Today I was reading some online articles and could not resist clicking on a link in the side bar that read ‘What Pregnancy did to our bodies – Six brave mothers reveal the toll having a baby has taken on their figures’. I’m afraid articles like this are like porn to me. I am not in the least interested in the latest celeb who has ‘snapped’ back in to shape 3 weeks after giving birth (thanks to an early c-section and a personal trainer) but when it comes to ordinary women and how their bodies have changed after pregnancy, I’m a bit obsessed. I guess what I really want to know is, is it possible for ‘normal’ women to get their pre-baby bodies back?
Don’t get me wrong I am not of the camp that thinks we should all be supermodels and I am certainly no real yummy mummy – like I said I hate the whole celeb skinny mum thing but, I’m going to be really honest and say I was one of those women that really worried about what pregnancy would do to my body.
My mum, to this day has deep silvery stretch marks courtesy of my sister and I 36 years ago! Ok so she was carrying twins but I was always told stretch marks were hereditary according to your skin type. Basically if your mother has them then you’re doomed!! My Swedish friend’s mum gave birth to five children (including a set of twins) and never got a single stretch mark! Needless to say when my friend had both her children she was mark-free too despite her fair hair and complexion.
I always imagined I’d be the sort of woman who even put weight on her fingernails when pregnant! Throughout my pregnancy, ironically, I wasn’t worried about putting on weight at all. I totally get that I was ‘pregnant’ and not ‘fat’ and I made a point of not weighing myself so I have no idea how much weight I put on but, by the end I was BIG! And I loved it!
I didn’t give it too much thought, but was a little dismayed by the balloon like stomach that still looked six-months gone immediately after giving birth but overall I have to admit I was more than pleasantly surprised with how quickly I lost my pregnancy weight with little effort. A lot of this was down to the wonders of breastfeeding (this in my mind is the best reason to breastfeed after of course the good effects for your baby) but like one of the ladies in the article I was most worried about my boobs! All the women in my family are big-busted and they have to be one of my better features. Basically I was terrified I’d get the ‘empty-spaniel dog ear’ effect!!!!! So did they? Well no, not the drooping icing bags I feared but not quite as perky as they used to be either – however, this could be down to age! I’d say the biggest effect on my body was on my abs – they were totally obliterated! I remember having to have my legs lifted onto my bed for me for a week after giving birth as I didn’t have the strength to after pushing for 4 hours – yes 4 hours!
I know in some ways I have no right to complain as my body is pretty good for my age and after birth and I was one of the lucky ones who was back in skinny-ish jeans three months after birth. However, it’s not actually about comparing yourself to anyone else and certainly not to celeb beach bods! It’s at least for me, far more complicated than that: It’s about how you felt about your body before, how motherhood has changed you and how you see yourself. I used to be a dancer and have always worked in the music industry so rightly or wrongly appearance os a big factor in the profession I’m in. I don’t think I have an unhealthy view or obsession with my appearance – I just care about how I look!
So, the verdict, can your body ever be the same after giving birth? Well no, in some ways I’d say my body will never look like it did before Bear-cub but having said that I really am quite surprised about how good it can look post-baby with bit of effort. I can be pretty lazy so there’s no point complaining if I don’t do something about it. At the start of the year I went on a mission to ‘get my body back’ I didn’t really need to lose any weight but really needed to tone up. After research and after many recommendations I first encountered ‘Tracy Anderson’ (who just had a second baby this week) and bought her Mat video and Post-Pregnancy workout! Man, is it hard work to start with but amazingly it really did very quickly start to show results. I have now rediscovered my abs! They are risen from the dead! I still have that annoying skin-flap thing but Tracy said it’s possible to get rid of and she apparently gained over 3 stone in pregnancy and is only 5ft tall!
The picture below was taken a year after I had BearCub!
I’m not one of those women who says she cherishes all stretch marks, drooping boobs and wobbling thighs as reminders of the gift of their beautiful children – I really don’t need this kind of momento to appreciate BearCub! I love being a mum but I also want to feel like I’m still a woman and feeling attractive helps with that. I guess looking after myself is another reminder for me that I’m More than a Mum!
So a few questions for you:
Which bit of your body changed the most after pregnancy?
Is there anything about your body you prefer post-pregnancy?
Which bit of your body has been the hardest to get back in shape after giving birth?
Do you miss you pre-baby body?
Do you think mum’s should be concerned about how their bodies look?
What do you recommend for any mum’s who want to get in shape?