The Mum-Bod Expectation
The Mum-Bod Expectation
Social media is constantly flooded with women posting images of the body within 6 weeks of giving birth. They are (almost) always accompanied with the caption “Please don’t judge my mum-bod jiggles” or “I’ve still got a way to go” or something along those lines. Why do they feel like they need to include the ‘I just gave birth ‘disclaimer? Why is there an expectation placed on us that our body will go back to normal immediately? And, (excuse my language) who the f*ck is passing judgement?!?!
Why do women feel this pressure that their body must bounce back into shape 5 minutes after giving birth? Aren’t we worth more than that? Shouldn’t we be judged on the fact that we just gave birth? That we kept a baby safe in our tummy for 9 months and then gave birth to a human being? Shouldn’t we be celebrating our new baby? Not letting society (or ourselves) judge us on our looks.
It took 9 months for our skin to stretch, for our bodies to grow and make room for our baby. It’s not going to bounce back into shape within 6 weeks. Not to mention that those first 6 weeks are like nothing you have ever experienced before. You are beyond exhausted, you are only sleeping in 2-3 hour blocks at a maximum, you are healing from labour or a caesarean, you have probably leaky boobs, you are living on cold toast and coffee because you are so bloody tired, you barely have time to have a shower let alone go for a walk around the block. These are not optimal conditions for weight loss at the best of times, let alone while you are trying make sense of your new role as mummy.
If you break your leg and you’re in a cast for 6 weeks, once you are back up and mobile again you don’t take a photo of your broken leg with the caption “Please don’t judge my broken-leg body” do you? Why is it different for postpartum mummies? Why do we strive to look as though we were never pregnant? We should be celebrating what the female body can achieve, not trying to hide away from it.
Was my body back to normal at 6 weeks postpartum? Hell no! Did I care? Another resounding hell no! I was too concerned with looking after my little boy to worry about how I looked. Obviously my health was important to me and I was doing my best to look after myself but my only priority at that time was my little boy. I wasn’t worrying about my weight or my jiggly tummy and I certainly wasn’t taking photos of myself and critiquing all my physical flaws. My body had just delivered me the best present of all. If anything I was in awe of it. I knew in time my body would bounce back. And you know what – it did bounce back, not 6 weeks later and maybe not even 6 months later, but it definitely did go back to normal. It might not be exactly the same, but in my eyes, it’s even better now. Having a baby has undoubtedly been the greatest thing I have ever done. The changes to my body fill me with pride, they show me how strong I am and what my body is capable of.
Ladies if you want to share your post baby body, then go for it. Share it with pride, celebrate those jiggles and wobbly bits, they provided safe haven for your baby for 9 whole months. You do not need to include the mum-bod disclaimer There is no shame in your body looking different after having a baby. YOU HAD A BABY. Make sure you remember that. You should be proud of yourself and you should be thanking your body. This is not the time worry about how you look.
Your body will be bounce back. It might take 6 months, it might take 12 months. It might take longer still. It might never go back exactly the same and that is ok too. I guarantee that a year on from giving birth you won’t care about how you looked 6 weeks postpartum. What matters is your baby.
Celebrate your body for the job it has just done, don’t judge it on how it looks. Enjoy those newborn cuddles. Getting your body back can wait. Don’t let your postpartum body be the measure of your success.
To follow Annaliese head to @twodogsandonebaby on Instagram or her blog https://twodogsandababy.wordpress.com/