Identity battles following childbirth, self confidence and self love…where to start if you’re struggling
“My relationship with my body now is really interesting, some days I love it and some days, I don’t love it and I think that’s ok, I think it’s about going to bed each day and thinking ‘Have I been the absolute best person I can be today?’ and if you have, that’s enough for me actually” Sarah Newton
Sarah Newton appeared along with 4 other women in the recent Facebook film '10 things you need to know to love yourself today’, where they all described their journey back to self love after massive life changes and challenges. Sarah described how she genuinely did love herself all through her teens and into her 20’s, she was full of confidence and if anything, those around her would highlight the fact that she was confident and loved her body labelling it as negative!
She knew who she was, approved of herself and felt great about the fact that she could genuinely say she loved herself. Until the birth of her first child. She describes how she’d taken for granted those things about her body and image that were suddenly no longer there. Having a baby had a huge impact on her identity and she struggled to know who she was and whether it was still ok to love herself – who even was she?
This is something I hear so much of the time. My clients are mums, entrepreneurs, business women, some work in big corporates, some from their kitchen table making money in nap time and once they’ve had a baby, all of them describe to me how their image and relationship with their bodies is rocked to the absolute core.
And I went through this too. I’m an ex professional dancer. I’ve been known for my body my whole life, I’ve always had a great figure due to hours and hours of ballet and performance training. When I became pregnant with my now 5 year old Livvie, I put on 3 stone! Admittedly one stone was baby….the rest? Cheese sandwiches! (oh and Snickers bars). It’s pretty much all I ate throughout my pregnancy.
Going back to work after Livvie’s birth, I assumed I’d just fit straight back into my pre-baby clothes and shopping for the type of clothes I was famous for PRE Livvie was desperately difficult. Struggling with my identity and standing in the middle of Debenhams sobbing had me questioning everything about myself at that very delicate time. And this is a story I hear so often. Women getting back up again after childbirth, re-entering the workplace, logging back on to their laptops for their business…it’s a whole identity struggle that the women I coach can identify with.
You see, the body isn’t the only thing that changes after childbirth. It’s about identity, who we are, where we fall in line in the priority ranking – everything changes and I’ve seen women shrink as a result of putting their husbands and children first, forgetting themselves.
It doesn’t have to be like that. There is a road to carving out a beautiful image of the self again. There is an answer to crafting a new identity, one that fits, one that feels real, an image, a personality, a woman who emerges as entirely you WHILST being a mum, an entrepreneur, a business woman, a wife/girlfriend and everything else we are.
For Sarah, she started that journey by asking herself a question each night. ‘Have I been the best person I can be today?’. For her, that story back to self-love started not with what she looked like, but with a gentle question to herself, with her hand on her heart and whispering ‘Have I been the best person I can be today?’.
For Sarah, evaluating herself under the circumstances of the day and asking herself if she had acted in accordance with how SHE felt was ethical and right was her first step towards self-love without judging yourself, looking in the mirror and feeling disconnected with who you are physically. She started on the inside and the rest fell into place.
Self-love is about caring about yourself all the time, especially under difficult circumstances, especially through confusing times and it starts right at your core, deep inside with meeting your own approval.
When you are able to hand-on-your-heart know that you have acted in accordance with your own ethics and measure of kindness and patience, then you are able to appreciate yourself and identify your inner guidance system. It’s like parenting yourself in the kindest most appreciative way possible.
It’s like being your own internal compass and when you can deeply feel into that and know you (and only you) are absolutely congruent with your behaviour – it’s an incredible step towards self-love.
Download your FREE copy of '10 things you need to know to love yourself today' by the stars of our film and start right away - your time is now!