Sewing My Way Back to Self-Love After Baby

In pretty much all aspects of my life things are so different that I almost forget what it was like before having a baby. But we’re here to talk about sewing, so lets do that. My journey back to sewing is also a journey back to self-love, much like my original journey to sewing.

The first three months after Evie was born were a blur. I know, everybody says that. But I can’t come up with any better words to describe it and it’s one of those things that you’ll never really understand until you’ve lived through it, I guess. I certainly didn’t. I was sick my whole pregnancy and Evie’s birth was traumatic so we had no reserves when she arrived. But I did get into my sewing room for tiny stretches at a time. I swaddled Evie against my chest for a nap or put her bassinet next to my sewing machine and every 10 minutes I could spend was an important reminder of who I was, independent of this amazing little parasite that had totally controlled my body and therefore my life from the moment she was conceived.

The next three + months were dark. I was depressed, I was sleep deprived, I was definitely fighting a postpartum mood disorder. I understood why sleep deprivation is a torture technique. I kept nabbing 10 mins of sewing here and there when I could and it would give me flashes of inner peace, but not much could break through the dark fog that surrounded my brain.

Physically, my body echoed many of the mental states I was in. I gained 50 pounds when pregnant. I had read “bring loose clothes to the hospital since you don’t go right back to normal” but when I came home I looked more than 6 months pregnant and couldn’t fit into anything in my half or my husband’s half of the closet. My body didn’t feel like my body, but it was all just part of the blur. During the dark phase my body still felt totally foreign, was still a different size and shape, and I hated it. I couldn’t even sit down and quickly sew something for myself as therapy since my body was so foreign. Any sewing for myself required lots of fitting and I didn’t have the emotional energy to face fitting clothes to my body. But what sewing for myself I did helped me. It was self-care that I needed. It was a step towards self-love and self-acceptance.

The next six months were a slow climb back to myself. I started getting some sleep, I started getting some childcare help, I started resembling the me I was before getting pregnant both mentally and physically. I started finding some more time to sew. I consciously chose to invest my sparse sewing time in garments that were labors of love, that used beautiful materials and required lots of time because I needed to show myself that I was worth it.

And now, with a 14 month old baby toddler, I’ve reached a new normal. And I’m okay with it. Physically I’m similar enough to pre-baby that I can wear most of the clothes in my closet and that feels great. I have a mom belly now, but I’m proud of what that belly did for me and I’m learning to love it for what it is and to sew clothes for it in a way that I still feel confident and sexy. I still have my share of struggles, but who doesn’t. My sewing time is scarcer than ever, but I’m figuring out how to do ALL THE THINGS (and how to be okay with NOT doing ALL THE THINGS) and, knowing that I have to use my time wisely, I’ve developed a clear vision for what I want my wardrobe to look like for the first time so there’s even a silver lining to that. I’m back to caring for myself and taking care of myself and sewing has been an instrumental part of that journey.

Read more about our #EaseIntoMotherhood project and share your own story.

Comments 9

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It really resonates with me and I’m sure lots of other moms. My daughter is 18 months old now and what a ride it has been. I too have found my new normal and an in a place of acceptance with it. I’m finding ways to incorporate sewing into my life again and it is such a boost for my mental health. The only thing I find now is I often make clothes for my daughter instead of myself. Still trying to find a balance where I matter too and deserve cute clothes. Getting there though. Look forward to reading about your future makes.

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      Thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad to hear you’ve found a new normal too and I wish you all the best in finding balance. You do matter too!

  2. Ohhh Erin!!

    As I read your story, I thought… women are so lucky to have a blury memory during the first few months after delivery! Eventhough it hasn’t been neurologically proved, it makes so much evolutionary sense!! Right?

    Becoming a mother has been the hardest best thing that has happened in my life!


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  3. This is just wonderful-Thanks for sharing! I can relate to so many of these feelings after having my babies. Having something to focus on that’s just you and not baby is so important. And that photo showing off your stretch marks is beautiful!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter also went through a dark time after the birth of their second daughter. She has emerged on the other side an amazing strong woman who advocates passionately for women in their “4th trimester”. Give yourself grace everyday and as much or as little time sewing as you wish.

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      I’m so sorry your daughter also had a dark time. It is so much more prevalent of an experience than one might think which is exactly why I think it is so important for us to talk about it. I’m so glad to hear your daughter is now strong and an advocate!

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