Monday is here and we are excited to continue with our Body of a Mother Project. Today we have the pleasure of talking with Kari Jensen from Living Life’s Moments. Kari is a wife, momma to 3 darling littles, and a family therapist. She has a beautiful eye for things and a relaxed, natural take on motherhood that we love. We are so honored to talk with her and love her take on embracing her mom body!
If you’ve missed any of our previous features from this series you can check out their inspiring words here: Destiney Green, Stacie Lucas, Sadie Sabin, Ashley Fultz, Jenna Rammell, and Johnna Holmgren.
Tell us a little about you and your family:
Aaron and I met during my last year of undergrad. Aaron, a few years out of college already, had been managing the bar/night club we worked at together. After six months of my employment, there was no more denying the spark in our friendship and we officially became a couple. We moved back to my home town, Minneapolis, after I graduated so I could continue my studies and attend graduate school. Now married and three little birdies later, we live in St. Paul, MN. Outside of my motherhood and homemaking duties, I practice family therapy full time while also engaging in opportunities that stretch me creatively and allows me to explore other skill sets and passions.
What was it like for you during your pregnancies and the feelings you had experiencing the changes going on with your body?
To be honest, I wasn’t so sure how I would ever be able to handle the changes that come with being pregnant. Prior to getting pregnant with our first, I was super body conscious– maybe even to the point of it being unhealthy– but also probably in the best shape of my life. I remember feeling unsure and worried that I would never get my body back. Even more so, I found myself consumed with how my emotions were going to handle all the changes. Come to find out, I completely surprised myself and learned very quickly how much I love being pregnant. I felt incredibly empowered as a woman and had this inner sense of control and strength that I had never felt before. Outside from the usual morning sickness and the anxiety I experienced during our second and third pregnancies due to multiple early losses, I tried to celebrate the changes and welcome them with open arms. All I tried to concentrate on was being healthy and to simply be grateful for the tiny heartbeat that was changing our life with each passing day.
What part of your body image changes have you had to get use to and embrace since having children?
I’m thankful that I’ve learned to accept the changes with great care. After having babies I quickly realized how what was once was really important to me wasn’t as important anymore. My priorities shifted and all that mattered, and still matters, is being there for my family in the best possible way. I leaned into my new figure with great love for this strong body that was able to grow three healthy baby girls. Whether it’s nursing or just my body’s way, I shed the pregnancy weight pretty quickly. Sure there are areas I would like to change and see more defined muscle tone and overall be stronger, but I try to be gentle with myself and the time that I have to give to do certain things.
Some woman embrace their “mom body” and actually find themselves more confident and stronger vs. when they were younger, do you find this to be true?
When it comes to motherhood I think we tend to put certain expectations on ourselves that we have to be or do or look a certain way after we enter it. Motherhood is hard enough as it is, that to be hard on ourselves for the changes our has body made getting us there, makes it even more of a challenge. What I say to myself and to other mama’s that may struggle with their “mom body” is to be kind and gentle to that mama heart and body of yours. The changes that you want to make will come in due time. I’ve found, for me, I do feel stronger as a woman. But I don’t necessarily think I can credit it all to motherhood. Motherhood has shaped me indefinitely, that is certain. But I think my strength as a woman has simply evolved over time, in turn making more confident than I once was during my younger days.
After having a baby how do you like to get your “groove” back and into the swing of things?
Motherhood is a tapestry of woven parts, both equally beautiful and chaotic. Bringing life into the world is incredibly amazing but also overwhelming and can feel almost consuming at times. For me finding balance and a rhythm that works isn’t always easy, but extremely important. I’ve always had passions and dreams prior to children. But since having them I feel even more passionate to go after them and work hard to achieve what I really want for myself and for my family. So for me, being organized and asking for help when needed are the two main ingredients to making sure I’m getting my groove back. Those wise words, “it takes a village” lives strong in our family.
What struggles have you had with your mom body? What have you done to over come these struggles?
Us woman have enough insecurities the way it is, throw in motherhood and the body changes that come with that, it’s a lot. I’ve dealt with my body image at different times and phases throughout my life. After becoming a mother I embraced what my body was able to do and provide for my babies. I’ve breastfed all three babies and value not only the bonding time but the nourishment I was able and still able to provide for our littlest one. I think for me, I chose not to dwell on the changes my body has endured over time and rather value everything it has done for our family.
What advice would you give to other mothers who struggle with embracing their mom bodies?
To be patient but most importantly to be gentle and kind to yourself. Have no shame and embrace. If there are things you want to change, make time for it. It doesn’t have to be hours out of your day, rather 30 minutes to treat yourself and give your body the love it deserves is all it has to take. And finally reach out to other woman if you need support or ideas, we are all in this together and can be stronger and more empowered than ever if we have each other.