Your body has done amazing things to create a new life and birth a new baby, but now that you have your precious baby, you’re not quite sure what’s happening with your body. You may have heard of the Mom bod trend that is happening and wondered what it is. It has gained traction with Moms who are celebrating their bodies and the feats it has accomplished, even if it looks a little different than it was before you had a baby.
In this article we want to talk about what exactly is a Mom bod, and tips on how we can embrace our new Mom bods in whatever form they may be in.
- What is Mom bod?
- What does a Mom bod look like?
- How does Society view Mom bod vs Dad bod?
- How can you embrace your Mom bod?
Table of Contents
What is Mom Bod?
“Mom bod” is a term that has popped up since the use of “Dad bod” became popular in the 2010’s. Mom bod refers to the physical changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and birth, and the subsequent extra pounds we accumulate here and there, the stretch marks that pop up, and the wider hips we develop.
It should be a positively used term to highlight and celebrate the beauty and resiliency of motherhood. Afterall, we have done a lot! Sometimes I look at my little human and can’t quite believe that my body was able to take a fertilized egg and make him!
What Does a Mom Bod Look like?
A Mom bod generally can be described as having a softer, rounder look. It’s not a chiseled bodybuilder, but neither is it someone who is very thin. You may have more curves in your stomach, arms, and thighs. You may have a few more stretch marks (I know I do!), maybe some flaps of skin from a tummy that got stretched out, or some darker varicose veins from sharing nutrients. Our body is a testament to the sacrifice and prioritization of our children’s well-being over the pursuit of a perfect physique, the softness of postpartum tummy cuddles, the strength in lifting a wriggling toddler, and the endurance to handle sleepless nights. Our Mom bods are pretty amazing!
How Society Views Mom Bod vs Dad Bod?
I’m thankful for some of those on TikTok or other social media platforms that are calling out the double standard so often seen between men and women. While Dad bods are put in this sexy and desirable light, so often Mom bods have been used to contribute to feelings of shame.
Some people might say she let herself go, or she is lazy, she hasn’t gone back to her pre-pregnancy weight etc. These statements are so damaging because they completely overlook exactly what a woman’s body has gone through to bring and create life. They also overlook genetics and the hormonal changes that literally change our bodies from what they were before.
How to Embrace Your New Mom Bod
Being a new Mom is such a vulnerable time. I think it can be equivalent to puberty. The changes that occur, and the hormonal roller coasters, leave us feeling vulnerable and at a loss of who we are. We may lose ourselves in the mantle we carry as mother, while forgetting the many different titles we also hold like daughter, partner, spouse, sister, or friend. The hardest part we may face, may be looking in the mirror and seeing everything that has changed, and listening to the negative voice in our head.
With this Mom bod trend, I also have seen the other side of the spectrum where women are trying to highlight and share about their “tiger stripes” and everything their bodies have gone through. I love that we are opening up and taking away the stigma surrounding women’s bodies, but sometimes I don’t know if I always want to shout it from the rooftops or from my social media page.
Regardless of the sliding scale we may be on some days, we all need a few tips to accept and embrace the changes in our bodies. The reminder that we, ourselves, matter outside of our partner, our amazing children, and our responsibilities. We deserve to nourish our bodies and souls, and rest our healing bodies.
Ditch Social Comparisons
This one is probably the hardest one to do. Even for me now. We have a society that is programmed to compare and especially harp on women’s bodies. We have social media pages with toned bodies shoved in our faces and celebrities showing you their magic, without the cost it took to get there. Before you begin to spiral, consider unfollowing influencers that cause you to compare and pause any negativity that body shames. Maybe you’ll come back to them at a less vulnerable time, when you can see past their bodies or filters, but for now, protect your mental health and space.
Spend Time with Real People and Moms
That ties into this next tip! Find time for real people in your life. I know that this can also be hard to do, but by finding a few Moms or spending time with some of your favorite people can drastically change your outlook.
I remember shortly after we had moved to a new area, our neighbor invited my baby son and I to a Mom group. I was petrified to go. I almost canceled, but I went anyway. I didn’t say much, and there were still moments that it was hard, but looking around I was so glad I went. I could relate to so many of them. And guess what?! We were all different shapes, sizes, heights, and weights. Our babies were all different too. I was nervous and afraid, but the talk was all things I could relate to. Later that night I was so proud to tell my husband that I had gone, and I felt so much better mentally. Getting outside your space, or inviting others in, to have face to face conversations is very important.
Make Small Changes
During this postpartum period, our bodies are going through so much. And while there is sometimes so much out of our control, this is the time to incorporate small changes instead of drastic ones. Now is the time to focus on small, specific, but achievable goals that can help you feel good.
Speaking from experience, don’t be chopping your hair beforehand so you’re stuck with an awkward bob that won’t grow out because nutrients are going to your baby. Maybe try incorporating more fruits in your breakfast, maybe try creating a schedule to do pelvic floor exercises while the baby does tummy time. Whatever it may be, make it small and achievable.
Buy Things That Fit
We’ve heard so many times the phrases that we should bounce back, or have seen images of women who look all put together and back in their pre-pregnancy clothes. But for many of us, that simply won’t be. But please don’t sit there punishing your body for what it has gone through by trying to squeeze yourself into clothes that will not help your mindset.
Invest in clothes that fit your body and where it is at now. I would exercise caution immediately after birth going on a shopping spree, but after your body has had a period of time to adjust, give yourself some love by buying some clothes or a new bra that fits and flatters who you are now. Your body deserves to be celebrated with all the fluctuations we go through. Our bodies are meant to change, not to stay the same.
If you aren’t ready to go out shopping and need any tips on using tops you already have for breastfeeding, check out our article here.
Treat Your Food as Fuel
This is always a tricky topic, food can be so divisive and carry so much weight with it. However, just as the title says, food is fuel. It is what we need to move, to think, and to take care of our children. Please do not punish your body through food for the things it has accomplished for you. Allow yourself to have grace with food, be cautious to add diets, and protein shakes, and all things in, simply because society has an issue with you not being a covergirl model.
If you need any ideas on quick and easy snacks for recovery we’ve got you covered!
Incorporate a Gratitude Habit
Hear me out about this one, because I was super skeptical about this. I was really struggling postpartum and someone challenged me to do this. I dug my feet in, but grudgingly got a little notebook and did five things and then maxed at ten things I was grateful for each night.
It didn’t have anything to do with my body per se, and it was a big stretch on some nights (I mean things like, I’m thankful for my bed, or my husband gave me a hug). But I really feel, with hindsight, that the shift in my mental attitude changed, because of this one little habit I did nightly. Maybe you start at two things, and instead of a journal, it’s in the mirror, but I would give this little tip a try.
Try Some New Hobbies
For a long time, all I could worry about was feeding and sleeping schedules, and was too tired to care about much else, or just wanted to zone out with a screen. As we eased into better routines, I decided to try going back into things that made me happy. But you know what, some of those didn’t fit in with a child. Some old hobbies I tried and discovered I couldn’t handle at the time.
So I tried new ones, in small achievable ways. I tested out new recipes once a month, I started watercoloring (never had I ever considered myself an artist). There are times and there are places for things, so find the things you can do now, for you. You may just be surprised at how amazing they are in your Mom bod.
Give Yourself Time
I know another cliche, but really it’s true! It takes so much out of our bodies to go through pregnancy and birth, and even breastfeeding. It was so shocking to me how society is so two faced on certain issues and Moms and women’s bodies are right up near the top. It took me 13 months to feel like my head broke above the surface and I felt like myself in a way.
It will be different for every woman, and it is ok to not “bounce back,” if there even is such a thing. And according to research if you even want to have another baby, you notice the “if” right? If you want to have another baby, research suggests waiting 18-24 months.
It is ok to figure life out with a new human. It is ok to come slowly back to yourself, but please try to find yourself. I promise you are still in there, even with a few more pounds, stretch marks, and varicose veins.
This TedTalk,touches on great points surrounding our body image as women. The presenter also gives great tips to tune into your body at the end. If you need a pick me up, take a listen!
I hope you can feel my hug through the screen. You have an amazing body that maybe you’re having a hard time with right now, but guess what? You’re not alone. So many of us have looked in that mirror and sighed over something. But don’t you stay there. We have grown a human, have loved so hard it hurts, have found a different purpose than we had before and are watching them grow before our very eyes. Find empowerment in the changes and know that not only is your Mom bod enough, it is worth celebrating.
Niki Cowan has a background in Medicine and Public Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist as well as a Medical Assistant. She’s passionate about Women’s Health and empowering women in their journeys. She is married to her wonderful husband Kevin, and they have an active son. While trying to have another little one hasn’t worked out yet, she is pursuing her passions and hoping to gain further education and experience in the area she loves, while playing with her son. She’s an avid reader, Original Great British Baking Show watcher, and very amateur kickboxer.