By Special Guest Danielle Stribula
Confident. Strong. Brave. Fit. Active.
These are words I would use to describe myself before I found out I was pregnant. I literally felt MY BEST the months leading up to that positive pregnancy test because I had just accomplished two years of CONSISTENT exercise and healthy eating habits, and I was just starting this challenging 80 day fitness program with all my virtual rockstars. Guys, I was KILLIN’ IT. I had ab definition, my shoulders looked UH-MAZING, and lemme tell you about my butt. It had some serious lift.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was so pumped to show ALL the ladies out there how you can be pregnant AND stay fit! I already saw myself as this inspiring mama-to-be who just empowered other pregnant women to stay active for their babies. AND THEN… the fatigue set in, and I became SUPER paranoid about what workouts I could and couldn’t do, and the THOUGHT of a vegetable had me running for the bathroom. When I started living off of sour batch and bagels, I knew things have taken a HARD turn for the worst. My pants felt tighter, my boobs got bigger, and I got hungrier. I remember being 12 weeks pregnant and thinking how flulffy I looked. I didn’t feel like a pregnant goddess… I felt like A LOAF OF BREAD. I lost ALL confidence and any prior feelings of beauty or sexiness.
You see, the way we see our bodies throughout motherhood has these ebbs and flows. It’s like you’re on this constant roller coaster where one minute you feel on top of the world and the next is a steep fall where you think you’ve hit rock bottom but then in this amazing rush you realize you’re still alive. I experienced this all throughout pregnancy and now as a new mama. It’s difficult to see our bodies change so drastically after we have worked so hard to become strong and confident.
One day I was feeling really sorry for myself and all these changes, and a friend told me, “Danielle, everything you are experiencing is for a reason. That big butt is better for those long nights when you sit and rock you baby. Those big boobs are better to feed your baby with and accommodate the swelling your heart will feel when you hold your beautiful baby. Embrace the chances, you are growing a human, a miracle.”
I look back now and see my pregnant body totally different, now that I have my baby girl in my arms. I see a thriving body that grew a perfect baby with 10 little fingers and 10 kissable toes, with two big blue eyes and a button nose, with the cutest little rolls and double chin, and the chubbiest little cheeks I ever did see. This perfect little baby was INSIDE OF ME. LIKE WHAT?! It’s amazing! Literally a miracle!
Every woman has a right to feel ALL the feels during pregnancy. It’s a drastic change, and your hormones make you feel crazy things. But remember, that the universe and God above chose YOU to carry and grow this baby. Allow yourself to feel HONORED that your body was able to perfectly align every cell and organ to create a human that you will have the pleasure of loving your entire life.
Ok, Ok, Ok… I know what you’re thinking!!! “All right, Danielle, so I know I’m awesome. I carried this baby, I birthed this baby, and I feed this baby… but NOW WHAT? I have no excuse for my ridiculously saggy, wrinkly, squishy body NOW!”
I get it. Just like when I was pregnant, all I could think was how I couldn’t wait to be cleared for exercise at that 6 week postpartum visit. I was going to inspire SO many moms to get back into it post-baby and rock those mom bods!! But then Layla went through a growth spurt, and started teething, and wanted snuggles, and started giggling, and looked at her mommy with those big blue eyes. And 12 weeks went by and I still hadn’t started any kind of fitness routine.
I probably could have felt really bad about myself. I probably could have felt guilty for not working out or meal prepping every Sunday. But you know why I didn’t? Because after experiencing child birth, and holding my baby for the very first time (OMG I’m crying just thinking about it), I knew my body was made to do amazing things. I knew my body was STRONG and ALIVE and FIT and that I was freaking brave as hell to follow the doctors orders and push a human out of me.
Mama. Your body is simply remarkable. Every wrinkle, every stretch mark, every weird thing your boobs and hoo-ha does… it’s a SYMBOL of your strength. It’s a symbol that your body has provided every single possible necessity for your baby so that she herself may grow strong and healthy. So look at yourself in the mirror and CELEBRATE THAT BODY.
And then, take care of your body. I don’t mean hit the gym to get back to prepregnancy weight or try to find your abs again. Your body is NOT the same body as it was before. Embrace that. But I do mean TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, physically and mentally so that you truly come to love your body again. Take up yoga, join a fit club with other moms, go to bootcamp, jog around the block, walk the park with your stroller, do anything that gets your body moving but also gives you peace of mind.
If you’re struggling to find a good start for yourself, then do not hesitate to reach out for help. There are mom groups, online coaches, group fitness classes, wellness communities and more. You were not meant to do this alone, and I can say from experience that having a village of other mommies who are also working to better themselves post baby is a GAME CHANGER.
I’m here for you mama and always know that you’re never alone on your way to a Healthy Mama & Happy Heart <3
About The Author
Danielle is a first time mom and a virtual wellness coach from Cleveland, Ohio. She has created a virtual health community where women have a place to rock goals, share struggles, all the while having fun together! You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.