Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D.
Body image issues after giving birth
How can I heal body image issues after giving birth? Once you have a baby things change. Your body will change. Your hormones will change. Your sex drive will go down. In the first year after having a baby you have almost zero libido. It’s good information to tell your husband, so he doesn’t take it personally when you don’t want to have sex all the time. It’s natural. It’s considered a survival mechanism. Evolutionary psychology talks about how this is the way mothers would protect the children, because if they’re not procreating, their attention is on the infants.
There’s also the issue of body image and body changes. It’s true your body is completely different than how it was before. And this is where the best thing you can do is close the door to popular media and culture if at all possible. Put away the Cosmopolitan and the Glamour and then burn them. Because that is not what your body will look like, nor should it ever have looked like that. It probably never looked like that anyway . So stop putting those plastic images in your head. The goal here becomes to truly appreciate what your body did and to really love yourself.
There are three things you can do, three simple things. First, look at yourself in the mirror naked. Just admire your body after you had a child. Look at it for what it’s done. Wow, look what I did! Look what I brought into the world. I’m proud of myself. Look how beautiful I am. Admire all your different parts.
The second thing you can do is touch yourself. There are a lot of women who aren’t comfortable touching themselves. I am not even talking at masturbation. I’m talking about just putting lotion on your legs. You don’t have to masturbate. Just touch your body, put lotion or oil on your legs. Give your legs a massage. Touch your arms. This will slowly in an unconscious level teach you to start appreciating your body.
The third thing you can do is invest in quality product and food for yourself. Don’t scrimp. Don’t go to McDonald’s and, think, well, I don’t deserve good things. Know that you are a beautiful, incredible goddess and you deserve health and quality organic food and things that will nourish you from the inside out. Once you start to become in tune with your body, you shut the door to the external media and all these negative images, and you start to really invest in quality products and food for yourself. You’ll start feeling different. It will take about a year or two, and that seems like a long time, but it will go very quickly. It’s an essential part of your new phase of your life.
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