5 ways to love your post baby body

Throughout my twenties I was pretty body-conscious. I went to the gym regularly and spent as long as I wanted preparing healthy, nutritious meals… or at least make something more comprehensive than dry toast with a side of neat gin.

I may well be remembering the decade with rose tinted glasses but I’m 99% sure my skin used to have a youthful, radiant glow; it was far easier to shed a few pounds and everything was much perkier than it is now.

Fast forward ten years and two kids and my body feels as though it’s been to war. I don’t want to go into too much detail (to preserve the tiny shreds of dignity still intact after a room full of people watched me deliver a baby) but things sag that didn’t sag before.

Much of who I was before children has gone, or at the very least is on long-term hiatus.

I’m always relatively close to someone asking when I’m ‘due’ and with very little time to apply sufficient makeup to cover the bags under my eyes, I could easily be mistaken for an extra on The Walking Dead.

I didn’t expect it too be easy: growing baby around for 40 weeks before manually evacuating it into the big, bad world is obviously going to take a lot of work and physical exertion.

Kiddies

What I didn’t quite take on board is that pregnancy can leave you with bigger feet…indefinitely. It can also leave you with a wider ribcage, receding gums, a loose pelvic floor and the inability to shed those last, stubborn 10 pounds.

Although I can’t corroborate the wonky teeth and giant feet, I can certainly vouch for the pelvic floor ‘issues’ and extra weight that won’t budge.

I don’t have to reinvent myself, just remind myself who I was before children.

With my family now complete and no intention of carrying another tiny human, it feels like it’s time to reclaim my body and my authentic-self. For the past three years I have either identified as a mum or an incubator.

Much of who I was before children has gone, or at the very least is on long-term hiatus.

Over the past few months I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t have to be that way. I could be both a mum and an individual in my own right; both identities can co-exist.

Better still, I don’t have to reinvent myself, just remind myself who I was before children. Re-start hobbies, re-connect with friends and re-learn to love my new, post-partum self.

The first two I accomplished without a great deal of negotiation but body-positivity? That’s not been so straightforward. This is what I’ve learned so far…

Ignore the media

Don’t listen to anyone that tells you your body will return to normal in X amount of months. First and foremost, your body is not going to return to ‘normal’…not the normal it was before you housed a baby anyway, and there is no time frame to abide by; the only person placing expectation on you is yourself.

Accentuate the parts of your body you love

Let’s be realistic, even if you’ve fully embraced your new mum-bod, there is probably going to be something you don’t like. Identify the areas that you feel most confident in and accentuate them.

Try and fit some maintenance into your routine

This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘do some exercise’, it may be in the form of a relaxing soak in the tub or a haircut. After all the hard work you have done over the past few months, you’ve probably earned a reward. There is nothing better than a pampering session for boosting self-confidence.

If on the other hand, exercise is what you fancy, then set small, realistic goals and hold on to a positive mantra…’love the bits you can’t change and work on the bits you can’.

Adjust your vocabulary

Rather than thinking of all the ways you don’t like your body or that you’re disappointed the weight hasn’t fallen away sooner, remember all the amazing adjustments you are making as a mum. Are you able to scrape yourself out of bed four times a night to calm your restless child? Are you able to feed and nourish another human? Do you spend countless hours down on the floor, playing and chasing and entertaining?

Look at the bigger picture 

The most important thing for me to remember is that my body is this way because I brought two beautiful children into the world.

Pregnancy made me feel as though I could accomplish anything and I try and wear my imperfections with pride. My children are (almost) certainly worth the compromised pelvic floor and a few extra pounds.

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