When a woman carries a baby, her body inevitable changes and post pregnancy body image is something that surely every single mum has contemplated as she looks at herself in the mirror in the days, weeks and months after giving birth.
I’ve carried two babies to term in two years, so it’s safe to say that my body has been through a lot and it’s not the same as the one that donned a wedding dress just a month before falling pregnant with Toby. That’s okay though.
I won’t pretend that I’ve not had moments of insecurity, but when it comes to it I know that my extra bit of tummy, my veiny chest, my swollen eyes and thinned hair are there for a reason; If I didn’t have them, we would have our babies.
Within a fortnight of having Martha I was asked my plans for losing the baby weight.
My plans at that point involved eating whatever I could get my hands on between Martha’s feeds and Toby’s craziness. My plans involved giving myself a major high five whenever I managed to have a shower and get dressed. My plans did not involve weight loss. I had shed 8 1/2 pounds of baby plus water and a placenta a mere two weeks previously, that’s enough for now.
It infuriates me that some people feel that it’s okay to say things like that and if you read my Top 10 Things Not To Say To New Parents post then you’ll see that I’m not alone. Too many new mums receive too many comments about their weight or shape and it’s not on.
So, when certain people in society are putting pressure on you, how do you rock you post pregnancy body? Simple, you own it! If someone mentions weight loss or exercise, you mention what a miracle your body achieved. You mention that you’re currently nurturing that miracle, you’re raising an actual human, you freaking rock!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat sensibly, that you should never leave the comfort of the sofa, that you shouldn’t strive to achieve a certain size or weight if you want to. Just don’t do it because someone has made you feel like crap and don’t do it before you’re ready.
I’m a size 8 naturally and I won’t pretend that I’ve experienced frequent weight gain and loss, that I’ve tried a bunch of diets or that I’ve struggled with my weight because I haven’t. Don’t let that make you think that I’ve never had insecurities though, because I have. I’m currently finding my more-wobbly-than-usual belly a mixture of amusing and awful, I am dreading the hair loss that left me with small bald patches and a weird tiny fringe last time, I’m frequenting Boots to analyse the various eye revitalising roll ons and creams available and I’ve had some rather unpleasant post-pregnancy health stuff that makes me feel less than attractive!
I stand by an article I wrote last year about how your size is not the deciding factor on your role as a ‘real mum’. We’re all real mums and whatever shape and size we are, we have all got bits we don’t entirely like and our bodies have all been through some major changes and traumas to grow our babies within them. That’s what is important here, you are a mum! Your beautiful child is a testament to what your amazing body has achieved so don’t knock the home that kept your baby safe for 9 (ish) months.
I like being the size I was a year ago because that’s my natural size and the one at which I look best. That, for me, is how to rock your post pregnancy body – be your natural best. Be whatever your body is when you eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise of whatever form suits you and just take care of yourself. To me, taking care of yourself does include treats, I don’t believe in restricting yourself unnecessarily and I wholeheartedly believe that happiness involves looking after yourself as much as you look after others. I wrote about it over in the collaborative blog I’m involved in – The Lifestyle Log.
If you have post pregnancy body image woes then have a think about what sensible and realistic steps you can make to feel better about it. Think about SMART goals and do what you need to do, but don’t let anyone shame you, don’t lose sight of what a wonderful thing your body has done and do feel pride in yourself. Because you rock Mama!