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Drew Barrymore admits after daughter Olive, she felt “saggy” and shares the strategy she uses to keep up a positive body image. Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Once you’ve had a child, your body just isn’t the same. And Drew Barrymore, for one, thinks the changes are just wild. “After making two babies, holy cow, does your body do some crazy stuff!” the actress, 40, marveled recently in Glamour about her shape since welcoming daughters Olive, 2, and Frankie, 11 months. “It’s hard to stay positive and love yourself. You feel like a kangaroo with a giant pouch; everything’s saggy and weird.”
But the star, wed to art adviser Will Kopelman, has a smart strategy she uses to keep from getting too down about her post-baby body. “[You] think about how beautiful it is that you’re able to make children,” she says. “When I lose sight of that, I exercise, read Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and spend time with my kids. Then I start to see things that are bigger than myself.”
This reality check is a smart strategy, according to psychotherapist Robi Ludwig. “When you have children for first time in life, someone matters to you in some ways more than you do,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “That powerful kind of love gives us the opportunity to put life in perspective in terms of what matters. Yes, it matters that you feel good about your body, but you don’t have to become obsessed so that’s the only focus.”
And as unusual as including Dr. Seuss in the mix may sound, Ludwig says it’s a genius move. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is an inspirational book that reminds us where we are is not necessarily where we’re always going to be,” she says. “So if you’re in a moment of not feeling happy with yourself, with your body, it’s nice to be reminded that you don’t have to stay there.”
Considering all of the moms who report feeling conflicted about their post baby bodies, it’s a message that really resonates. One survey of 7,000 new moms found that one to two years after having their baby, 86 percent of women say their belly still hasn’t returned to normal — and 64 percent of those polled confessed that their body image has gotten worse since they became a mother.
Keeping your post-baby body in perspective doesn’t have to be a huge project though, adds Ludwig. She recommends trying to cope by helping yourself feel as good as you can in the moment. “Recognize that this is a different chapter in your life,” she says. “Try getting a new outfit that fits you now that you can feel good in or maybe get your hair blown out. Just start where you are now to make yourself feel good now because success can build on success.”
Another tip is to turn to others in the same boat. “There’s power in being amongst others who are new moms and knowing that your experience is normal and universal,” she adds. “Parenting can be isolating but if you force yourself to get out and hear about how the struggle to fit into your old clothes and love your new body is normal, you probably won’t feel so crazy about it anymore.”
Just make sure the people you turn to are positive thinkers, says Dr. Robyn Silverman, body image expert and author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsessions is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It. “You are who you surround yourself with,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “So if you surround yourself with people who bash their bodies and constantly talk about weight, that’s what will permeate your mind. Sometimes you just have to know, as an older friend of mine says, You don’t have to change the chicken, just change the pot.”