Type ‘post baby body’ into just about any search engine and you’ll get a ridiculous number of images, articles, blogs and opinions. Typing it into Google alone brings up 220,000,000 results in 0.4 seconds..! Type the same 3 words into Pinterest and you get all kinds of goodies – everything from ‘Diary of a Fit Mommy’ with an image of a giant belly next to an image of a 6 pack to ‘Best Foods for Weightloss While Breastfeeding’ to ‘Stay-At-Home SKinny’. There are so many voices telling mums – mums like me – that the ‘post baby body’ needs to be extensively worked on to get back to the before baby body that we once had.
First of all, my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t a 6 pack – so I can skip over that blog with ease (buh-bye!) and my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t due to a vegan non-GMO diet either, so what does that mean for me? How do I ‘deal with’ this post baby body? Like this:
Don’t get me wrong here – I don’t have a perfect, healthy, well-rounded view of my body – I never have. I used to hardly ever eat when I was in school. I’d throw lunches away, suck in my non-existent stomach and claim I was full from my tiny muesli bar at recess time. In Uni, I would make salad and tuna lunches almost every day and wouldn’t snack if people were around. I never thought I was ‘fat’ per se, but I definitely wanted to control what I looked like.
When I was pregnant, everything swelled – and I mean everything! Not only did my stomach grow due to the tiny human being created inside, my ankles doubled, my fingers doubled, my face puffed up and my thighs touched like they’d been separated at birth and missed each other terribly…and for most of those loooong months, I was ok with that. There was a small, new life being formed and that was why my body was looking the way it was. By the end I was over not being ale to wear anything but one pair of maternity leggings and one flowy dress with flip-flops, but over all – I’d been ok with how the person in the mirror had changed.
Now, it’s been 11 weeks since my Little E joined our team and I’ve been asked twice when my baby is due. Can I get a face palm here please? Little E, swimming in excess amniotic fluid, came into this world via a c-section, so not only does my body have months and months of settling down to do, it had recovery from major surgery to deal with too. So yes – I’m still wearing those maternity leggings and those maternity jeans and those flowy tops. So yes – my stomach sticks out and I do look 5 months pregnant still. So yes – my thighs are still loving on each other and my engagement ring still doesn’t fit back on my left hand…BUT one look at my Little E and all that disappears because she’s gurgling and smiling and grabbing her toys and that little body was housed in mine! My body was used to bring that little one into this world and of course I won’t have my ‘before baby body’!
In fact I’ve recently been thinking about it this way – I’ll never be 18 years old again. I’ll never be a high school student again. I’ll never be 21 again, I’ll never have my first driving lesson again, I’ll never travel on a plane for the first time again…so why should I get so hung up on the fact that I’ll never be like I used to be again? My life is forever different – my Little E has changed that without a doubt – so the desire for a before baby body for me (and granted, this isn’t for everyone, I get that) isn’t high on my prioroties list. I want to be healthy, I want to enjoy where we are in life and set good examples and rhythms for this little life that doesn’t care what I look like or that I don’t fit a size 10 anymore. To her, I’m just her Mama – her ‘Ima’ – and that’s enough for her, so I’m learning that it will be enough for me too. For me there has to be no ‘before’ or ‘post’ when it comes to my body, it has to just be the next stage, the next journey…just me.