion. I was in a wonderful place with my body image before becoming pregnant (after a lot work to overcome disordered eating) and I have LOVED watching my pregnant body grow…even my non-belly developments! That said, it kind of makes me cringe that I still take some proide in being told that I’m “all belly” or “still so tiny”. It scares me that I value that type of compliment. I usually thank people and then right away respond with some comment about how, no matter what shape/size it takes, I know it will be perfect. People also tell me that I will “bounce back” in no time and what I want to retort “I don’t want to anything ‘back’! I’m moving FORWARD!” I know that people say this with the best intentions and it is heartwarming to be in the receiving end of it, but it makes me realize how much pressure women feel to get get bodies “back” after baby. I keep asking myself this… doesn’t wanting my body “back” after all of this is over completely invalidate everything that has happened throughout this pregnancy? I don’t want anything “back”, because for me, back means before this baby, before this pregnancy, before all of the incredible things that have happened over 9 months. I know that I will probably struggle with my body image a bit after baby is born, but the most important thing is that we have a place/space to talk about those feelings without feeling judged. I hope you know that your post has/will help many of us. Even though I haven’t had the baby and don’t know what things will be like, I value that I won’t have been alone, no matter how my thought process moves. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate the time, energy and honesty that you’ve poured into this post.

    January 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm
    • Reply laury

      This comment brought tears to my eyes. I never thought I would get so emotional writing about something….or hearing the response of others…but it happened!

      I love everything you said. Especially about not wanting your “body back.” It’s so true and I didn’t think of it that way! You are so right..I do not want to go backwards. I want to move forward!

      Thank YOU so much for the time, energy and thoughtfulness you put into your comment. You have no idea what it means to me and how much it helps <3

      PS–best of luck with y our pregnancy!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm
  • Reply Pure2raw twins

    you are so beautiful inside and out!!!! you are so inspiring too for so many moms and moms-to-be out there!!! this is an amazing post and loved hearing your journey! and so happy that you are at a happy place right now, love that!!

    HUGS

    January 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you so much! <3

      January 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm
  • Reply Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots

    Laury you are an amazing wonderful woman and I know this took a lot of courage to write and post! I have never been pregnant but have struggled with disordered eating and I can 100% relate to things that you have said. You set standards for yourself and if you don’t meet them it is easy to get down on yourself. We are our worst critics!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hi Kaitlin! Thank you. Yes, we are definitely our own worst critics! I always try to remember that!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Thanks for being so honest. This little (big) blog world of ours is so interesting, isn’t it? We have this opportunity to share our stories and be supported. Just the telling of your story allows your readers to know you better, to care more about you, and to relate to you in new ways. Really—it’s pretty great 🙂

    I won’t tell you that I’ve always thought you looked great since right after you had Ella (even though I do think that)–I understand that other people’s approval doesn’t mean anything to you until you feel that same approval for yourself. I’m glad you’ve gotten to the point you’re at on the journey (because of course I want you to be happy!).

    January 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply laury

      I think it’s great too 🙂

      Thank you…I am happy and I love you…thanks!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm
  • Reply Robyn (GirlonRaw)

    Laury, I can understand why you were hesitant to post this, I too wrote something similar last year and I tell you what, I was overwhelmed with the comments, emails, messages and text messages from plenty of other mothers in the same position or about to give birth, to say thank you for actually bringing it all out in the open. Great topic! Bravo lady. And yes, you are beautiful.

    PS not sure if you saw my posts but here they are if you want to read.

    http://girlonraw.com/2011/11/body-image-post-baby/

    http://girlonraw.com/2011/11/body-image-post-baby-part-two/

    January 13, 2012 at 1:10 am
    • Reply laury

      Yes, Robyn I remember reading yours! I think I commented…but can not remember if I caught part 2! Thanks for the links

      January 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm
  • Reply Chantal

    You know how very once in a while you’ll read someone’s blog and be blown away by their honesty and truthfulness and just want to hug them for being so awesome? Yeah, that’s you right now.

    To me, it’s not about whether or not you were being fair with yourself. That’s the way you felt at the time, and I’m glad that you can just accept that and say that honestly. Lots of us can relate, and I’m sure your words will be helpful to so many other future hot mamas 😉 xoxo

    January 13, 2012 at 1:24 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Chantal. Yes it is about the battle in my had at that time. It’s funny…writing it all down was really the final step in moving past it. Thank you for listening and for your beautiful comment 🙂

      January 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply Raquel

    This is an amazing story ! Thank you for being so raw and fresh with your emotions. I stumbled upon your blog when I was about 30 weeks pregnant and went through all of your post baby body photos and thought the same thing ” wow, I hope I bounce back like that ” again comparing myself to someone else. And reaslitically you and I have two totally different lifestyles. I think this is natural to size up one another.
    I just wanted to point out your body ( mine too) is still doing amazing work in nourshing our little ones ! I am sure you know being a nutrionist how much energy the body uses for breastfeeding. While I have not one single pregnancy pound lingering, I do have that dreaded layer of fat. This is something I know for me does not budge until after nursing.
    When I am ready to burn this fat off, I hope to follow some of your workout tips. Again Thank you for sharing.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:41 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Raquel. Congratulations on your baby!

      Yes, we are all so different and it’s a crime that we tend to compare ourselves. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way and I think the body of a mother, no matter the size, is absolutely beautiful.

      I will talk more in part 2, and possibly a separate post on breastfeeding and weight loss! Yes, that’s a BIG part of what I want to share! Thank you for your comment.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Healthy Diaries

    Wow Laury, I had no idea that you were struggling so much with you body image after having Ella. It’s so true that everyone’s bodies are different and for some it takes longer to get back. I’m so happy that you are there now and happy with yourself and at a good place.

    You should give yourself a TON of credit for all the hard effort you put towards this. Many moms don’t even try to get back in shape and just give up. It definitely takes strength and dedication to do what you did. Makes me so happy! 🙂

    January 13, 2012 at 9:59 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Lisa <3

      January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm
  • Reply Maria@healthydiaries

    I give you huge props for writing this and being completely honest. I don’t think your feelings were ever wrong or superficial. I think every person has those thoughts at some point in their life, especially moms after giving birth. I’ve never been pregnant and people have often told me when you have kids you will bounce back. I kind of find it annoying cause that puts pressure on me. Maybe I’d be fine if I didn’t, but since some people expect it, the pressure is on. I’m sure it was much worse in your case, because of your job. I’m sorry that you had to go through a bit of a struggle, but you should be damn proud of yourself for not giving up and pushing through it. It took 9 months to have that beautiful girl, so 8 months to get where you are is great.

    Thanks, for being so inspiring! XOXO

    January 13, 2012 at 11:16 am
    • Reply laury

      thank you, love!

      January 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm
  • Reply Halima

    you hit the nail on the head, you have a daughter and you need to show her from now what it means to be healthy, not ony eating well and exercising but also mentally. Kids pick up on a lot of things on beknown to us. keep doing what you are doing and the rest will follow. totally understand what you are/were going through but the bigger picture is you have a beautiful daughter and you dont want to miss out on her. also being pregnant takes almost a whole year of your life, as you get older and have a baby your body changes and sometimes it is not meant to snap back to the way it was and being older also makes it harder to reach your goals. you will have to change the way you once saw yourself. good luck with this and i know you will get to the point where you want to be.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm
    • Reply laury

      Halima,

      Yes, it is so true. This post was really letting you all into the battle in my head. And while I was not as harsh on myself in public, and fought every time I wanted to criticize myself, and as hard as it was to accept compliments..I smiled and said thank you. But, you are right, kids will still pick up on even the smallest behaviors. This is something I have planned for long before I ever thought about getting pregnant. I knew a long time ago, if I ever wanted children, I needed to work through my issues.

      While I definitely and honestly do not want to or expect to look the way I did before having a baby…I still put pressure on myself to be fit, but you will see in part 2 [ if you decide to come back :-)]that once I did relax, started to be kind to myself, and listen to my body…things fell into place. My daughter is everything to me and my number one priority is for her to grow up healthy and loved and know she is beautiful for the person she is, not her outward appearance

      Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

      January 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm
  • Reply jen

    I started reading healthy living blogs about 2 years ago, and this was the most emotional entry I have ever read. Thank you so much for letting us hear this story. I’m sure I speak for so many when i say that you make us feel like were not alone. Women especially put so much pressure on ourselves and its true that it is so easily passed on to our next genenration. I grew up with a mother and 3 much older sisters who constantly spoke negatively about their bodies and appearances. I remember being 8 yrs old when i wrote my first diet plan. after every holiday my cousins and i would create new weight loss plans. children soak in so much!
    I really cant thank you enough for sharing your thoughts and feelings here. although i am not yet a mother, i hope to be one soon, and i am learning so much through this blog. You seem like such a wonderful person Laury, and you have touched so many lives through the fitness dish. Thank you!

    January 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Jen for your amazing comment. What you just shared is really tough. It goes to show that we really do put so much pressure on ourselves..and at 8 years old! Wow. It is true. My cousin and I would go on “toast diets” of nothing but toast for a week when we were in middle school. It’s our job now to try and prevent this with younger women!

      Thanks again, your comment made me smile 🙂

      January 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply kristen

    What a beautiful and honest post, about things that nobody wants to admit. I don’t have kids yet but my husband and I are planning on them soon and I already feel the pressure to keep a decent body while pregnant and keep working out, so I can “bounce back” as soon as possible. It’s a little terrifying. Thank you for this post.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes it is but it’s not until you relax about it and just think in terms of being healthy as opposed to how you look that we can really feel less pressure and just enjoy the blessing!

      January 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Shayla @ The Good Life

    Laury, you are such a strong, honest, beautiful woman and I thank you so very much for posting this. I can’t say I know exactly where you’re coming from b/c I haven’t had a baby yet, but I can exactly relate to your thoughts and feelings. It’s understandable you struggled through those months post-partum, us woman are our own worst critics, and I really commend you for posting this and being honest about your feelings.

    And I totally relate to you wanting to post your Operation Post Baby pics not for compliments, but so that in sharing your struggles, other women can confide in you with theirs and you can gain strength from one another. That’s kinda where I’m at with my blog…though I am healthy and happy with myself, I definitely have those moments of not liking the way I look b/c I’m at a much higher weight than ever before in order to help us conceive (137 lbs!). And like you, sharing my experience and struggles with this on my blog isn’t to get compliments, its so that I hope other women will read about my struggles with Amenorrhea and TTC and confide in me with theirs and we can gain strength from each other.

    I too cringe when I hear other mothers (although with good intentions!) tell other pregnant women that they will snap right back to their pre-baby body…but what if they don’t? I already have women telling me to not worry about it and I’m not even pregnant yet, lol! I absolutely love “K” comment above in that it’s not about getting our body BACK, it’s about moving FORWARD. I LOVE that so much!! Why would we want to go back in time? It’s about owning our body after baby, whatever weight or shape it may be 🙂

    I’m so happy Laury that though it took a few months for you, that you’re in a much better, happier, healthier place now. You really do look so beautiful, healthy and fit and you’re body is definitely at it’s happy spot now. You should be so proud of yourself as I am so very much of you 🙂 Can’t wait for part 2!! xoxo

    January 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm
    • Reply laury

      Shayla,

      Thank you so much. You are a beautiful person and I know you are helping so many by sharing your experience! Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment! You know I am rooting for you all the way…love yah <3

      January 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm
  • Reply kaity

    this is a great post! i can tell it was hard for you to write this but i can only imagine how many other people you are helping that are going through this too, im glad your in a happier place you deserve it!

    January 14, 2012 at 11:02 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Kaity!

      January 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply The Delicate Place

    i love the fact that i can come here and read that you are completely normal in the sense of being a woman! it’s really pretty impossible not to have periods of time where you just beat yourself up for no reason…i mean we see it every day in the media. we are expecting to look/be perfect all the time! i know you didn’t post this to fish for compliments but i’m telling you anyway…you are so beautiful inside and out! michael & baby ella are so lucky to have you! x

    January 14, 2012 at 11:03 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you my gorgeous friend!!!!!

      January 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    I absolutely understand your reasons for wanting to talk about this. Having a baby changes your body in so many ways and it’s hard for anyone, much less those who have had a history with ED. It’s one thing to rationally know that you are being too hard on yourself and another thing to actually stop those thoughts. After I lost weight, I struggled a ton with that. It didn’t matter how much weight I had lost, I still always saw myself as the fat girl. And the truth is, sometimes I still do. Even though I rationally know that I’m not. It’s all so damn complicated, ya know? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. 🙂

    January 15, 2012 at 12:44 am
    • Reply laury

      I see that all the time…and I know what you mean. No matter how thin you get, sometimes you will see yourself as when you felt your worst. Thank you for your comment, Stefanie!

      January 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm
  • Reply Valerie @ FreshMutz

    Laury, I have been a devoted follower of the blog for some time now, and this post is exactly the reason why. I have nothing but the deepest admiration and respect for your candor and that of your readers (the comments here are amazing). I look forward and pray for the day that i can be in your shoes and experience pregnancy and motherhood. Having overcome disordered eating, I often wondered and feared that pregnancy and post-pregnancy would bring on the toxic thoughts that I have quieted for years with mindfulness and a little self-TLC. I can only imagine feeling exactly like you except I will know that I am not alone. I am sorry you had to go through the emotions with a twinge of guilt, but know that you have helped others by sharing this. This goodness of you definitely comes through. Thank you so much for sharing.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hi Valerie! Thank you so much for your kind words. You have no idea what this means to me! I am in awe of the comments here, yours being one of them. Sending you big hugs 🙂

      January 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm
  • Reply Brity

    I just,had my adorable sweet baby boy exactly three monthsz ago and my after baby body is much much harder to love than my nine month pregnant bod. I’m breastfeeding and a young 21year old mom and I was thinking the weight I gained would be long gone by now and id already be a milf hahah
    I will deal with this extra large squishy. Body in order to feed and nourish my son but I have to say that I will never be comfortable or accept this body and that makes me very sad

    January 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    • Reply laury

      Congratulations…motherhood is the best!

      I am sorry to hear you are going through a tough time with your body. Just try and accept yourself and love the body that is nourishing your son. It gets better, I promise! A mothers body is the most beautiful thing. It’s so hard to accept, but it’s true.

      January 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm
  • Reply Carrie

    Thank you for such an honest post!! <3 To begin, I was so taken by surprise by many parts if pregnancy and motherhood. My daughter is 6 months and while I definitely knew it would be hard, no one reapply shared what specifically was to come and the shock was hard to cope with! One TMI example- being the most constipated of my life after having my daughter and having an experience truly worse (scarier perhaps) than the c section I had. Seriously..couldn't someone have warned me?! I vowed I would always be honest with my friends moving forward.

    Same went for body image. Everyone made light of it like it was no big deal. I would lose it no problem. I also had a past of disordered eating and feared getting "fat".. Plain and simple. I gained 35 and ended up getting a lot off through sheer anxiety and stress I experienced after having my daughter. Worst part- it make me happy! I'm not proud of that.
    Laury- thank you for being honest about your struggles. So many people read your blog and this helps us to be honest with ourselves as well. It feels good to know we are not alone. What you feel makes you only human and it is out of your control.. You don't need to worry about anyone judging you. All women have struggles.. Thats what makes us unique. I believe so many women relate to you!

    January 16, 2012 at 12:05 am
    • Reply laury

      Hey, Carrie 🙂 Congratulations to you, first off. It just keeps getting more and more fun from here! I loved it when Ella turned 6 months, she just became more and more in tune and more and more fun!

      Yes, there are SO many things that we are not prepared for. It is SO hard. The first 4 months were incredibly difficult….as rewarding as it was, and as much as I would not trade it in for anything…I was not prepared for a lot. I experienced a few extremely scary experienced post-birth myself that I won’t go into lol.

      It’s like you don’t want to be that person telling horror stories to pregnant women…but we all wished someone would have told us about all the nasty stuff that freaked us out and how hard other things were going to be….and what may happen…

      Thank you for your kind words, Carrie <3 and

      January 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Tat

    What an honest post and I’m sure it will be helpful to others that are struggling to accept their post-baby body. Often just knowing you are not alone helps.

    I’ve been lucky to regain my pre-baby body pretty much immediately and I’ve never been comfortable to admit it in the company of other mothers. The truth is, I can’t take any credit for it, I was just lucky. Everyone is different.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:10 am
    • Reply laury

      Hi Tat! It’s good to be one of the lucky ones. Nothing to be ashamed of…everyone is different. It just takes some women longer than others. I am happy to know you did it in a healthy way…even if it was just by going about your business 😉

      January 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm
  • Reply 2+ weeks postpartum | Shanna Like Banana's Blog

    […] good friend Laury just wrote a fabulous post about Body Image After Baby and I really resonate with what she wrote.  Check it […]

    January 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    Sooo this post was amazing. I love honest bloggers and this is SO honest. I emailed you last night before reading this post and I wish I would have read it before sending the email from last night. Even though I am not “post-partum” yet I feel PRESSURE to have the “all-belly” expectations that everyone keeps saying I’ll have because I’m healthy and a dietitian. I think I would be able to cope with the weight gain better if I wasn’t a health professional…not as much expectation. AND I know that after the baby I will feel exactly the same as you. I won’t want compliments (like I don’t want now) bc I don’t feel they are sincere. Bc I feel like people are judging me and silently thinking I’ve gained weight. Afterwards, I will compare myself to other dietitians or bloggers who did “bounce right back” and feel completely discouraged when that doesn’t happen to me. BUT as I’ve watched your progress these past 8 months, it REALLY helps me understand that no matter how fit and healthy, every body responds differently to pregnancy and no matter what state of mind prior, an old ED is hard to suppress when faced with any type of weight gain. I am struggling right now but reading about your experience, having a friend to email, is extremely helpful. It puts things in to perspective for me. I even woke up this morning (after a horrible depressed weekend) and felt good about myself. I kept saying that I have to embrace my body. LOVE my new curves and realize that I’m making a baby right now! Screw society’s expectations, THIS Is how my body is responding and ya know what? The teeny bump I’ve been noticing as of late is just another sign that my baby is growing healthy. 🙂 Thanks Laury! 🙂

    January 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hey, sweetie. I owe you an email! your bump is beautiful!!!! It is so so so so so hard when we listen to people and take those words (which are intended to be taken as comfort) and skew them into expectations we put on ourselves. You are so beautiful and what your body is doing right now is beautiful. Don’t waste the amazing thing that’s going on right now on these toxic thoughts. I know how hard it is to do, but try and look at it in a different light. You are beautiful.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Body Image After Baby ~ Part 2

    […] part 1 I opened up about the struggles I went through while dealing with the changes my body went through. […]

    January 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm
  • Reply La.

    Oh Laury, post baby is SUCH A HARD TIME. I appreciate your honesty,it’s hard for sure. It is also difficult because when it comes to babies, breast feeding and the way you SHOULD look, EVERYONE has something to say. AND you aren’t allowed to feel a certain way because nothing SHOULD matter more than a healthy baby. I’ve REALLY struggled this pregnancy. I was CRAZY with calories at the beginning (I was counting AND getting sick) and in the end found out I was STARVING Sooner. REALLY? How could I do this? Body image CAN be scary if you let it. I love you and DO find you an inspiration. I think the ONLY people who expect us to be perfect IS…ourselves. I can’t wait for part 2!

    January 22, 2012 at 12:04 am
  • Reply Jennifer (The Gourmetour)

    OMG Laury! I some how missed this post altogether. I took some time off the blog world so I guess that’s why! Anyways IM SO HAPPY I read this tonight. I have been reading your blog for over a year now (and continue to do so) and I have essentially stopped reading all of the other blogs that I started reading around the time I found yours. The reason I stopped reading all of the other blogs, but continued with yours is because you are so real! This post proves it. I admire you because we have a lot of similarities in our lives, but you are so honest with your readers and your honestly make me feel comfortable. I feel like a real person when I read your blog because you struggle with real womanly issues. One thing I want you to know is you are SO strong. Struggling with those issues makes you so much stronger than fully emerging yourself in your old habits! As someone who struggled with the same type of ED that you did, I know that is a strong, strong truth. You struggled because you know you’re better than those thoughts. If you had just thought terrible things about yourself, but then didn’t get upset with yourself for the thoughts alone, I would be concerned!
    You are beautiful and one of my all time favorite bloggers. Keep your head up and know that I look up to you, for your struggles especially!

    ps. loved you oatmeal picture comment. silly blog world.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm
  • Reply Baby Weight & Breastfeeding

    […] back, as I said in my body image posts, I wish I had just relaxed mentally and let me body do it’s […]

    February 21, 2012 at 11:13 am
  • Reply amina

    This was awesome. I’ve struggled in the past for 3 years with disordered eating, went to recovery, and helped myself with the support of great family, friends, and trusted others. Now my husband and I are expecting our first baby. I’m 3 months pregnant, continuing to exercise, but the food aversions have made “clean eating” much more difficult than I ever thought. I swore I would be SUPER healthy as a pregnant woman…well, now I’m doing the best I can given the sickness and aversions. I also realize how “great” I looked before, and wish I wouldn’t have constantly nitpicked, and wish I would’ve have celebrated my hard work more. Your post is so honest, and it gives me insight to how things may be for me post baby. I’m loving how I look now, and also hope I can keep these thoughts in my head while I work my body back to pre-baby.

    March 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Amina! And congratulations on your pregnancy! What an exciting time!!! I wish you and your family nothing but the best! Thank you again for sharing your experience with me!

      March 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm
  • Reply Erin Kroll

    Dear Julie,
    Thank you for being so open. My daughter will turn 7 months in two weeks and I am just noticing some changes in my body, despite breast feeding and eating healthy. I struggled with an eating disorder for 15 years before starting a treatment program at 25. I’m now 31 and fully recovered and had the luxury of having a midwife and home water birth. My midwife new of my ED past and we decided to stay off scales during my pregnancy.

    I gave birth to a gorgeous 8.7 pound baby girl the day after thanksgiving in an amazingly fast and peaceful birth.

    My thoughts on postpartum are this…we all gain as much as our bodies need. Perhaps those of us with ED pasts gain and retain more, lets be honest bodies work on memory and they are prepared for those old periods of malnutrition. I made a promise to myself in treatment that I would never set foot inside a gym if it was to alter my size weight or shape again…so now in postpartum I struggle with feeling like I should be working out.

    What I’ve made peace with is I don’t need the gym, my body will slowly transform just as it did in pregnancy. Whenever I feel down about not being where I was pre-pregnancy I look at my beautiful baby girl and think would I want her to feel so negative about her body….

    The baby months go by so quickly, I choose to focus my attention on my daughter. In time everything else will fall into place.

    We are beautiful, no matter what size. We are mothers.

    Sending you love and light. You are perfect as you are.

    Th

    June 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hi, Erin!

      What a fantastic comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and your story with me! I tend to agree with you about prenatal weight gain and ED’s. It makes total sense.

      I love your mind set, it is so very inspiring! I too look at my little girl and never ever want her to know the negative way I have looked at myself, nor would I ever want her to be as insecure as I once was. It’s my mission now to display confidence and a positive body image…and just NOT focus on looks.

      Love and light right back at you 🙂

      -Laury

      June 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Suzanne

    I just found your blog by Googling “body image after pregnancy” and your post has been the most honest I’ve found. There are a lot of well-meaning posts about just appreciating that your body is different and moving on, which I don’t find all that helpful. I can relate to your post and to your feelings. I can see how you would have high expectations of yourself because of your profession and because of your ED history. My daughter is almost one and I’m really struggling with my body image, still. What makes me most sad about it all is that she’s a girl, and I know that at some point she’ll be unhappy with her perfect little body.
    Thank you for this post.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:48 am
    • Reply laury

      Hi Suzanne! Thank you so much for your comment; what you said means a lot to me. It is so hard all of the pressure us women place on ourselves. I can resonate with what you said about your daughter. It is my mission to make sure my Ella does not focus too much on how she looks, but instead the wonderful attributes she brings to the world. It is so hard though. Peer pressure, society, and you can’t control what everyone does. I want to do my best to be a great role model, but I know I am not perfect!

      I wish you the best!

      August 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm
  • Reply Second Pregnancy: 14 Weeks

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