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This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever written about but I need to share it with you because it matters greatly.
A few weeks ago I stopped breastfeeding. When I closed this chapter of motherhood, I felt less needed, was heartbroken to see my daughter upset with the change and generally sad to no longer have this bonding time with her.
But however strong those emotions were, the ones that really blindsided me were the ones that I felt about my body after I stopped breastfeeding.
This hit me just the other day, when I walked out of my shower and turned towards my bathroom mirror. When my eyes hit the reflection, I froze. It felt like time literally stood still.
What I saw was that my body was no longer the one I knew pre-pregnancy.
I wish I could say I was empowered by this moment or that my mind went straight into awe of how amazing my changing body is, but these weren’t even close to my immediate thoughts. Instead, I felt ashamed, exposed, like damaged goods, or perhaps worst of all, undesirable and unbeautiful.
I stared in that mirror for five long minutes. Processing, feeling and trying my best to let go.
I wish I could say that I walked out of the bathroom with my head held high, but I didn’t.
This has been incredibly challenging, and I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way, which is why I’m opening up a conversation about it.
Through my work with Expectful, I’ve had numerous conversations with pregnant women and new moms about the emotions that come up around body image during these vulnerable times. I’ve heard women cry, I’ve seen myself cry and I’ve often wondered why we aren’t being more open about this.
That’s why on this month’s Expectful chat, I’m excited to have Psychologist and Body Image Expert, Jessica Zucker sitting down with us. My hope is that on this call we can, as a community discuss the emotions that come up for us as pregnant women and new moms.
The call is happening on Monday, December 12th at 7pm EST. Want to join? Click here to preregister.
Jessica Zucker, Ph.D. is a psychologist and writer based in Los Angeles. Her words have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, TIME, and elsewhere. She is the creator of the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign as well as a line of pregnancy loss cards. Jessica has been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and CNN. Dr. Zucker earned advanced degrees from New York University and Harvard University.
Anna Gannon is Expectful’s Community Guide and Editorial Lead. Anna is a new mom, yoga teacher and writer. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Yoga Today and Yoga Journal.