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.

5 Sleep Tips For Your Newborn – The First Four Months

mother and newborn sleeping

This is a special guest post by Jamie Contarini, a certified sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site, Halton

After having your baby, the first few months can be exhausting and frustrating and exciting all at the same time. A baby’s sleep schedule is often unorganized and chaotic because her biological sleep rhythms are still maturing. You might do the exact same thing two days in a row and get completely different results. I understand the concern about creating bad habits, but right now you only need to make sure that your baby is well rested and well fed. Here are 5 tips for navigating through sleep during the first four months.

1. Be Safe. Always remember the “A,B,C’s of safe sleep”. Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back’s in their Crib (or bassinet).

Room sharing is safer than bed sharing and your baby will have some time to practice sleeping in her own space with you in the room.

2. Organize Day from Night. Open those blinds wide and get outside during the day. Expose your baby to a lot of sunlight during wake time and then make it dark when it is time to sleep (for naps, unless you are out, and at bedtime). During the night, keep interactions to a minimum when you can. Feed her, change her, give her some snuggles and help her fall back to sleep. Keep the chatting to a minimum (even though you just want to tell her how cute she is), this is a great habit to get into and it will help in the next month or so when her sleep becomes more organized.

3. Keep Short intervals of Wakefulness. Newborn babies sleep a lot – they can sleep 14-18+ hours and it can come in varying chunks throughout the day and night. A newborn can really only handle a wake time of between 30-90 minutes before needing sleep, and it might be a short nap, but sleep is sleep at this age. Watch the clock and help her if you need to. Most newborns can fall asleep anywhere, in a carrier, stroller, in the bassinet etc., so you can take advantage of this mobility and get out of the house when you are feeling up to it.

Closer to 2-4 months, her wakefulness periods will lengthen to 45-90 minutes, but you might find it harder for her to fall asleep. She is taking in the world and doesn’t recognize when she needs to sleep, so you need to watch the clock and watch her for her “tired cues”. What are some of the signs to watch for? She might start turning her head side to side (resisting sleep), rubbing her eyes or pulling on her ears.

I am sure you have received or you will receive the advice that you should keep your baby awake during the day so that she will sleep better at night – don’t do it!! An overtired baby has a harder time falling and staying asleep. Sleep begets sleep.

4. Practice and Playtime in the Crib. If you are not using the crib right away, then between 2 & 4 months, start giving your baby a chance to get used to it. It is important for her to have a consistent sleeping place and a space that is all hers. You love your bed, being able to stretch out and sleep however you want – she will get to that point too. If you still want her to sleep at arms reach near you for the night (in a bassinet or playpen etc), then offer naps in the crib. You can set up the crib in your master bedroom if you want to – just give her a chance to spend some time in it.

5. Soothing Routine. It is never too early to start your bedtime routine. Similar activities each night is going to send a cue her brain that sleep is coming next. What should be included in your routine? Change her diaper, put her into her pj’s and sleep sack or swaddle and then feed her. You can sing a song, or read a book, rock with her and cuddle – you can combine any number of these. Your routine does not have to be too long, and if you notice that she is getting fussy or turning away from the book then close it and get her into bed. At this point you are calming her and letting her know that it is time for sleep. If she is falling asleep during your routine then you can skip to the end and get her into bed.

Once you finish you routine (approximately 10-15 minutes) put her into her crib or bassinet and offer her the chance to drift off to sleep on her own. If, at the end of your routine she is upset and crying, you can help her sleep. There are no rules at this point other than our safety rule listed above.

After 4 months (calculated from her estimated due date) then you can let her work at falling asleep on her own for nights and naps, but right now, she might need some extra help, and you might enjoy the extra cuddles!

Bio: Jamie is a certified sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site Halton. Proud Mama of two boys. Jamie realized that her interest in helping change some of her son’s sleep habits actually turned into a passion and she happily joined the Good Night team with her mission being to help families succeed as she did.

 When she is not working, Jamie enjoys family time with her husband, sons and golden retriever.


Parents, Stop What You Are Doing Right Now And Watch This!

Newborn Moms - Making Babies SR 1I have a new obsession! It is something that my husband, Mike and I have been enjoying together and it is has made parenting more fun. I am talking about the new comedic web series on CBC Punchline (, Newborn Moms. To say I am hooked would be an understatement. I honestly haven’t seen anything this funny, or spot on since, well… ever!

Newborn Moms follows a couple of brand new moms who, like most of us, have had to leave their ideals behind as they hilariously navigate motherhood. Mike and I literally sat and binged watched each episode, laughing until our sides hurt.

From a hilarious episode with a hot male lactation consultant, to trying to sleep train your baby, Newborn Moms has captured motherhood in a way that will make us all feel a little more normal.

As far as favourite episodes go, it is hard to pick. But there were two in particular that I can identify with first hand. One of them would have to be “The Pick Up.” The main characters, new moms and best friends Rosie and Julia, are in the park trying to pick up other moms who seem similar to them.Mom Pick Up 1 Whether it’s a Type-A mom like Julia,ep6-julia-thumbs-up

or hippy earth mother wannabe like Rosie, the results are hilarious!ep6-victory-dance

“I got a number, I got a number.”

I was dying laughing because I can totally relate! Recently many of my mommy friends moved away and I have been trying to vet and make new mommy friends in my town. It can totally feel like dating.

Another favorite episode of mine is “War Stories.” We’ve all been there. Moms are sitting around a table, one-upping each other’s birth stories. Newborn Moms takes it to a whole new level.Newborn Moms - War Stories SR 7

Every story is gorier than the last. The final story will have you in peeing your pants at the sheer reaction of the other moms. Newborn Moms - War Stories SR 11

Yes, that is a mom throwing up a little into her napkin.

Newborn Moms, (which was launched today), is comprised of a veteran-comedic cast based out of Toronto. This over-the-top comedy is hilarious and dirty (in the best way possible). Each episode is an easily digested 1-3 minutes in length.

The main characters Rosie (Aurora Browne) and Julia (Nadine Djoury) are extremely real and relatable. You will instantly fall in love with them.

Motherhood is really stressful most of the time. This show gives us permission to laugh about it, something that is necessary if we are going to get out alive.

You can watch the entire season on

This post was sponsored by CBC (Punchline). All opinions expressed are my own. 


What Advice Would You Go Back And Give Yourself As A New Mom?

I recently asked what advice would you go back and give yourself as a new mom? on Nesting Story’s Facebook page, and the response was fantastic! Here, I have compiled some of the best answers.

Please add ideas for questions you would like me to ask on Nesting Story’s Facebook page below!

10 Things You Should Say To A New Mom Instead Of “You Look Amazing!”

10 Things You Should Say To A New Mom Instead Of You Look AmazingWe’ve all done it, and we all meant well when we said it. But is saying “you look amazing” to a mother with a baby really the best conversation starter?

After having my twins, (which are kids number three and four), I have found that one of the first things people say to me, either when I run into a friend, or tell someone I just met how many kids I have, is “you look amazing!” I am sure people mean well when they say it, but it suddenly sparks this awkward weight conversation. Either way it is kind of shocking, when you really think about it, that we jump right into the personal and sensitive “weight” topic while skipping the really important stuff about navigating motherhood.

Below are ten things you should say to, or ask a new mother INSTEAD of (or as well as) “you look amazing.”

1. Are you loving motherhood? Because It’s okay if you’re not. The first few weeks are especially the hardest. No, wait. They are about 80% crappy for a lot of us. Yes, you are in awe and falling in love. But let’s be honest, your world has just been turned upside down. Your nipples are probably cracked, bleeding and ready to fall off of your body and it’s starting to set in how needy a baby really is. It’s okay to not love all of it.

2. How is your recovery going? This one is a little tricky. I think it is important to remember the trauma our bodies have just gone through during delivery. But how do you actually ask a new mom how her vagina is feeling today? Maybe start by telling your own war stories to break the ice and offer up a tip or two to help the healing process. Like, “have you tried throwing your pads in the freezer before wearing them? Your lady parts will thank you!”

3. Here is a meal I prepared for you. I can’t recall who gave me what item of clothing for each of my babies, but I can tell you, in detail, every meal that was dropped off to us unannounced. Prepared meals are like currency for new parents. Can’t cook? Pop a gift certificate to a fast food restaurant or somewhere that delivers into your card for the newbies. Don’t pull the old, “here’s a GC to a fancy restaurant for you two to get out on a date.” That’s just cruel.

4. How are you handling the isolation/hormones? Translation: it’s normal to feel batshit crazy and sob randomly and uncontrollably for the first couple of weeks. It helps to talk about the crazy that comes with childbirth. For extra points, point out to the new dad that it is normal for mommy to be a hot mess for a while.

5. Can I accompany you to your next doctors appointment to help? The first doctors appointment my husband and I took our baby to was insanity. We had to wait 5,000 hours, my husband got puked on 4 times (no joke) and somehow in the variety of diaper bags, and baby items I packed, I somehow overlooked packing a second change of clothes for our new little vomit dragon. That was with help! Having a second set of hands at the doctors is invaluable.

6. I want to come over for a visit and help with what you might need done. The new mom might feel embarrassed about the state of her once pristine house. Try to force your way into that home and without being instructed, start washing dishes and folding laundry. Tip: be sensitive and listen if she asks you to skip folding her own laundry. I think we will all agree that we would prefer to fold our own postpartum XL granny panties.

7. I will come by to take your older kids to the park or walk your dog (kind of the same thing). Now that there is this new completely dependent little baby, it’s hard to find time to give the older “siblings” any attention for the first while. Someone else coming over to burn off that energy for you is priceless.

8. I will hold your baby while you take a shower. Nothing is worse than someone coming over to meet your baby and expecting to be treated like a visitor, being offered refreshments, while they cuddle your newborn. Don’t ask or worry about offending the new mom, just tell her that you are going to sit and cuddle the new baby while she takes time for herself. There’s no need for her to exhaust herself making small talk.

9. Do you want to get out for a quick dinner/coffee together one evening without kids? When you are a first time mom, it seems impossible and you feel almost guilty for leaving your little one with someone else while you get out kid free other than frantically running errands. Little does that new mom know that going out even for an hour, just for her, will feel like she has gone to the spa for a day. Nothing is better for baby than a happy mommy.

10. You are doing amazing! We all wrestle with the thoughts “am I even doing a good job? Maybe I should be singing more songs? Maybe I should be reading more books? Maybe I should be making all of baby’s food from scratch?” Trust me, you are doing amazing, and no, you don’t need to be doing more of those things. Instead of obsessing over how amazing the new mom looks, why don’t you let her know how amazing she is doing!?!

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Photo by Blue Bird Creative