Pregnancy changes your body and for some women the changes are more noticeable to others, but we can see them ourselves, no matter how subtle. It can be hard for some people to come to terms with their new shape after pregnancy, but for women who experience miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal loss, embracing your postpartum body can be more challenging.
You may have new marks, softer skin, or rounder hips. You may have extra weight on your body or scars where there were not before. It is a part of motherhood, a “badge of honor” for growing a human within your body, but we’re often told to focus on our baby and not worry about our body right now, give ourselves some time.
But, what happens when your baby dies and you’re left with this new body?
You have a swollen, empty abdomen. Full breasts with no baby to feed. Scars that show a different battle than other mothers and you may not feel comfortable in your own skin. Embracing your postpartum body can be complicated by anger and grief, but taking care of yourself is important for your health – physically and emotionally.
What can you do to help embrace and become comfortable with your postpartum body?
Try to make peace with your body
It’s understandable if you’re angry with your body and can’t understand why it failed you. It’s common to place blame on our bodies when it was supposed to nourish, protect, and grow our babies, but your body did the best it could. It is not your body’s fault just like it’s not yours and taking care of your body is important. Try to make peace with the new shape and changes, frame your inner dialogue in a positive way and take care of your body – it’s been through a lot too.
Take care of your body
Your body is grieving too and while it may not be easy to take care of yourself while you’re grieving, it’s important. Make sure you (or have someone else make sure you are) eating healthy foods and getting enough water each day.
Take care of your mind
When your doctor gives you the OK, do some relaxing exercises like yoga or just take the time to medicate each day.
Wear clothing that makes you feel good
Find clothing that makes you feel comfortable in your skin. You can talk to your doctor and see if a stomach binding would be safe to use while your uterus shrinks or just find clothing that gives you the coverage you need to feel comfortable.
Photo credit: adapted from rumpleteaser | Flickr