Ok, look, this needs to stop. There’s way too much pressure to get your “body back” after having a baby. Honestly, you’d think that having a baby was unnatural or something. There’s so much talk about getting your body back (as if it ever left), how to get in shape after having a baby, or glorifying celebs who managed to magically do it (ignoring the expensive team of professionals who helped them).
So, let’s get real. Here’s my advice on tackling getting “your body back”.
1. Take a step back and look at it fairly
The truth is that your body is going to be different after having children. AND THAT’S OK. The only reason we feel the need to get our old bodies back is because we are told that we should. (Afterall, all the celebs are doing it). To break it down, you’re supposed to give birth, manage being a parent to a new born, AND get your old body back within 6 weeks. This way of thinking is unrealistic and unfair.
2. Your body has changed and that’s a good thing
The concept of “getting back your body” is a relatively new one. We used to accept that women changed after childbirth. But then, like most things, people found a way to capitalise on it. The mummy, diet, and beauty industries have created the idea that something is “wrong” with your body. You gave birth, but now you need to hide all evidence of that. But don’t fear, they have the solution on how to fix it. All you need to do is pay for a belly wrap, stretch mark cream, a diet, personal trainer, and some detox tea. THEN, you will suddenly get your body back. But none of these products work… so then you start to think that you are the problem… maybe you just need to try a new diet or buy a more expensive belly wrap. Then you do it all over again with your second child… and guess what… the products didn’t work that time either.
Your body has changed for a reason. It’s supposed to happen. It is natural. It’s a good thing.
3. Your baby doesn’t care how you look
The number one priority right now is you and your baby. Your baby doesn’t care how you look. If it wasn’t for your stretched skin, swollen breasts, and pure strength, that baby wouldn’t exist. Right now, you need to care for yourself so you can care for your baby. That means eating well, getting out of the house for a walk, sleeping as much as you can, and just going easy on yourself. Having a baby is challenging enough without having to try and totally change your physical body on top of it.
4. Your body is a souvenir of your achievements
We celebrate the scars of heroes and athletes, but we shame the scars from growing a human. A pregnant body develops curves and shapes in order to grow and nourish an infant. Skins stretches, hips expand, and breasts swell with milk. These changes can stick around after the baby is born. It’s truly unfair that we see stretch marks as something bad rather than the souvenirs of a miracle.
5. Our bodies change
Our bodies change dramatically during our lives. From growing up, to monthly menstrual cycles, to having children, to menopause… we change a lot. The key is to start accepting that you’re going to change and that this isn’t a bad thing. Yes, you may see celebrities who have managed to avoid aging and always look flawless… but you’re only seeing them when they look their best. That isn’t real life.
6. This time will pass quickly
Babies grow superfast and this time is going to pass quickly. You have a choice here, either allow your time to be invested in chasing the perfect bod or invest your time in figuring out all this parenting jazz. Think about it, would you rather pass your time comparing yourself to Insta Mums or creating memories?
7. Children learn about body confidence from their parents
If you’re confident in your body, then you children will feel good in their skin too. Lead by example and they will follow. Children absorb when a parent doesn’t want to be photographed or wear a swimsuit. They notice when a parent goes on a diet or tries to change themselves. Being comfortable in your skin isn’t just for you, it’s for your children too.
7. Trust your body
Your body knows what it needs to do and it will do it naturally. What really matters is that you listen to your body. Sleep when you can, eat when you are hungry, go outside for a walk when you feel low, and go to the doctor if something feels wrong. Listen to your body and respect it’s needs, not the advice of a random Insta influencer.
And just to say it once more, you don’t need to get your “body back”. Your body never left you.