As if it’s not enough that you’ve got a whole new life to adapt to and a little helpless creature to care for, you’re also expected to ping back to your size whatever figure. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to be bothered about this- having a baby is a reason to get fat, right? Finally a valid excuse for having a wobbly tummy. But you can’t help picking up a bit of negativity from what you see around you.
Adverts on TV for nappies or formula featuring lovely slim mummies, a crowd of celebrity endorsed weight loss DVDs and countless books on the latest diet trends. Not to mention celebrity magazines raving about how quickly stars have shrunk back to their pre-pregnancy shape after ‘ballooning’ to an enormous size 12, or how Kim Kardashian looks ‘chunky’ after giving birth (I mean, how dare she?!) And then there are the joys of social media. When I started babymabymama, I also started an Instagram account to show off my lovely baby girl. So when I’m happily hash-tagging away, Instagram suggests things like #postpartumbody #postnatalfitness and #fitmom. I had no idea getting your ‘bikini body’ back was such a big deal until i was bombarded with messages from mums trying to sell their new-mum diet and exercise programs. I was confused. Who decided this is the most important thing to do after you’ve had a baby? I thought bonding with your squishy new BFF was the most important bit. What about knowing that your body will probably never be the same but that it doesn’t matter? And to be honest, I think it’s a bit boring. I’d much rather see how many cute faces your baby has made than how many pounds you’ve lost. I want to see big-eyed, dribbly babies in cute rompers, not rapid weight loss before and after shots. We’re putting too much importance on getting thin and it makes the women who are perhaps struggling with postnatal depression or just feeling exhausted and hormonal feel worse.
I’m not a fat potato
Now I don’t want you reading this thinking that I’m just giving myself an excuse for being massive. I didn’t actually gain as much weight as I thought I would when I was pregnant because I was very sick, and even after the sickness I just didn’t really fancy eating much. Then the postnatal anxiety also kept the weight gain down. So I’m about a stone heavier than before I got pregnant. And I can’t really blame Mabel, to be honest. I can only blame the postnatal cake eating I have partaken in! But I’m not complaining because I’d much rather have gained a few pounds from eating cake when I’m happy than not being able to eat due to postnatal anxiety.
Enter the demons
When you’re having a bad day and mentally listing all the reasons you’re not a worthy mother or human being, it becomes easy to tag onto the end of this, “and I’m fat”. Not only are you a total disaster, you also look hideous naked. But i know those thoughts are only short lived. As new mothers we should be proud of our bodies, whatever their size and shape. Where did this baby come from?! You baked it for 9 months and now it’s turned into a baby. Your body grew with her and changed with her and provided all the nourishment and security for her to grow into a little bean ready to be born into the world. Then there’s the childbirth – our bodies just knew what to do. We might not have thought we knew what was happening but our bodies did. We are amazing. A few extra wobbly pounds stuck to our hips and thighs should be the last thing on our minds.
We all know how beneficial exercise is for helping to tackle anxiety and depression. It helps burn off some of that nervous energy and adrenalin that makes us feel so bad and is therefore important to our mental health. So If you want to, exercise your way back into your skinny jeans. But only if it makes you feel better, only if it has a positive impact on your mental health and only if you want to do it. Otherwise, take the pressure off. Don’t do it because you think you ought to. Please don’t let your new body cause you any unhappiness or define you. Love every lump, bump and stretch mark because it’s part of you. Be proud of you and what your body has achieved.
I’d love to know your thoughts ladies and gents. ❤️ xxx