Browsing Tag

body image

Fashion, Pregnancy

Does my body need changing? Or does my heart?

August 20, 2015

Let’s talk about body image. It’s been a topic that I haven’t talked about much post-baby, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been on my mind plenty over the past 6 months.

Going into pregnancy I was fearful about how my body would adjust and adapt to pregnancy and the postpartum period. I’ve never had a super fast metabolism and have always had to be relatively mindful of what and how much I eat in order to keep my weight in check. But, let’s be honest, I love a little chocolate at the end of a long day or a glass of wine now and again.

Now, 6 months postpartum, I have my good days and days when I’m more critical of my body that I think makes any sense. I don’t really have a lot of extra baby weight to lose, I’m active and at my most recent physical my doctor told me everything indicates that I’m living a very healthy life. But too often I find myself falling into the perfectionist mentality where my body is concerned.

Someone told me once that the problem with “good enough” for a perfectionist is that even when it’s good, it’s never enough. And isn’t that the truth? But when I think about it, I realize that’s not the legacy I want to leave. I want good to be enough and to find satisfaction in imperfection and flaws, even if that means making peace with a little extra softness around my middle or going up a size in my favorite jeans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating against living a healthy lifestyle or in support of unhealthy eating. Living a healthy and active life makes me feel great and is something I’m deeply committed to for so many reasons. But sometimes I catch myself sliding down a dangerous slope, one that says it’s not enough. A little voice in my head advocates against balance and moderation and pushes me toward perfection.

Becoming a mom has changed the way I want to look at my body and relate to those around me. When I point out my bodily flaws, however minor they may be, I think about little miss Ainsley doing the same thing one day. Right now, at 6 months of age, when I sit her down in front of the mirror her face breaks out in the biggest smile. She sees herself and loves what she’s looking at! If only we could all have the same reaction, right?

I want to set an example for her. I want her to be able to look in the mirror when she gets older and beam at the beautiful little girl and young woman God created.

So if you’re struggling with your self-image, maybe take a look at your heart first? I know in my case it’s an important barometer. There are plenty of reasons to pursue health and fitness, and there are also a myriad of instances when good really is enough.

Come on, ladies! I need to hear your personal stories. How have you adapted, accepted and come to peace with your postpartum body? Maybe you’re still working on it? I would love to hear in the comments below!



Ainsley 1 Month Update

March 25, 2015

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I can’t believe that our little baby is 1 month old today! The last month seems to have been the longest, shortest, best, hardest month of our lives; motherhood is such a study in contrasts, isn’t it? I’m tempted to say that I want to go back and do it all over again, this last month, but that wouldn’t be true. Although the last month has been wonderful, adjusting to life with a new little person is a huge learning curve and I’m thankful that we have a month under our belts! The more we learn about her, the more we are able to enjoy her!

So, let’s talk about this little lady, shall we? (Side note: I’m not looking for a debate on parenting styles, since I know the topic is very polarizing. I’m simply sharing what works for us.)

Likes and Dislikes: She loves bath time more than anything! We give her a bath every night before bed time and I swear she would stay in there forever if we let her. She also loves eating, sleeping, cuddling with mom and dad and having people sing to her. Every time someone breaks into song she falls into a trance. It’s so cute! She dislikes having her diaper/clothes changed, being cold and having to wait for food. Don’t we all?!

Daytime Schedule: During the day, Ainsley is on a 3 hour eat-play-sleep cycle. She wakes up at 6:30 every morning and eats every three hours until she goes to bed around 9:30/9:45. In the last week her “play/awake” time has been getting a bit longer as she has been more alert, which is so much fun. It’s great to see her little personality more and more. Little lady loves to nap and takes most of her naps in her crib, although I’ll take all the naps she wants to take on my chest, too, since I know those days are limited and her cuddles are just so sweet!

Eating: She eats like a champ! We had some issues with breastfeeding from the start, so about a week in we switched to bottle feeding breast milk while I exclusively pump. It made all the difference in the world! She is eating 4 to 5 ounces every three hours during the day with the occasional 6 ounce bottle thrown in there when she is really hungry.

Sleep: As I mentioned above Ainsley is pretty predictable in terms of schedule. She sleeps 2 to 2 1/2 hour stretches during her daytime naps. Around 6:30 she has her dinner bottle and then we keep her awake as long as possible with a little cat nap thrown in before her last bottle of the evening, around 9 or 9:30, depending on how long we can hold her off.

She has been waking up once around 1:30 for another feeding and then sleeping again until 6 or 6:30 when we begin the day again! Lately she has been waking up around 4 or 4:30, which we are trying to drop, since she only eats about an ounce before she dozes off again, making me think she isn’t actually that hungry. If we can get her to consistently only wake once a night, I will be one happy (and well-rested) momma!

Puppy Update: A lot of people have wondered how Nutmeg and Pippa are doing with the transition, and honestly they are doing really well! Nutmeg is the perfect dog, of course, and has transitioned so well to having another little creature in the house to share the attention with. Pippa is having a slightly harder time since she was the one who always needed to be in my lap and now that lap is occupied with a baby! But both dogs are very interested and curious about Ainsley rather than threatened or aggressive, which is an answered prayer. Our biggest challenge is keeping Pippa from licking Ainsley’s mouth all the time!

Family Transition: I think I could write an entire post on the transition that takes place when you go from being a couple to a family of three with a little human that seems to be guiding and directing your days. I don’t think I was quite ready for how challenging that aspect of parenthood would be! Especially since I’m home all day with Ainsley right now, I crave time with Joe more than anything and the time we have together when he comes home from work feels so short. It seems most of our night is spent trying to cram as much as possible into a short few hours, and once Ainsley goes to bed we are ready to fall asleep because we are so darn exhausted! Right now there seems to be very little time for just the two of us, but I’m anticipating that it will get better as Ainsley gets a little older and starts going to bed earlier, sleeping longer, etc.

I had a minor breakdown last weekend because I wasn’t doing a great job at voicing what I needed from Joe in terms of support in this whole parenting gig. Sometimes I have the tendency to not voice anything that’s bothering me until I reach the meltdown stage. Not healthy, for sure! What came out of the meltdown and ensuing conversation was that I needed a couple days a week where I got an hour or so to myself after Joe gets home from work. So we settled on three days a week being gym days for Joe after work and two days a week being “me” days, whatever that means. Sometimes that is a walk outside when the weather is nice, a trip out to run errands by myself, going to the gym to sit in the sauna, etc. Craving out even a little time sans-baby has been so good for my mental health!

Mommy Body Update: I think I’m going to do an entire series on postpartum body image and transition, so I’ll keep this short. I’m feeling really good now that I’m a month out from labor and delivery! I think I’ve healed really well for the most part and I’m feeling more like myself every day. I’m trying to be patient with my body and give myself plenty of time to get back to really feeling and looking like my old self, which is challenging, but I keep reminding myself that it took me 9 months to grow this baby, so if it takes 9 months to get back in pre-baby shape, that’s totally fine! I’ve been getting out and being more and more active – lots of long walks and a few light jogs as well. It’s felt great to sweat a little bit and get my body moving every day!

Resources: For those of you who are curious, we are using Babywise and Moms on Call as our resources for scheduling and general baby/newborn care. They are very similar in approach, but I found the Moms on Call a bit easier to understand and digest while I was pregnant. Now that I actually have a baby, Babywise makes a lot more sense than it did before.



Pregnancy and Body Image

February 23, 2015

photo (69)I’ve spent a lot of time over the years writing about body image on this site. It’s been such a blessing to hear stories from so many other women who have struggled with body confidence and self-acceptance and are now loving and embracing their bodies and all that they can do. Although I’ve made huge strides over the years in loving and appreciating my own body, I have to admit that I was very, very worried about my body and the way it would change and transition while pregnant. Having finally found a happy place with eating and exercising, I felt more at peace in my own skin prior to getting pregnant this time around than I had ever felt before. And that led to a lot of fears and questions.

How would my body adjust to being pregnant? Would I swell up like a balloon? Would my body change in ways that I would never be able to recover from? Were the days of feeling fit and pretty over for good?

Of course, I didn’t feel like I could really express these fears and concerns because we had prayed so diligently for our little miracle baby. I was truly thrilled to be pregnant and didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea by me complaining or expressing concerns about my body. How silly to worry about my body image when God gave me this amazing, miraculous life growing inside me!

But the truth is, those fears are normal and valid. It doesn’t diminish the excitement of your pregnancy and baby and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad momma, either. There are a few things that I’ve learned about body image along this pregnancy journey that I wanted to share in case there are others out there who are pregnant, newly pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant sometime soon.

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The photo above? That’s me right after finding out we were pregnant with Baby H. Someone should have slapped me for ever having a “fat day” because at 39 weeks pregnant, I would kill to look like that again! Which brings me to my first point…

1. Pregnancy will make you appreciate your pre-pregnancy body in ways you never thought possible. 
I’ve looked back at the photos on my phone from my pre-pregnancy days and been ashamed at the thoughts that I remember having about my body at the time the photos were taken. I remember thinking that I looked chubby or out of shape, picking apart my thighs or stomach. But the truth is, pregnancy has given me an entirely new appreciation for my pre-pregnancy body. Was it perfect? Absolutely not! But my body was fit, healthy and I think I looked pretty darn good. So if you’re not currently pregnant, appreciate your pre-pregnancy body. It’s more beautiful than you can imagine!

2. There are great things about your pregnant body, too! 
I’m sure everyone is quick to tell you about the horrible things that come with pregnancy, like the swollen feet, achy back and stretch marks, but the changes that your body undergoes are just plain miraculous. The more I read about pregnancy, the more amazed I was by my body’s ability to grown and change to accommodate a new little life.

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3. Don’t listen to discouraging stories!
You know what drives me crazy? When people are quick to tell you that you’ll never “get your body back” after baby or that it’s all downhill from here on out. I’m not going into the post-pregnancy period thinking it’s going to be easy, but I’m also not setting myself up to fail by believing that I’ll never feel or look like myself again. I’m fully expecting my body to be changed after baby, but I’m also expecting that with a serious dose of hard work I’ll be able to feel like myself in due time.

If you’re looking for a serious dose of encouragement, read my friend Robin’s amazing story of body after baby. We need more of those amazing stories!

4. It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, your body may surprise you!
Everyone experiences pregnancy differently. Just because your sister-in-law’s feet grew two sizes or your best friend had horrible stretch marks that never went away doesn’t mean anything for your own experience. Personally I was terrified of stretch marks and gaining 65 pounds, but my body blew me away with how it handled pregnancy. I’ve gained a reasonable amount of weight, my wedding rings are still on and I’m still wearing my favorite pairs of shoes. After two miscarriages I went into this pregnancy with a lot of fear and distrust of my body, but this experience has helped rebuild the trust I have in my body and renewed my appreciation.

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5. Give yourself some grace, but not a free pass.
Hollywood totally glamorizes the crazy pregnancy cravings and eating entire pints of ice cream in one sitting while you’re growing a baby. While I certainly haven’t restricted my food intake while pregnant, I’ve also tried to be reasonable about the indulgences along the way. Knowing that my body only needed about 300 extra calories in the second trimester and 500 extra calories in the third trimester put my eating into perspective. I became more interested in making my calories count in the form of nutrient-dense foods rather than wasting my calories in the form of empty nutritional sources.

That said, there were plenty of times when I indulged in dessert or an extra slice of pizza and did so without any regret. There is no sense in beating yourself up along the way! There should be a few fun perks during pregnancy, right?!

6. Stay as active as possible for your mental sanity.
I had grand visions of running through my entire pregnancy and maintaining a fairly intense workout routine. However, I experienced horrible groin pain from about 17 weeks on, making exercise, especially running, difficult. I quickly adjusted my expectations for workouts while pregnant. Running was off the table but I found that pregnancy DVDs, long walks and hand and body weight exercises were enough to keep me feeling good physically and mentally. Plus, I have to imagine that staying active while pregnant will help when I’m trying to get back in shape after baby.

7. Invest in a pregnancy wardrobe. 
This may be a debatable suggestion, but I would strongly suggest investing in some great pieces of clothing during your pregnancy. Doing so really helped me feel like myself even as my body was changing and helped me maintain a sense of personal style. Although pregnancy is “only 9 months” as many will tell you, that’s a long 9 months to wear clothing that doesn’t make you feel good about your body. There are plenty of reasonably-priced options for maternity wear. My favorites? Gap Maternity and ASOS Maternity!

Other mommas out there, what would you add to this list? 

Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Second Trimester: Maternity Fashion and Body Image

September 4, 2014

photoThe first evidence of a growing bump! (above)

Hello again! I feel like it’s been forever since I checked in with you all. California wine country was absolutely wonderful and I plan to put a full travel post together soon, but travel posts always take me such a long time. In the meantime, let’s sit down and have some good old fashioned girl talk about babies, body image and maternity fashion, shall we?

I’ve always been so excited to be pregnant and have a family of my own, especially given the rocky road we’ve journeyed to have this baby, but, given my body image struggles of the past, I was more than a little nervous about seeing my body grow and change over the 9+ months of pregnancy.

I don’t want this to come across as complaining in any way, because as I mentioned we are so very thankful,  but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that seeing your body grow and change and having it be out of your control can be extremely unsettling at times, especially when you have a rocky body-image past.  I’ve been careful to watch what I say and monitor my thought processes about my growing body, appreciating what my body is doing (growing a human!) rather than what scares me, like the extra pounds and squishy bits that weren’t there before.

One of the things that’s been helpful is to buy and wear clothing that fits my body in its current state, rather than trying to fit into items that used to fit a certain way and now fit quite different. Since I’m on the tall side, I’m just barely showing shy of 15 weeks, meaning most maternity clothes don’t seem necessary but some of my old favorites (especially the waist-defining dresses I love) don’t fit, either.

Last week I went shopping and picked up a handful of dresses from Banana Republic and Gap Outlet that are looser and stretchy, meaning my bump will have some room to grow. I also picked up a shift dress from Anthropologie that I should be able to wear for months to come.

As far as maternity clothes go, I would love your suggestions! I recently splurged on a dress from Hatch Collection (the Afternoon Dress in black if you’re interested) which felt like a total indulgence. Since wearing Hatch exclusively isn’t in the budget, I would love to hear where you found the best fun, trendy and affordable maternity pieces. Anywhere I should be looking ?



No Fat Talk Tuesday: Sarah’s Story

February 7, 2012

Hello there Espresso and Cream readers! My name is Sarah, I am wife to Abel, mom to 3 month old Simeon and I blog at The Crosby Show.

I was encouraged when I read Madison’s “No Fat Talk” resolution, because let’s face it, in the past year my body has taken quite a beating in the form of pregnancy, labor, and delivery – more on that in a minute.

My story begins in Jr. High. I was at a swim party and the water was freezing. A “friend” commented that Sarah should be fine since she has a little more fat to keep her warm. Ouch! Needless to say, this was the start of a long (and continuous) battle with negative self-image. Not only did I struggle with negative thoughts, but I put those thoughts into action and fought the battle of anorexia throughout high school.

I am very blessed to have an amazing family and friends who caught this early. They got me the help that I needed to recover before any major damage was done to my body. I discovered what the Lord had to say about my self-image and how he thought I was “beautifully and wonderfully made” and for the first time began to believe it.

I met my (hottie) husband in college and in 2010 we married. Even knowing my husband and more importantly that the Lord thought I was beautiful, I still battled negative self talk and constantly compared myself to others.

February 2011, Abel and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were expecting a baby. We couldn’t wait to meet our little bundle. As the months passed, so did my growing belly. For the first time I was proud and even a little excited to watch my body change and grow, but in the back of my mind I knew there was going to be a long road ahead of me to get my body back to the way it was pre-baby.

October came and our sweet boy, Simeon Kade made his grand debut. To say it was one of the best days of my life is an understatement!

My son was 2 ½ months old when I read Madison’s New Year’s resolution to keep her mind and mouth positive about her body.  It came at the perfect time for me since I still had a few of those aggravating extra pounds that I hadn’t let myself forget! I was working out, eating healthy, even breastfeeding, but the pounds wouldn’t budge. I was tearing myself down mentally all of the time because my jeans and my shirts were a bit too snug. This was making me a negative person in all aspects of my life. 

After I saw the “No Fat Talk” resolution I knew I needed to take the challenge and boy, has it made a difference. I decided that I am going to embrace my new mama body! Is my stomach a little stretched out? Yes, but when those negative thoughts come creeping in I remind myself that I grew a human in this body for 9 months! And yes, my hips are a little wider, but my body needed to make room for him to come out! How awesome is that? My body did exactly what it needed to do to keep my son healthy.  One of my favorite Bible verses sums it up: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

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