The ‘post baby body’
Google ‘post baby body’ these days, and your screen will instantly be filled with super toned, stretch mark free mums who have miraculously regained their washboard abs just weeks after popping out a baby. Mums everywhere seem to be snapping back into shape at lightening speed…how?! Are they covered head to toe in Spanx under their skinny jeans? Have they literally not eaten a single calorie since giving birth? Are they vacuuming out their thigh fat with their Dyson? Is their baby even theirs…surely they were never pregnant?! Where are the muffin tops, the huge inflated leaky boobs, the wobbly jelly bellies, the varicose veins, the orange peel bottoms and thighs?! WHO ARE THESE ALIENS?!
If you clicked on this title & read the first paragraph thinking this was going to be a post which gives you the secret to a Celebrity-esque post baby body, you may be a little disappointed. Now, I’m a certified PT so I guess I could tell you. I could write you a training plan, I could design you a meal plan to help you lose excess post baby pounds, I could show you what abs exercises will strengthen your core & nip in your waist, but that isn’t what this post is about. Before I gave birth to my son the thought of having a saggy tummy button (yep, it’s weird) and stretch marks on my boobs (not only saggy, but a size smaller than pre pregnancy – now that’s just unfair!) horrified me – I was determined to regain my pre baby shape as quickly as possible. I’m happy with my post baby body; I’ve worked hard to regain my strength and fitness after pregnancy and birth. Finally after 18 months, I feel strong again, I can run without weeing myself (wahoo!), I can lift heavy weights, I can see my abs again & I feel confident in my clothes…..BUT these aren’t the reasons why I’m proud of my body now. They don’t even come close…
I’m proud of my body for so much more than the way it looks. This body grew, birthed and fed a tiny human – how awesome is that?! Pregnancy was kind to me & I was amazed by how adaptable my body way. During my pregnancy I felt strong and somehow more balanced – my body somehow knew what it was supposed to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I had “argh I’m SO huge I must be carrying triplets” moments, but on the whole I was just in awe of this amazing, natural process.
For me, birth the most incredible & emotional experience of my life. Once again, even though my mind was flipping out, my body just knew what to do. Nature took over & it was awesome. Regardless of how our babies arrive, natural birth or c-section, the whole process is utterly amazing & humbling. Our bodies are so strong & so incredibly powerful. Not only have we created & grown little living creatures, we have delivered them into the world – I believe THAT is something to be proud of.
Every stretch mark, saggy nipple, excess pound pales into insignificance when you think about how wonderfully strong and capable your body is. I truly believe that women need to stop giving ourselves such a hard time. Yea most of us wouldn’t mind killer abs and significantly less cellulite than we have but we created LIFE! Our bodies made PEOPLE! Surely that is more empowering and fabulous than being able to squeeze into a body con dress without wrapping yourself in cling film first?!
I believe that being fit & healthy for our children is incredibly important. Childhood obesity is on the rise & I believe parents play a key role in helping children understand how important exercise and healthy eating are – monkey see, monkey do. I hope that my son grows up enjoying the feeling of keeping fit & has enough respect for his body to keep it strong & healthy. For me, this starts by setting the right example….he comes running with me in his pram, watches me lifting weights & doesn’t see me eating junk food – if this helps me stay in good shape & means I lost my ‘baby weight’ fairly quickly then that’s great, but how my body ‘looks’ is not really that important in the grand scheme of things. I hope he sees & understands the respect I have for my body, regardless of its size or appearance, & understands the importance of his health.
Surely our ‘post baby body’ should be less about crucifying ourselves for the excess pounds, the wobbly bits & how different we look after having a baby & more about how strong & amazing we are? Yes fitness and health are important, yes we might get a flat tummy & less cellulite as a byline of living a healthy lifestyle. BUT the female body is amazing regardless of its shape or size, women are strong abs or no abs & we need to set a powerful example for our children. It’s time to stop criticising and start loving our bodies!
It’s not vain to say “I love my body and I’m proud of it”, we should be proud, really proud.