My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem

For women there is a constant expectation and pressure to look a certain way. Whether it’s actresses in movies, the media picking apart celebrities, or airbrushing in your favourite magazines, we’re bombarded from every angle with how we “should” look.

Add to that the toxic, often repeated, phrase of “baby weight”, and the idea that new mothers have to “bounce back” or suffer comparisons to their “pre-baby body” and it’s no wonder a lot of women’s self esteem takes a hit once they’ve had a baby.

My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem by Roseanne Murray for Nesting Story
At 3 months postpartum I was constantly feeling self conscious about my body

I fell into this trap freshly postpartum, and let’s be honest, these thoughts still linger. The intense physical changes your body goes through after pregnancy are difficult enough, never mind the overnight identify shift, and the sleep deprivation (oh, the sleep deprivation).

I kept saying “this isn’t my body” because it was so, SO, different from what I thought it would be after birth. As someone who has always preached self-love, regardless of the how your body looks, I was disappointed in myself to be struggling with my postpartum self esteem because I was heavier. Fitting into any clothes I owned was difficult, the sheer heaviness I felt in my body every time I moved was difficult. My body looked and felt completely alien to me.

A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.
A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.

But what had I really expected? There is a serious lack of representation for how postpartum bodies will look and feel. I really had no idea what to expect.

I had heard my whole pregnancy how “breastfeeding will make the weight fall off!” But it didn’t work that way for me. I gained around 50lbs during my pregnancy, and two years later I’m still carrying about 20lbs of that. It took me a long time to learn to love myself again. I spent so much time feeling like my body had let me down because it didn’t look how it used to. Fighting these thoughts is something I’m working on.

To think of my strong postpartum body in these narrow terms is so damaging. It can be difficult to come to terms with how much changes after pregnancy and birth, and our society’s attitude to postpartum bodies definitely doesn’t help.

The first few months (or, let’s be honest, the first year) after having your baby is a steep learning curve. It’s a scary, beautiful ride navigating this new phase of life. The last thing you need is to feel ashamed of how your body looks, or feel anxious about how you’ll “lose the baby weight”.

Whenever you find your thoughts drifting to your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans gathering dust in your wardrobe, or that new exercise regime you saw to get rid of “the mum pooch”, please  remember how incredible your body is, and remind yourself of these facts first:

You literally grew a human being(s) inside of you.

Isn’t it mad when you think about it? You LITERALLY grew a human being, with no conscious effort; you created life while you slept. It’s a pretty awesome achievement, and definitely one to feel proud of. If you breastfed, you also produced breastmilk all while batting through the sleep deprivation and craziness of newborn life.

Baby Bump comparison, 15 weeks pregnant and 40 weeks pregnant.
15 weeks pregnant, compared to 40 weeks pregnant.

You gave birth.

It took sheer strength and determination for you to birth your child (not to mention surviving labour and contractions and all that crazy business). Whether you pushed with everything you have, or you underwent surgery to have your baby brought into this world, your body is insanely powerful.

Hours old newborn baby.
Willow, only hours old.

Your body records your life.

Whether you’re left with stretch marks, loose skin, or any leftover signs of pregnancy, think of them as beautiful natural tattoos! They serve as a physical reminder of the strength you possess, and the beautiful experience of pregnancy you were so lucky to experience. And stretch marks are actually extremely beautiful and delicate, if you look at them without judgement and hate.

My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem by Roseanne Murray for Nesting Story
Newborn life is a beautiful struggle, take it slowly and treat yourself with kindness.

Your body is absolutely incredible, and deserves to be honoured, treated with kindness, and loved fiercely as you embark on this new phase of your life. Wanting to gain back your previous level of fitness and feeling strong is fantastic, but coming at it from a place of hate for your soft postpartum body will never make you feel good.  

Your body is so much more than how it looks, please remember this, and treat yourself with love if you’re struggling with your postpartum self esteem today. You’re beautiful, and you got this mama.

Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.

How I Found My Confidence As A First Time Mom

This post was created in partnership with hydraSense®. Always read and follow the label.

When I tell people that for me, four kids are easier than one, a look of utter confusion comes across their face. Recently I said this to a father of one, as he argued with his toddler, who refused to put on his hat and mittens on a very cold day. He watched as I herded my four kids into our toddlers’ daycare, each wearing their winter gear without complaining.

Four kids

I gestured to my litter of kids and said, “It’s a group mentality thing. They each see the others bundling up so they don’t resist.” Then I could hear the words coming out of my mouth before I could stop them… “Actually, I find four kids easier than when I just had one.”

“Yeah right!” He said with a look of disbelief on his face.

“It’s true,” I said. “I might be busier but I stress so much less.”

It is true. It took me a long time to find my confidence as a parent. In fact, my husband and I each completely broke down within the first three days of becoming parents, and it was my mom who finally pulled us out of the darkness and helped us find our first bit of confidence as parents.

When Holden, (our first child) was born, he had a bit of fluid left over in his lungs. Because of this, almost every time we laid him down for those first few days, he would gag and cough a little, which to brand new parents was absolutely terrifying.

Although the nurses kept reassuring us that this was normal and would pass, that all we had to do was put him up right and give him a little pat when he was coughing, we couldn’t get past the fear.

That first night in the hospital, while my husband Mike curled his very tall body into a foldout chair, trying to grab a little sleep, I laid awake, all night just staring at my baby.


I was in love. This was a brand new kind of love I had never felt before, one that was a mix of awe and absolute devotion. This new self-sacrificing love, mixed with fear started to fester into an unreasonable mindset for both Mike and I… we agreed we would just stop sleeping and hold our new baby upright at night as long as we needed to.

So, the second night was Mike’s turn. As I slept as much as I could between feedings, he sat on the couch and watched movies all night as our brand new son slept vertically.

father kissing baby

As the third night approached, we were unraveling. The adrenaline had worn off and the pain of breast-feeding had kicked in. Mike offered to take the night again.

My mother, who was staying with us, watched with worry, and finally, after observing our unrealistic devotion and subsequent demise, thankfully decided to take over. Her plan: we go sleep and she would put Holden down as she slept on the floor beside his crib.

This was the best gift we could have been given, a way to safely find our confidence as parents. The next morning we felt brand new. Holden had gagged a couple of times during the night, but worked it out himself as my mother looked-on trying not to interfere with him figuring it out himself.

newborn sleeping

From this point on we found our rhythm, but as all new parents experience, every bump in the road was brand new and scary for us, whether it was teething, or our son’s first cold.

But we found our way. We found parenting hacks, little tricks, learned his noises and products that we trusted and loved.

As a result of our initial scare as parents, we found that when our son got sick, we would get particularly worried. One product that we not only trusted, but has helped us gain even more confidence as parents is the line of hydraSense products that was our go-to, whenever any of our babies got a stuffy nose due to a cold.

twin girls

We have always found comfort knowing that hydraSense is a 100 percent natural source, simply being seawater. It’s free of any medications or preservatives and is the #1 nasal saline solution brand in Canada for children*.


hydaSense Easydose Vials

The Easydose® Vials are convenient when on the go with your little one. Just pop them into your diaper bag and pull out when your child is having trouble breathing because of dry or obstructed nasal passages due to a cold or allergies.

hydraSense Easydose Vials

But I think my personal favourite hydraSense product that we still use today with our twin toddlers is the hydraSense® Ultra-Gentle Mist.

hydraSense Ultra-Gentle Mist

Everly, one of our twins has always been prone to nasal congestion. She has found relief from nasal spray, such as hydraSense® Ultra-Gentle Mist.

congested toddler

Those first few days as parents spent without sleep and full of fear are now over seven years ago. Finding your confidence not only takes time, but it takes support from loved ones, trial and error and figuring out what works best for your family while pushing out all of the noise.

It gets easier, a lot easier.

You can learn more about hydraSense® at
hydraSense® is available at your local mass food and drug retailers or online at

*Nielsen, National. 52 weeks ending Aug 20th, 2016. Based on combined sales of hydraSense Ultra-Gentle Mist, Easydose and Congestion Relief Kids.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by hydraSense®. While compensation was provided, most of the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of hydraSense®.