As humans we find change and uncertainty uncomfortable. Pregnancy and parenthood is a time of continual change, uncertainty and transition. Just as you adapt to one element of the process, it changes again. You don’t know what clothes to buy or wear because they might not fit in a week. You don’t know what plans to make, because you don’t know how your energy will be.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and that is no different during pregnancy. Social media, TV, magazines and those around us often give the false impression that other parents children always sleep through the night, that their kids don’t cry, that you should have your pre-baby body within two seconds of giving birth, and that you should be able to work full time and take care of your baby while making it all look effortless.
Letting go of comparison and embracing change is a daily practice. Here are four strategies for creating a more self-accepting mind, especially around body-acceptance.
- Surround yourself with positive messages:
- Only follow social media pages that leave you feeling better about yourself or life. Unsubscribe or delete the rest.
- Stop buying women’s fitness or fashion magazines.
- Set boundaries in conversations with friends if you are finding certain topics triggering.
- Let go of perfectionism
- Examine and challenge the standards you have for yourself. Where do they come from and who are you trying to impress? What happens if the dishes or laundry doesn’t get done? What does it look like to ask for more support and help?
- Strive for “B” vs “A+” work. Examine your to-do list and decide what truly needs to get done and what can wait. This doesn’t mean become lazy or complacent. It simply is a call to relieve some pressure and acknowledge that there is no “perfection” when it comes to life.
- Focus on behaviors versus end results
- Whether it’s achieving that pre-baby body or teaching your child to read, taking the focus off the end result will allow you to celebrate the successes along the way and embrace whatever results occur. Identify the daily habits and behaviors that would make you feel your best (and that are realistic and things you really want) and focus on developing those, trusting that the external results will follow as they are intended to.
- Challenge your inner critic
- So often we beat ourselves up with negative self-talk that we aren’t even aware of. Things like: “This shouldn’t be so difficult.” “I didn’t hit my workout goal this week. I am never going to be able to do this.” “I don’t have time to take my child to the park this week. I’m not a good mom.” When you notice negative reactions, pause and identify your internal dialogue. Next, look at it with a critical lens, fact checking the thoughts. Lastly, rewrite your inner story, imagining you were talking to a friend. Overtime this will change your emotional experience and initial reactions.
Embracing change and letting go of comparison is an often challenging journey and daily practice. The more you can focus on where you are each day and letting that be good enough, the more you will find freedom from the anxieties of self-judgment and create more space for the joys of life.[hr]
About our Guest Contributor:
Natalie Joffe is a certified nutrition and wellness coach passionate about helping individuals create lasting change in their lives. She uses behavior change tools to help clients identify their core values, as well as what is getting in the way of living in line with those values. Natalie then provides the guidance and accountability that allows for full realization of each client’s unique vision.