I should preface this post by saying I’ve never had a hot body. When many of you look back to your teen years and reminisce about your tiny bod I think back to an awkward body, pear shaped and a little pudgy. Once I reached my twenties I lost a little weight and got healthier, but I still wasn’t skinny. It’s just not in my genetic makeup and let’s be honest I’m not going to starve myself so I can look how other people think I should, I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I’ve always been more interested in my character and personality than in the way I look, but all that said I still want to look nice, well fed and nice.
I tell you this because I want you to know where I’m coming from, I’ve never had a low self esteem even when I’ve packed on a few extra kgs. But even being really confident in your own skin does not totally prepare you for growing, then birthing a child and the shell of a body that is sometimes left behind. Don’t get me wrong, I amazed myself with what I did, but I also sometimes look in the mirror and don’t recognise the body I see.
1. Weight Gain – I was pretty blessed when it came to putting on weight during pregnancy, I just ate normally when I could (during the first 20 weeks I ate a lot of crackers and two minute noodles cause I was really sick) and only put on about 9kgs. I only know this because my midwife weighed me a couple of times, we don’t own a scale. Weight loss in our household is tracked by the tightness of your jeans. Also I wasn’t a small girl to begin with, I’m kind of built to birth. Some people just get fatter when they get pregnant and there is nothing they can do about it (just like I did nothing to not put on much weight, genetics), for some reason to grow a healthy baby their body makes them puff up like a balloon. If one of your friends gets ‘pregnant fat’ be nice to them, it’s not their fault…actually be nice to all your pregnant friends. You might think that ‘they’re cute’ or ‘glowing’, just remember they feel like a whale, even the small ones. Also my biggest advice for newly pregnant woman is don’t ‘eat for two’, just eat when you’re hungry, the time to pig out is when you’re breast feeding, it is hunger like you’ve never experienced before and it means you can eat a crap load of doughnuts and your baby will suck them straight out of you.
2. Stretch Marks – Most women avoid talking about them, unless you’re an Instagram star and you like to flaunt your striped stomach in your bikini accompanied with hashtags like #proudmama and #totallyworthit. If I’m completely honest I was pretty nervous about getting stretch marks and I tried to convince myself that I was going to be one of the lucky ones (like my mother) who didn’t get them. But then one day at around 37 weeks I spotted the first one hiding under my belly and each week more would appear snaking their way around my stomach. Even usually confident me found it to be a bit of a hit to my ego. I searched the internet for miracle creams that would make them disappear and quickly discovered that there were no miracles…these tummy squiggles were here to stay. Then something funny happened once Walt arrived, they didn’t bother me anymore, I still poked my tummy every morning eagerly awaiting them to fade (they do fade) but they no longer stressed me out, they were now a reminder of what I’d gone through. Yes, I became one of those #totallyworthit mothers, but not to the point that I’m going to flaunt my post baby body in a bikini, I’m still a one piece kind of girl.
3. Personal Grooming – I know a lot of Mum’s don’t put effort into doing their hair and makeup and I totally understand why, who has the time? But for me I wanted to make the time, I didn’t want to become one of those ladies wearing overly stretched leggings and stained Mickey Mouse t-shirts to the mall. It was important to me that I looked nice for myself, but also for my husband so I came up with a plan that I practiced while I was pregnant. First an easy haircut, I already had that but I got the back cut a little shorter so it required less maintenance and second I simplified my makeup routine – mascara, bronzer and BB cream. I also simplified my wardrobe, I’ve kept it basic with a few pieces I can mix and match. I want to look nice but I also only have a small window of time in the morning to get ready, lots of decisions slow me down!
4. Sex – Don’t worry I’m not going to go into any details, but I know that this can be a very touchy subject and people tend not to talk about it. Here are a couple of things I found helpful: First a series by The Longest Shortest Time podcast, warning this is pretty explicit so it may not be for everyone and second an article about your lady parts.
It’s been four months since I had Walt and a lot of the time I still feel like a deflated balloon. Each week my body looks a tiny bit more normal and through this slow healing process I try and remind myself that I did something amazing and to be kind to myself. Isn’t it funny how quickly we encourage our friends and tell them how good they look after having baby, but criticise ourselves? Be patient.