I’ve been chatting recently with an awesome lady on Instagram (go follow her) about how our sexuality changes after having babies. I realized a huge part of that for me is because I lost a lot of my confidence after my pregnancy.
And I’m definitely not alone. Over 40% of the women in this survey said they were more self-conscious in front of their partner. A third even said their confidence had hit rock bottom.
Then there was a study done that found, in general, a woman’s confidence decreases throughout pregnancy, increases in the first six months postpartum, and then decreases again. They followed the women in the study for three years, and the confidence of these women just kept decreasing over time. (Unsurprisingly, with the decrease in confidence came a decrease in relationship satisfaction.)
Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All views are 100% my own. I only promote products I believe in.
My Self-Esteem Story
I went off the handle during pregnancy. Prior to pregnancy, I was always conscious of calories. Thanks to my eating disorder, I was always painfully aware of what I was eating.
But pregnancy, for me, was an excuse to indulge in each craving. A chance to eat without guilt. I was eating for my baby after all.
I didn’t keep track of my weight, but I know I gained over 50 pounds. Which is a lot (the general recommendation being around 35 pounds). And after I gave birth, I didn’t lose it instantly as I had hoped. I lost around 25 pounds. (Like I said, I wasn’t weighing myself, so the numbers are estimates)
That left me 25 pounds heavier than I had ever been in my life. It actually put my BMI in the overweight range. I had never been overweight before. And I had never worried about becoming overweight.
My ego was crushed. Obliterated. Demolished. I wasn’t a very confident lady to begin with, and after pregnancy, I lost almost all of my confidence. I hid my “fat, ugly” body. I was painfully self-conscious, which even fueled my social anxiety. I became a hermit and essentially just focused on my baby.
Which is what moms are supposed to do, right? Moms don’t need to feel confident (or even comfortable) in their bodies.
OF COURSE THEY DO.
Ladies, it is time we reclaim our confidence, right now. Today. You ready?
Here are the steps I’m taking to boost my confidence after pregnancy.
Exercise and Eat Better
I know you don’t want to hear this (or at least I didn’t). But the biggest thing that has helped me is the knowledge that I’m doing something. I spent 11 months hating my body but, quite frankly, too tired to do anything about it.
I ate what was convenient. I didn’t move as much as I should have. I barely felt human.
Then, really suddenly, I decided I needed to change. Not just because of the weight, but I wanted to set a good example for our son. I wanted him to grow up eating fruits and veggies, which he wouldn’t do if he never saw me doing.
It took a lot longer for me to start exercising. It’s actually only been the past couple weeks. But I feel so much happier. First of all, because I’m actively doing something to change my situation. Second, because exercise is proven to boost your mood and energy.
If nothing else, this step will make you feel better simply because you’re treating your body the way it deserves to be treated.
Buy New Clothes
Ladies, I know first-hand how hard this is. My first few months postpartum, all I wore was sweats. Then, I finally started wearing jeans, but I only had two pairs that fit me.
I was stubborn. New clothes meant accepting my new size. New clothes meant admitting defeat. But, one of my jeans got holes in it and my husband told me I had to get some new clothes.
I can’t even explain the change this made. Yes, I was sad to look at the number on those clothes. My eating disorder started screaming at me. I was ashamed. But, I felt so much more comfortable, and I felt a glimmer of the confidence I had lost.
Wearing jeans that fit my body made me feel like I actually had some sort of shape. I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, but at least I can accentuate my curves now!
Related: Eating Disorders and Motherhood
I bought a super cheap wrap (it claimed to be shapewear) after a few months postpartum. It’s sitting in my drawer unused. First of all, it was so uncomfortable and itchy. Second, it was ridiculously noticeable under my clothes. I think I wore it a total of twenty minutes.
I was bummed. I basically just tried to ignore my jiggle. I knew there was better shapewear out there, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me.
Then I found Hourglass Angel.
I’d always wanted to try quality shapewear, but I put off investing in shapewear because of a few reasons:
- The cost, there is no denying that good shapewear is pricey
- What if it couldn’t contain my new belly?
- What if it contains my belly, but is super noticeable under my clothes?
- What if it just gives me bulges elsewhere?
Essentially, I was worried I’d spend a pretty penny, and have it be unusable. I didn’t need another item taking up space in a drawer and collecting dust.
I cannot explain how much I regret waiting. I have a jelly belly, mummy tummy, whatever you wanna call it. Well, not when I’m wearing this baby. It is an instant confidence boost. And I don’t know about you, but I’m all for instant gratification.
Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s also so worth it. I can’t even describe the quality of the fabric. It is so soft to the touch! No itchiness at all! Plus, I learned that with high-end shapewear, you can actually shrink your waist. It’s called waist training.
Waist Training Basics
I wasn’t interested at first. But then I saw the before and after photos over at Hourglass Angel. They’re pretty impressive.
For a beginner (like me) they recommend taking it slow. Start wearing your shapewear for only a few hours at a time and build up to a full 8-10 hour day. The first time I wore it, I kept it on about three hours and it actually wasn’t uncomfortable like I assumed it’d be.
Judging by the pictures on their website, after about two months of wearing your shapewear 8-10 hours a day, you can start to see amazing results! You actually obtain an “hourglass” figure.
I plan on doing an update on this post to let you know if I saw any results, but that will probably be in a few months.
If you don’t want to commit to wearing this every day, you could definitely just save it for special occasions (like date night!). That was my original plan, but the idea of waist training is intriguing to me!
To be clear, shapewear isn’t a magical weight loss secret. Hourglass Angel specifically recommends using their products in addition to a healthy diet and exercise plan. It’s shapewear, not weight-loss-wear.
How Shapewear Boosted my Confidence
I have a certain style of t-shirt that I wear almost every day. When I worked in retail, I bought tons. They come in a million patterns and I wore them throughout my entire pregnancy because they are so stretchy and comfortable.
When I had my son, I quickly realized I’d be continuing to wear these shirts because their v-neck provides great boob access for my nursing baby.
The only downside?
They are pretty form-fitting. Which meant my belly jiggle was on full display. No more!
Even though these shirts are thin and form-fitting, you can’t tell I have shapewear on! This means I get to wear my favorite tees without the jiggle.
I was dancing around the kitchen for my son, and I was amazed at the confidence boost. Normally, I try to ignore that feeling of my belly when I’m moving around. But without that insecurity, I was able to have more fun.
I am seriously impressed by this shapewear. If you’d like to try it, use code “SHIPIT” for free shipping, and check them out here.
Wear Makeup or Whatever Makes You Feel Sexy
For me, doing my makeup is an instant confidence boost. I know that isn’t the case for all women, so you’ll need to find your “thing”.
Maybe it’s having a perfect manicure. Or having your hair done. Maybe it’s as simple as a nice, hot shower. Whatever it is, do it.
I admit that I don’t do my makeup as much as I’d like to anymore. I used to wear it every day, now it’s maybe once a month. But I plan on working on it. Makeup makes such a huge difference for me. Even just some foundation and concealer makes me ten times more confident.
Make a goal for yourself that you’ll do this one thing that makes you feel sexy more often!
Related: The Most Inspiring Motherhood Quotes
Treat Yourself the Way You’d Treat Your Child
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, right? But it’s such a powerful idea. Would you ever talk to your child the way you talk to yourself? Would you pinch their pudge and call it disgusting? Would you tell them they don’t deserve to feel confident until they lose ten pounds?
What if your child truly was overweight, and for health reasons, needed to lose some weight? How would you approach them? What would you tell them?
I have a feeling you would be much more gentle with them than you are with yourself. You would probably help them make healthier choices, but you would never force them to go on some extreme diet. You might tell them you’re going to help them be more active, but you would never force them to spend hours at the gym, being miserable.
Your inner child is still in there and deserves to be treated gently, the way you’d treat your child.
Talk to Yourself the Way You Hope Your Child Will Talk to Themselves
Similar, but slightly different. Kids are sponges, right? But often times, we assume they only soak up what they hear. But what about what they intuit or even see?
If they find you in front of the mirror, sucking in your gut or pinching your love handles, what message are you sending? If they catch you making a disapproving face each time you look in the mirror, what does that say?
Whether you’re speaking with words or simply with body language, your children will learn it. I don’t know about you, but I hope my son has a much healthier body image than I have. I hope he learns to honor and respect his body. To listen to and trust it. And to nourish and care for it.
But it’s hard to imagine him doing any of that if I can’t lead by example. I want him to grow up knowing how amazing every body is. Regardless of size.
Ladies, it all starts with us.
What do you do to boost your confidence? How has your self-esteem changed since having kids?
If you want to try some shapewear, go check out Hourglass Angel and use code “SHIPIT” for free shipping!