Self love after babies – sounds easy right? Who would have thought this would be a struggle for most of us. As women, there is a lot of pressure on our body image before babies and I feel like it only gets worse after babies. It may sound like something so minor to some but for me it has been a struggle learning to love my new body.
I never even had any thoughts about this while I was pregnant. You sort of live in this predicament where you expect everything to be the same as before babies. Everywhere we look online seems to be gorgeous girls who manage to bounce straight back after babies with no effort what so ever and I think maybe I was slightly ignorant and thought I would be the same too.
Your newly acquired mum bod is not something people warn you about like they do with everything relating pregnancy, labour and parenting. No one told me that I would get stretch marks in more places than my tummy. The shock I got when I found stretch marks on the backs of my legs behind my knees was scary – how could this be? I thought I had barely put weight on in my legs. No one tells you that its not just your tummy that gets bigger – your whole body can put on weight too.
So like most, I thought I was fat before babies, truth is I was not and I would do anything to have that body again! Then I remember that body had not made two gorgeous babies in under two years! Here is a couple of photos of then –
Even looking at those photo’s as I am writing this makes me really wish I could just bounce back to that. The next photo is a photo of me around 34 weeks pregnant with Kellan, my second pregnancy in under two years. Not only is it hard for my body to do that, my body never got a chance to get back to my ‘normal’ size after Harlee-Jae because I was pregnant again when she wasn’t even 3 months old.
I felt massive and ugly in these photos, I couldn’t look past my big thighs, my flabby arms and my double/triple/quadruple (haha) chins. It really took a lot for me to look past all my flaws and realise the real beauty lays within the fact that my body was doing something amazing for the second time and that is pure beauty in its self.
The next photo is my body now. I took this photo around six after my second child and I will be honest, its not the easiest photo for me to post. It is no where near perfect. I have stretch marks on my tummy, on my hips, on my bum, on my boobs and even on my legs. I have cellulite everywhere your body can have cellulite. My hips are huge in my eyes. My arms are double the size they used to be and I have a little mum pouch that I will probably never lose. However, I have decided it is important for me to have some self-love. I do not want to feel sad anymore about my body imagine. I do not want to feel pressure that I should bounce back ASAP! However, how do you love yourself when it is not classed as the norm to love your post baby, mum bod? We all support each other as mums, that is how.
You see that mum on your Instagram feed or Facebook posting about how she is working so hard to lose the post baby weight – let her know she’s doing good! Lift each other up because the truth is, most of us are all in the same boat wishing we had that old body we never appreciated.
Have realistic body goals. It took you a long nine months to put the weight on. It is only fair you give yourself nine months to lose it! It is not realistic at all to bounce back two months after baby! It is bloody great if you do, I am totally jealous if that is you but remember this isn’t the case for most of us!
My weight and size has always been something that I focus on probably too much. However, I am in no way #fitspo and I feel like I have to have some sort of fitspiration to make some positive changes on my new mum bod!
If there are two things I hate it is – Exercise and diets. Exercise, well maybe I can have a bit of love for it but only to a certain extent, hah! Diets on the other hand are not for me at all! If you do not know me, you will not know that I am one of the fussiest people you will ever meet hence why I hate diets – I am just too fussy, haha! Despite all this I am making some small lifestyle changes just to try help me get to a me I can love and be happy with.
For me, I know I will never stick to a strict fitness regime and diet forever, so I feel as though if I do it and put the hard yards in, it will all be a waste of time because I will just end up back where I started. Little changes that make a big impact are more of my goal!
My weakness is sugar! I love it, I crave it and I could eat it nonstop but I know this is not good for me so I have cut all types of drinks out of my diet bar water! I have also decided to make chocolate and sweet treats exactly that – a treat. I’m such a ‘Yo Lace, you only live once, go buy yo-self that chocolate and Lewis road creamery chocolate milk and demolish it! You deserve it, treat yo-self!’ buuuuuuuuut this had to change. I am also being more weary of my portion sizes. I am so bad at not eating all day then dinner comes and I eat enough for an army because I am starving! Again bad habit so back to regularly eating smaller sizes for me! Other than that, that is all I am changing in my diet.
Exercise – I do not exercise. I am in no way one of those hot gym girls that look good after an hour of exercise. I do zero exercise and I knew I needed to do something. I have started going for a 4km walk daily. It is still hard and I look like a beetroot, a very sweaty beetroot afterwards but at least I am doing it. We have also started doing little workouts at night, which will grow longer and more intense in time. And I am sure all you mama’s will agree with me that mum life in itself is exercise too! Most days I clock over 14,000 steps a day because I have a new born and one year old to run around after haha.
To all the #fitspo people out there, that probably sounds like nothing but for me it’s a lifestyle change. I am not doing this to become ripped, I am doing this to become a better, healthier version of myself. I do not have any expectations to lose a ton of weight quickly but I believe over time I will slowly lose enough to a point where I am happy again. I do not want abs and muscles, I just want to look in the mirror and feel happy again, I want to fit my clothes like I used too and I just want to feel healthier – which I already do!
It’s time for a change. It’s time for society to be more accepting of girls that don’t bounce back, of girls with stretch marks, of girls with a few lumps and bumps on their body. I do not want my daughter growing up in a world feeling like she has to ‘be’ a certain size, look a certain way or be a certain type of person. I want her to be confident in her own skin and be the person she really is.
The best way for this to happen is for me to be happy in my own skin and the person I am today. Sure I’m not the same size as I was 2 years ago, but that doesn’t mean I never will be again. Wise words from my midwife were – ‘It has taken you 9months to grow a baby and take these body changes so it’s going to take 9months for you to be back where you were before’. This is something I really need to remember, to remember that there is no quick fix and in the meantime I am going to love myself just the way I am. I am going to make some lifestyle changes to help the process but only because I want to better myself and be a healthy, happy me.
Don’t let these insecurities rule your life mama’s. Your body has done great things. Don’t be so hard on yourself, learn to embrace your new body and instead of aiming to be your old body size, find a new body goal that fits with your post baby body! If I can learn to love myself, even with a bit of a way to go – you can too! Catch you next time mates or catch up with us on snapchat (lace1313) to see what we do on the daily!