Erica's New Book Releasing the Mother Load is officially out! Order your copy today!
LEARN MORE
Erica's New Book Releasing the Mother Load is officially out! Order your copy today!
LEARN MORE

February 20, 2024

November 11, 2020

Learning to Love Your Postpartum Body

E:
46
with
Lexie Kite, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of Beauty Redefined

What You'll Learn

  • Learning To Love And Accept Our Body
  • Defining Body Image
  • Disruptions To Our Body Image
  • Changing The Way We See Ourselves
  • Struggling With Shame About Their Body

During pregnancy, your body is changing so much! It grows through so much in the span of 9 months and grows an entire human being in the process! It is truly mind-blowing to think about! After our baby is born, we are met with so much pressure to snap back and look like we never gave birth. 

Our body is more than an ornament. It is an instrument that as moms, we need to embrace. It’s important for us to realize that how our body looks does not define who we are as a mom. Joining us is Co-Founder of Beauty Redefined Lexie Kite to discuss body image, share examples of our own journey with body image, and how we can love our body just the way it is.

Learning To Love And Accept Our Body

When I think about all of the people I respect and admire, none of it has anything to do with what they look like. But as women, we’re often told nothing we do matters if we’re not beautiful while doing it, and because of this, we limit ourselves. I can remember being afraid to start an Instagram account, because I didn’t think I looked like everyone else on Instagram.

Women often pass up opportunities because they don’t think they look right.

Lexie explained this is the idea of self-objectification. When we worry about how we’re showing up and what we look like as we move through life is what self-objectification is. Because we’re so worried about how other people may perceive us, we can’t be 100% in our lived experiences, and women often pass up opportunities because they don’t think they look right. “I’m too fat to go to the gym. I look funny when I work out.” Or, “I can’t run for office. I’m ugly. Who’s going to vote for me?” The list goes on because women tend to do this with a lot of things.

Defining Body Image

“Your body image is your relationship with your body,” Lexie said. “Your body image is how you feel about yourself, but it goes beyond your appearance. Positive body image isn’t just believing your body looks good. It’s knowing your body is good.”

Sometimes when we’re trying to help someone struggling with body image we say things like, “You’re beautiful just the way you are.” Lexie gave the example, “You’re so cute you’re going to change the world one day.” But all that does is reinforce self-objectification. We don’t bring up the way a man looks when he’s struggling with self-esteem.

Disruptions To Our Body Image

As new moms, our bodies have changed so much it can be disturbing to our body image. Even if you’re not a new mom, women face disruptions to our body image every day from comparing ourselves to other people or being bombarded with media messages of what we should look like. “Body image resilience is the ability to call out those disruptions as they happen and choose a new path, a new way forward,” Lexie said. 

Lexie explained that Kim Kardashian doesn’t leave her home for a year after she has a baby. It’s tempting to chalk this up to celebrity culture, but it’s not that unusual. A lot of women don’t want to be seen with all the changes to their body after having a baby. “Body image resilience is the ability to rise in the face of that pain,” she said.

We have a bank of data in our brains, and from the time we’re old enough to take in data, we’re bombarded with messages about what a woman should look like. Body image resilience is deciding if we’re going to use that information or discard it because it’s not serving us.

“In the U.S. in the average household women control up to 90% of the dollars spent. Women don’t make the most money, but we’re in charge of spending it,” Lexie said. This means marketers know one thing: if they can convince a young girl that beauty is her path to happiness and sell her what she needs to achieve that look, they’ve made a lifetime customer. 

Marketers know they need to convince a young girl that beauty is her path to happiness.

While women have always been targeted with ads for cosmetics, clothes, and accessories, postpartum moms are a new target for marketers. “It’s been the last 20 years at this point that new moms have been targeted with these really dehumanizing unrealistic ideals. Before that moms weren’t preyed upon. Now marketers know they have this incredible opportunity to get a woman when she's at her most vulnerable,” Lexie said. 

Changing The Way We See Ourselves

A lot of moms don’t know how to process the desire to be at their pre-pregnancy weight after baby comes because they’re being bombarded with social media images and commercials. Constantly, they are being told they should be embarrassed if they aren’t back to their pre-pregnancy weight. It doesn’t help that healthcare providers often encourage this too. 

“Start with anger,” Lexie said. She’s careful to point out you shouldn’t direct your anger at yourself or your body. Instead, you should be angry that an entire industry exists to prey upon the vulnerabilities of someone who just brought a life into the world and then sell them “the solution.” Just like you’d get mad at your ex to get over a bad breakup, get mad at the media and their sexist messaging and break up with unrealistic beauty standards.

Get mad at the media and their sexist messaging and break up with unrealistic beauty standards.

Once you understand the way you feel about your body isn’t because of you, but because of predatory capitalism and sexism, you should be able to be more gentle with yourself. Lexie has two suggestions for beginning to work through this. You can write a letter to your new baby and tell them about your childhood and your experiences with objectification. Another option is to remember back to a time before you worried about what you looked like—a time when you were just comfortable in your body— write a letter to that little girl. Tell her that her flaws are okay, and what she weighs or what she looks like doesn’t matter.

I was putting my oldest son to bed one night, and he saw the stretch marks on my tummy. He started playing with them, and he was so curious about how they got there. Then he started naming them. “This one is from me. This one is from Gabe!” He was so proud that there was evidence he lived in my tummy once. I've never looked at a stretch mark the same way again.

Struggling With Shame About Their Body

“Your brain on body shame tells you you’re disgusting,” Lexie said. Of course, the coping choices we make in flight or fight aren’t usually the healthiest and might not help us. “The things your brain tells you to do in that fight or flight is to fix it. Fix it in any way possible. Until you can fix it, hide it,’” Lexie said.

To disrupt that feeling of disgust, focus on your 5 senses. What do you see? Can you feel your own heart beating? Everything about your body is all evidence of the life you lived. 

Your body is an instrument, not an ornament.

“Your body is an instrument, not an ornament,” is Lexie’s mantra. This is a powerful reframe. If we can think of our body as an instrument all of the sudden, scars are mementos of experiences collected and stretch marks are reminders of the lives we’ve brought into the world. Even lost weight or gained weight can be evidence of our body—our instrument—bearing the brunt of coping with things we weren’t ready to handle. 

“What can you control that doesn’t have to do with your body as an ornament?” Lexie asked. Focusing on your mindset and reclaiming your body as your own will help you get to what you’re trying to accomplish. “Go after that goal directly,” Lexie said.

“The more you can just show up as you are in this world, you give people permission to show up too,” Lexie said. We’re not here to be objectified, and we can’t bring the value we have to offer to the world if we’re worried about hiding our bodies.

If you’re struggling with your postpartum body or to feel like yourself again, contact the wellness center. We want to help you!   

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Tags:

Postpartum body

Stage:

Postpartum, Motherhood

Share Now:

OUR GUEST

Lexie Kite, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of Beauty Redefined

Identical twins Lexie Kite, Ph.D. and Lindsay Kite, Ph.D. are co-founders of the non-profit Beauty Redefined and experts in the work of body image resilience. They reach millions worldwide via research-backed online education available on their website, social media, and through speaking events to tens of thousands across the US. Their forthcoming book More Than a Body, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. While many well-intentioned people promote positive body image from the basis of helping women realize and embrace their beauty, Beauty Redefined changes the conversation about body image by telling girls and women they are MORE than beautiful. Lexie and Lindsay assert positive body image is about feeling positively toward your body overall, not just what it looks like.

Erica Djossa
Erica Djossa
PMH-C | Founder of Momwell
Erica is the founder of Momwell, providing educational resources and virtual therapy for moms. She is a mom of three boys and a registered psychotherapist. Erica’s work has been featured in the Toronto Star, Breakfast Television, Scary Mommy, Medium, Pop Sugar, and Romper. how they want it.

RESOURCES MENTIONED

Lexie's Course: Body Image Resilience Program

Lexie’s Book: More Than A Body

RELATED ARTICLES
April 29, 2024
April 24, 2024
Understanding and Implementing Responsive Parenting: How to Break the Yelling/Shame Cycle
E:
222
with
Dr. Cindy Hovington
Founder of Curious Neuron
June 5, 2024
April 17, 2024
How to Maintain Friendships (and Make Friends) as a Mom
E:
221
with
Danielle Bayard Jackson
Author
June 5, 2024
April 10, 2024
How Stressed Moms Can Cope: Understanding and Breaking Out of the Stress Cycle
E:
220
with
Amelia Nagoski
Co-author of Burnout
June 5, 2024
February 28, 2024
How to Embrace Career Change as a Mom: Finding Your Passion and Overcoming Guilt
E:
214
with
Jess Galica
Career and Leadership Coach, Best-Selling Author
February 26, 2024
January 31, 2024
Postpartum Rage vs. Parental Anger: How Social Expectations Create Overwhelmed Moms
E:
210
with
Dr. Ashurina Ream
Founder and CEO of Psyched Mommy, licensed clinical psychologist
June 5, 2024
January 24, 2024
You’re Not an Angry Mom: Why We Experience Mom Rage (and What We Can Learn From It)
E:
209
with
Minna Dubin
Author of Mom Rage: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood
February 20, 2024
January 17, 2024
What Causes Mommy Brain? The Role of the Invisible Load on Forgetfulness and Brain Fog
E:
208
with
Dr. Jodi Pawluski
neuroscientist, psychotherapist and author
February 20, 2024
January 3, 2024
How Parents Can Avoid Information Overload: Maintaining Confidence in Our Decision-Making
E:
206
with
Cara Goodwin
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
November 29, 2023
Prioritizing the Invisible Load of Motherhood: Valuing Our Own Time and Letting Go of Mental Labor
E:
201
with
Whitney Casares
Founder and CEO of Modern Mommy Doc
February 20, 2024
November 15, 2023
Breaking Generational Trauma Cycles: Healing Our Past and Moving Forward in Motherhood
E:
199
with
Dr. Mariel Buqué
Psychologist and the author of the book Break the Cycle: A Guide to Healing Intergenerational Trauma
February 20, 2024
November 8, 2023
Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Perfectionism? Reframing the Concept of “Perfect” in Motherhood
E:
198
with
Katherine Morgan Schafler
Psychotherapist and author
February 20, 2024
October 11, 2023
Embracing the 7 Types of Rest: Why Moms Are Exhausted and What Actually Helps
E:
194
with
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
Board-Certified internal medicine physician and award-winning author
February 20, 2024
October 4, 2023
Interpreting Newborn Hunger Cues and Sleepy Signs: How to Learn Your Baby’s Needs
E:
193
with
Sharon Mazel
Author of Bite-Sized Parenting: Your Baby’s First Year
February 20, 2024
September 20, 2023
Managing Mom Anxiety: Why Millennial Moms Are So Anxious and How to Overcome Our Fears
E:
191
with
Dr. Lauren Cook
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
September 13, 2023
Embracing Power as Moms: Reshaping Dynamics In and Out of the Home
E:
190
with
Claire Shipman
NYT Bestselling Author
February 20, 2024
September 6, 2023
How to Raise Confident Kids: Breaking Cycles of Negative Self-Esteem
E:
189
with
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic
February 20, 2024
August 23, 2023
Understanding Sensory Self-Care: How Overstimulated Moms Can Regulate and Regain Calm
E:
187
with
Holly Peretz
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
February 20, 2024
August 16, 2023
Navigating Matrescence: The Roller Coaster of Becoming a Mom
E:
186
with
Dr. Catherine Birndorf
Co-Founder and Medical Director of The Motherhood Center of New York
February 20, 2024
July 26, 2023
The Journey of a Bereaved Parent: Stefania Thomson’s Story of Navigating Grief and Loss
E:
183
with
Stefania Thomson
Bereavement and Grief Advocate
February 20, 2024
June 21, 2023
Myths About Toddler Behavior: How to Reclaim the "Terrible Twos"
E:
178
with
Dr. Cathryn Tobin
Pediatrician
February 20, 2024
April 19, 2023
Overcoming Grief as Our Children Age: The Value of Acceptance and How to Be More Present
E:
169
with
Bryana Kappadakunnel
Marriage & Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
March 29, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 2: Facing Pregnancy After a Traumatic Birth
E:
166
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
February 20, 2024
March 22, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 1: How Birth Trauma Impacts Our Family Decision Making
E:
165
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
February 20, 2024
March 15, 2023
Real Self-Care for Moms: Why Mindset Matters More Than Massages
E:
164
with
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
February 8, 2023
Overcoming Mom Guilt: Rewriting the Motherhood Contract and Charting Your Own Path
E:
159
with
Libby Ward
Founder of Diary of an Honest Mom
February 20, 2024
January 11, 2023
Understanding Baby Temperament: How to Tune Into Your Child’s Natural Personality
E:
155
with
Dr. Cara Goodwin
Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
December 28, 2022
Coping During Postpartum with No Family Support: When Reality Clashes with Expectations
E:
153
with
Emmalee Bierly and Jennifer Chaiken
Founders of ShrinkChicks
February 20, 2024
November 23, 2022
The Mental Load of Motherhood: How to Address the Imbalance of Household Labour
E:
148
with
Gemma Hartley
Journalist and Author
February 20, 2024
November 16, 2022
Surviving the Baby Witching Hour: How to Cope With Colicky and Fussy Babies
E:
147
with
Dr. Whitney Casares
Pediatrician
February 20, 2024
November 2, 2022
How To Deal With Toxic Positivity As a Mom: What To Do When Someone Invalidates Your Feelings
E:
145
with
Whitney Goodman
Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
October 19, 2022
Returning to Work After Maternity Leave: Navigating the Emotions, Difficulties, and Challenges
E:
143
with
Dr. Cassidy Freitas
Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
October 12, 2022
How to Know if You Have Postpartum Anxiety: Red Flags to Watch for in Pregnancy, Birth, and After Baby
E:
142
with
Dr. Sarah Oreck
Reproductive Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
October 5, 2022
Protecting Maternal Sleep: The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation and Postpartum Depression
E:
141
with
Dr. Nicole Leistikow
Reproductive Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
February 20, 2024
September 21, 2022
Encouraging Independent Play: Why Unstructured Play Matters and How to Foster It
E:
139
with
Susie Allison
Founder of Busy Toddler
April 25, 2024
August 31, 2022
Why Does a Messy House Give Me Anxiety? How to Stress Less About Cleaning and Keep Your House Functioning
E:
136
with
KC Davis
@domesticblisters on TikTok and Founder of Struggle Care
February 20, 2024
August 3, 2022
Overcoming Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: Why Support Matters and How to Find Resources to Help
E:
132
with
Dr. Wendy Davis
Executive Director of PSI
February 20, 2024
July 27, 2022
Overcoming Working Mom Guilt: Why Moms Should Never Be Ashamed to Be Ambitious
E:
131
with
Lara Bazelon
Law Professor and Author
February 20, 2024
February 16, 2022
What is Matrescence? The Transition into Motherhood (And Why Being a New Mom is Hard)
E:
108
with
Dr. Katayune Kaeni
Perinatal Psychologist
February 20, 2024
February 9, 2022
How to Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby: Planning, Introducing, and Keeping Everyone Safe
E:
107
with
Dominika Knossalla
Certified Dog Trainer
February 20, 2024
February 2, 2022
Discover Your Personal Core Values
E:
106
with
Dr. Cassidy Freitas
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
January 26, 2022
When Mommy Rage Strikes: How to Prevent and Control the Anger
E:
105
with
Dr. Ashurina Ream
Founder of Psyched Mommy
February 20, 2024
January 5, 2022
Sleep Training Doesn't Have To Be Scary
E:
102
with
Dr. Aubrie DeBear
Founder of Baby Sleep Dr.
February 20, 2024
January 19, 2022
Carrying the Mental Load: How to Redistribute the Burden and Give Moms More Freedom
E:
104
with
Eve Rodsky
New York Times Bestselling Author
February 20, 2024
January 12, 2022
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression: How to Spot the Signs So You Can Seek Support
E:
103
with
Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis
Reproductive Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
December 29, 2021
Decluttering: The Secret of an Easy to Tidy Home
E:
101
with
Katy Wells
Declutter Expert
February 20, 2024
December 22, 2021
100th Episode: Erica’s Husband Tells All
E:
100
with
Frenel Djossa
February 20, 2024
December 15, 2021
The Pressure to Get It Right
E:
99
with
Dr. Jen Douglas
Psychologist
February 20, 2024
December 1, 2021
The One and Done Family
E:
97
with
Renee Reina, Ph.D.
Founder of The Mom Room
February 20, 2024
November 24, 2021
Overcoming Gender Disappointment
E:
96
with
Dr. Renée Miller
Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
November 17, 2021
Adding a Sibling to Your Family
E:
95
with
Bryana Kappadakunnel
Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
November 10, 2021
Regulating Your Nervous System
E:
94
with
Dr. Quincee Gideon
Psychologist
February 20, 2024
October 13, 2021
Momming With ADHD
E:
90
with
Dr. Melissa Shepard
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
February 20, 2024
October 6, 2021
Supporting NICU Moms
E:
89
with
Kristin Reinhart
Registered Social Worker
February 20, 2024
September 29, 2021
Alcohol, CBD, and Cannabis While Pregnant and Nursing
E:
88
with
Dr. Jennifer Lincoln
OB-GYN