The Secret to a Liking Your Body After a Baby

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are you ready for the secret to liking your body after a baby? get out your pen and paper or water colors and canvas (how you take notes is up to you). i had this epiphany two months ago and it has changed my relationship with my body post-baby.

the secret?

wear clothes that fit.

how did i arrive to this wildly ingenious secret? i shall tell you.

how to love your body after a baby

let’s back up to before i was even pregnant. i actually loved my body the past few years. i had my workout routines down, i was eating pretty darn healthy (and yes, that includes a donut every now and then). i felt confident in my body, i loved my legs, i had like 2.5 abs that would pop out if i lifted my arms up and ran in place while in front of a mirror with my shirt up (don’t ask how i know this). i felt good. this was new for me and exciting to be pretty much at peace with my outer appearance.

then the first trimester happened and all i could do was lay around and yell at my husband for even mentioning any other food besides white pasta. my workout routine dwindled (probably because my body was working so hard on giving me acne and growing a baby).

then the second trimester happened. i felt ever so much better and i was able to start working out again! i was eating better and back to feeling good about this baby-making body of mine.

prenatal yoga

then the third trimester happened. as i inched closer to atlas being on the outside, i lost a whole lot of energy but could still walk a few miles a day.

this was august 31, 2016 – the day before atlas entered the outside world!

i mean – another body is in my body. so crazy.

if you haven’t birthed a child, then you may not know that your uterus stays enlarged for a while after the baby is on the outside so you still look like 5 months pregnant. we talked about this in one of my birthing classes so i was prepared for the belly.

let’s all pause and acknowledge how absolutely incredible women’s bodies are, okay!? these are the type of texting conversations between me and my husband:

*please note that the overuse of ‘like’ is for effect via text messaging.

then the first 3 months of atlas’ life happened and to say i was miserable would be an understatement. i barely acknowledged that i lived inside my body and one perk of that was that i didn’t really notice it. because breastfeeding takes so much from one’s body, i ate and ate and ate to avoid nausea.

then i got help and the postpartum depression became less intense and i started working out. it’s unfair how quickly we lose muscle and endurance. but i worked out anyway, peeing a little less every day (#vaginalbirthproblems).

i remember getting one of those automated articles from a baby app and it said, ‘during pregnancy your body changes drastically over 9 months. give yourself 9 months after your baby is born for your body to get back to where it was.’

fair enough. do your thang body. i’ll be over here drinking my glorious malbec.

my body did drop a good chunk of weight – at first. i dropped 23lbs days after atlas was born (she accounts for a solid 8lbs of that). see!

i mainly lived in my maternity jeans, yoga pants and one skirt that fit. throughout these past months, after a solid workout and a revitalizing shower, i would be feeling pretty confident…until i tried to get my pre-pregnancy jeans to not only zip, but move past my thighs. nope.

then one day, i was finally able to zip up a pair of non-maternity, pre-pregnancy jeans! i felt as if the clouds parted and sun beams poured down to fill my self-confidence back up! we ventured to the pumpkin patch where i proceeded to be miserably uncomfortable for 1.5 hours. when i got in the car, i released what felt like the closest thing to a corset i’ll probably ever get. the relief was amazing but hell yeah i was wearing my size 6 jeans! who cares that the imprint of the button was still there hours later, they “fit!”

as the months progressed, i started complaining more about my floppy stomach and my rotund thighs to my husband. he would try to reassure me that i was still beautiful and he didn’t see me that way at all. nevertheless, when we would go out on a date, i’d put on my nice, pre-pregnancy jeans (c’mon, we are in colorado) and suffer through the evening counting down the minutes until i could unabashedly unbutton my jeans.

as we geared up to go on what would become a soul-changing quick trip to germany in may, i went through my closest. i tried on every article of clothing that had been droopily hanging there for well over a year, taunting me.

one part of my brain said, “keep working out and eating healthy, chelso! you fit in these once, you can so do it again! plus, you hate shopping and trying on clothes!”

the other part of my brain said this, “you birthed a human. look at that little girl crawling at your feet. you literally carried her body INSIDE of your body. you are strong! you are a badass! your body is amazing! the number printed on clothing is not your value. set them free.”

and the other part of my brain was like, “i need another glass of wine for this shit.”

i came to terms with the fact that my hips will probably never shrink back down to a size 6. that single pair of pre-pregnancy jeans did not make me feel beautiful or sexy. they literally caused me pain.

i folded them up and put them in our donation pile. soon after followed shirts that weren’t flattering anymore, workout clothes, my nursing bras (which hadn’t fit right since december and my pre-pregnancy ones didn’t fit either) and underwear. i ventured to the store (fine, target) the next day to pick out clothes that actually fit this new body of mine.

as i meandered through the endless pairs of jeans, i pulled out a six pairs of size 8 pants to try on and one size 10 ‘just in case.’

yeah, well, turns out there is more junk in the trunk than anticipated so yes, now i wear size 10 jeans. and i feel insanely better about my body. i was truly shocked by how much better i felt – like immediately about life in general once i started to wear clothes that fit me.

wear clothes that fit.

if you are hoping and wanting to fit into certain clothes, whether you just had a baby or not, think hard about if that is a healthy motivator. for some, it may be. for me, it is not.

i still workout and still want to get my muscled toned again, but i don’t dread getting dressed anymore. now when i slide on my new, sexy, comfortable and well-fitting jeans, i can smile to the woman reflected back to me.

plus, i don’t need that negative talk sinking into my amazing daughter’s subconscious. my body grew a healthy and miraculous baby, of course it’s going to be different.

now to try to find matching pants like hers…

i know weight can be a touchy subject, what makes you feel sexy in your body?


  1. Sarah

    July 19, 2017 at 6:57 am

    This was exactly what I needed to hear. My body is totally different after 3 kids and I have been holding onto my pre-pregancy Nancy clothes hoping they’ll fit again. Time to go shopping!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      totally time to go shopping, sarah!!! our bodies are totally different and that’s okay because our lives our totally different! set those pre-pregnancy clothes free because they are doing you NO good!

  2. Audrey

    July 19, 2017 at 8:17 am

    YAS girl. (Also, that text message conversation is gold.)
    Wearing clothes that fit and flatter us and make us happy and comfortable is so, so, so important!! I’m so glad you came to that realization! I finally had the light bulb go off a few years ago. Why the eff should I feel ashamed to have an M or an L on my shirt tag? Or a 12 or 14 on my pants? I’m healthy and they’re comfy. So it all works out!
    AND YOU LOOK SO DAMN GOOD, GIRL! Your body births babies like a champ!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      daaamn how you gave me such an energy and confidence boost, audrey! thank you 🙂 so glad you have already had this lightbulb go off for you and those tags don’t mean shiiiit. we are healthy and we are comfortable!

      and thank you for the compliment, my body totally does birth babies like a champ! thanks for saying it in that way!

  3. Penny

    July 19, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Thank you for writing this. It was right on!!!!

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      thank you penny! i appreciate that 🙂

  4. Mallory

    July 19, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I so needed to see this! It may finally give me the motivation to do what I need to do! I told myself before I had our daughter that I would give myself a year to get “back to normal” We’re now at 14 months, and I am starting to realize that this body is my new normal, there is no going back, and that is okay. I’m still wearing maternity jeans because I HATE shopping and just don’t want to go buy pants. I’m making excuses like “once I am done breastfeeding I may lose those couple pounds I’ve been hanging on to” when let’s be honest, my body is literally a different shape now. So many excuses- then the lack of confidence makes it even harder to go get new things because I am dreading the process. Maybe it is finally time…

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      i am SO happy you saw it and it is what you need, mallory! that makes me happy 🙂

      i soooo feel you on hating shopping. i seriously hate it too. i found that the stretchy, jegging type pants were nicer to me and even then, i still didn’t fit into some size 10s. that’s okay.

      do what you need to do to get a good mindset before you set out shopping (baby free by the way). workout, shave your legs, drink a fancy latte and then go meet up with a friend for a drink afterwards to celebrate!

      you deserve to feel confident in who you are and in your amazing body! the time is NOW 🙂

  5. Jennifer Haston

    July 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I love love love this post! That picture of you in size 10 jeans is proof positive you made the right choice, look at how confident you are.. it shines on your face and how you carry yourself! I made a BIG decision when Vivienne was born almost 10 months ago. (YIKES! Is that actually true? 10 months?) I am NO longer allowed to say mean things about my body and must have self-love and pride in my own body because I want her to feel confident and proud from the get – go in her own skin, and that has to start with me. To that end, I am working out twice a week, (most of the time) and if I start to say something bad about my body, I look at the awesome human being I GREW!!! (so freaking amazing that I did that) and remember, a body that creates life, is AMAZING and while there is room for improvement, the raw material is pretty amazing.

    • chelsea

      July 19, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      i am glad you noticed the confidence because i totally feeeeel so much better!

      what a wonderful decision to make before vivienne was born about only saying positive things about your body! i have been super impressed to see you constantly doing your early morning swims and walks! get it giiiiiirl!

      ‘the raw material is pretty amazing’ LOVE that!

  6. Christina @ Hugs and Lattes

    July 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Currently sitting on the floor in my husband’s shorts because my shorts don’t fit me anymore. I needed to read this today. My body has changed so much in the past 7 months- even though the scale hasn’t changed much, my hips and butt don’t fit into the pants I was wearing even on my honeymoon! I went shorts shopping last weekend and walked away with 2 shirts, a cardigan, and only one pair of shorts. Finding clothes that fit the bottom half is such a struggle right now. And while I don’t have a baby in the belly, my tacos sure are taking up a lot of space. But anytime I start to hate on my body, I work out and I thank God for giving me strong legs that move me from place to place.

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      i totally feel you on that bottom half struggle christina! right you are to speak out on being thankful for the wonderful body you do have. it’s healthy and happy and loves tacos 🙂 glad you went shopping for clothes that fit better and don’t give up! we deserve to feel good in what we wear

  7. Rebecca

    July 19, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    YES. YESSSSSSSS! Trying to squeeze into something that doesnt fit is soul crushing. And just makes me reach for ice cream to drown my sorrows…thus completing the vicious circle of postpartum life. When I finally emptied out my closet of pre prego clothes & ordered a bunch of ‘sized up’ things from thredUP I felt much more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t need to stand with my arms crossed so nobody could see how my shirts were all too tight across my belly!! (They probably all thought I was a standoffish brat ha)

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      ugh it’s such a vicious cycle, isn’t it rebecca?! i get that too. like ‘ fine. you don’t fit?! i’ll show you by eating everything in sight. then you REALLY won’t fit ya jerk.”

      great point too! i recently found that many of the target tanks are way too tight across my stomach too – on a mission to find loser ones too!

  8. Paula Howley

    July 19, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    You know what REALLY sucked for me? Besides gaining 50 freakin’ pounds? My FEET got bigger! So I couldn’t wear any of my bloody SHOES anymore!!!!
    This is such good advice Chelsea. it is unrealistic for non-disgustling-wealthy-I-have-a-nanny-and-personal-trainer women to expect to get back their pre-baby bodies. The more women hear about this, the better. |
    BTW, I LOVED the texts with Ravery- but like women should make less than men…..

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      omgggg the feet thing!!!! how could i forget to mention that! i can still squeeze into a few of mine but i had to buy new workout shoes and new black heels! what the hell.

      thanks for sharing this paula!

      and oh ravery knows how to get me!

  9. Sara | Mrs. Imperfect

    July 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    This is so true. I just did an overhaul of my closet and tossed anything that didn’t fit anymore. Having stuff that you are waiting to fit back into or are squeezing yourself into is not good for your self esteem.

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      i am so glad you recently did an overhaul, sara! i hope you are feeling better since getting rid of those things 🙂 agreed that it totally helps our self-esteem

  10. anne clare

    July 21, 2017 at 8:44 am

    My first child was born 33 years ago. I remember seeing my body for the first time after the birth like it was yesterday. I was shocked. I thought,”Well, it was beautiful while it lasted.” I felt horrible.
    I know a young mother reading this WILL feel better. Thanks for writing this one, Chelsea.

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      i remember having a similar thought, anne. thank you for sharing that! appreciate your words and i sure do hope that a new mom will again realize what a badass she is!

  11. Christine

    July 22, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I love her flower print pants! Where did you get them?

    • chelsea

      July 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

      aren’t they so cute?! old navy – for like $5!

  12. Jo

    July 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Chelsea! I loved this post! And it’s a whole other ballgame after you hit 50 and the lovely menopause thing. The same advice applies….where clothes that fit 🙂 I used this advice with my daughter the other day when we were talking about clothes, girls in middle school and crazy fashion trends. The number on your clothes does not matter, how they fit and how you feel in them does. And to wear your most important accessory every day…confidence.

    • chelsea

      July 31, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      oh crap. menopause changes things too?! do we ever catch a break 😉 well i will start mentally preparing for it now!

      so glad you are able to guide your daughter in this way, jo! middle school can be such an overwhelming time – she’s lucky to have you!

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  14. Vivien

    September 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I love this! I think this is great advice regardless of post-baby body or not. I never realized how much of a difference this makes until a much more fashion forward/stylish friend took me shopping and we ended up getting me several business clothes. The transformation (inner and outer) was huge!

    • chelsea

      September 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      thank you vivien! it really is amazing how different clothes that fit right and we feel comfortable in really make a difference! so glad you had this experience with your fashion forward friend (can i hire her?? 🙂 )

      • Vivien

        September 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        If it is possible to do the consulting/shopping experience over Skype, then by all means, yes! (I’m actually being serious, lol!)