If you’re a mother, you’re probably reading this on your phone as you sit on the toilet during your seven seconds of quiet time donning a lovely drool-stained shirt and spit-up in your hair.

But besides all that, you also probably have what we all refer to as a “belly pooch.”

Here’s the thing: Even though society displays gorgeous, skinny models everywhere and says that you need to look that way to be attractive, it simply isn’t true. In fact, all it does is make women overly critical of their bodies and can even be cause for depression.

The fact of the matter is, you grew a human being for nine months. It’s not something that may even be POSSIBLE anymore after you gave birth to a baby. Your body is not SUPPOSED to look the same as it did before it went through such a defining moment. Why should it? Why WOULD it? Think about that for a moment and let it set in.

After stretching and expanding your skin for so long, a belly pooch can last anywhere from months to years after you give birth, even if you’re exercising and eating right on a daily basis. And you know what? That’s totally and completely okay. We want you to know that. And it’s time to start accepting your body for what it is: A masterpiece.

So when you start seeing ads everywhere for “bouncing back after baby” or “getting your body back”? Just try and flip the page or click away.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But if you’re looking to change your mindset about it, you might benefit from writing these tips down.

First, try and find something that you do appreciate about your body. Maybe it’s the fact that your “pooch” is there because you created a human life. I mean, that’s pretty amazing, we think. Try and see that your “pooch” doesn’t define who you are—if you’re a good person, then no one cares about what you look like.

It always helps when celebrities remain positive. Check out singer Jessie James Decker’s recent Instagram post on her “mom bod” below.

 

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Keepin it real! 3 weeks post and I’m still very swollen. The 3rd has been by far the hardest recovery, but I’m feeling stronger every day. Little Forrest is such an amazing baby and the easiest one of the 3. I’ve updated you all throughout my entire pregnancy and how much my tummy/baby were growing monthly so I felt like I should share where I’m at post baby. It sure is incredible what the body can do and I’m so grateful! I know i say this after each baby but remember what our bodies just when through for 9 months and be proud, don’t stress over post baby body, just enjoy your new baby because these are beautiful moments and memories you will cherish forever (aaaand drink your coffee to survive the no sleeping all night long ha!) ❤️

A post shared by Jessie James Decker (@jessiejamesdecker) on

To help, write down some of the things that you love about yourself. If you’re struggling to come up with any, just start with some affirmations or intentions that inspire you—things like “All bodies are good bodies” or “You deserve happiness.”

Always remember that your baby is going to love you whether you’ve got a squishy tummy or rock-hard abs. And really, isn’t that what this is all about?

For a more practical tip, it always helps when you stay Instagram, Or at least, unfollow the people who give off unrealistic expectations. Even though it may look like that fitness blogger or model bounced back after giving birth, you might not be seeing the whole picture (as in, literally—it could be photoshopped). It’s very easy to fall into the comparison trap!

Keep in mind that having a “belly pooch” is a completely normal mom thing, and it just means that you’re ten types of awesome. Keep up the good work.

Have you fallen victim to the “belly pooch”? What advice do you have for others to stay positive through it all?