DESPERATELY LOVING MY POST-BABY BODY

“Mummy, why is your tummy still really massive even though you’ve had the baby?”

I knew my body wouldn’t be the same after giving birth. As a second time mum I was better prepared to deal with the physical changes that come with the mammoth effort of carrying a mini human and bringing him or her into the world.

I was also prepared for the fact that it can take a very long time for your body to resemble anything like the body you once had, before his sperm met your egg. But still it comes as quite a shock when I look in the mirror at my flabby, swollen belly, angry looking stretch marks, huge breasts and chunky thighs.

Changes that are all testament to the gorgeous little miracle I grew and birthed who keeps me awake at night and smiles continually throughout the day. But still, changes that can be hard to accept and love.

At eleven weeks postpartum my body is very slowly looking more like mine, like it belongs to me, but I still have a way to go until I can recognise it and welcome my old friend back. So when Elsie first innocently asked me this question a few weeks after having Leo, it took my breath away and left me feeling like I’d been punched. My heart pounded, my cheeks blushed and my eyes pricked with tears.

Did I really look that big still? The answer was yes.

I’ve always been body confident and really try to do my best to encourage other women to be so too, but I’ll be honest, I felt like crying in that moment.

Not because I didn’t know that my body had changed but because when you’ve just had a baby and are exhausted but so proud of what you’ve achieved, it just feels so bloody unfair to then be left with a body that looks and feels nothing like your own. I wanted to sob at the injustice of it and the uphill battle I now face – like all women – to try and get my old body back.

I could have ignored Elsie’s question. Pretended I didn’t hear it or changed the subject but I decided to face it head on. To ‘mother up’ for my own sake and for Elsie’s too, who perhaps one day as a young woman, will be in the same boat.

So I told her the truth.

That when you’ve had a baby your body is changed, different to what it once was and that just as it takes a long time to grow a baby, so too can it take a long time to get rid of the big tummy.

It’s not easy to address the physical changes to our bodies that we are left with after having a baby. Nor is it easy to look at the mirror at your naked self.

Leo will be three months old on Saturday and I still don’t look like the old me. Most of my old clothes still don’t fit and if I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a shop window or mirror, I’m still surprised that the person looking back at me, is well, me.

I’m chunkier and my skin is forever marked. My body is a size bigger than it was and the large tummy that housed and grew my boy, is still here sticking out it’s wobbly presence for the world to see. It’s been hard at times to look in the mirror. Difficult to look at myself and not recognise the body that I am now in.

But I will not disown it.

I will not criticise it.

And I’m doing my best to love and appreciate it in the way that it deserves. And here it is.

My tummy is the tummy of a woman in her thirties who has been blessed with two children. The stretch marks that now decorate my stomach and hips tell of an incredible journey of morning sickness, exhaustion, anxious times, joyous scans, tiny kicks and baby hiccups. My breasts are feeding my boy and helping him to grow big and strong.

In time my stretch marks will fade and be barely noticeable, my tummy will flatten, my breasts will stop producing milk and I’ll be a little lighter and more toned. But until then I will continue to love my body as best as I can in all of it’s imperfect, flawed state.

No covering up. No shame. And hopefully no tears.

Because the truth is my body is magnificent. It’s grown two miracles and made me a mother and for that, it deserves to be looked at through only proud, kind eyes.

My body is not what it once was but then neither am I. We’re both forever changed.

But when I look at my beautiful boy in my (chubbier) arms, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 Discussions on
“DESPERATELY LOVING MY POST-BABY BODY”
  • I LOVE this post so much Katie. I think as women we’re often under so much pressure to not only be the perfect mum, be there for our kids 24/7, work, be a good friend, a good wife AND have some kind of unrealistic body that it can all get a bit overwhelming at times. I truly think there are more important things than having an ironing board stomach and killing yourself over having the body of a supermodel (who, by the way, probably has her own personal chef and trainer, nanny and is PAID to look like that). But so many of us place a huge amount of our self worth on how small we are / how good we look etc and it’s not healthy. I try really hard not to pass any of my own hang-ups onto my daughters because I would hate for them to grow up with any kind of obsession – or even awareness – that their body isn’t perfect, whatever size they are.

  • Aww I love this Katie ❤️ Seems moons ago for me now my kidults are 23, 21 and 17 but I still remember it as if it was yesterday. That shock at the reflection of my post baby body. Took me ages to get back to ‘normal-ish’ and that was fine. I did what you are doing and I loved it and accepted it for all its hard work and miraculous energy at bringing those beautiful babies into the world. ☺ Enjoy it and take it slow and make the most of your beautiful boy’s cuddles – so worth the body changes!! Xx

  • Sometimes it feels like another person altogether. The one that didn’t have to worry about getting anyone else ready in the morning except me and all the rest that follows that. Nearly 9 years on my body is not what it was, it’s changed and is happy this way. I’ve found it doesn’t work the way it used to. Weight has shifted like sand on a beach. My belly will always be with me no matter how far I run but I wouldn’t have it any other way I love my girls and don’t hide it from them either. They need to know life has an affect on us. Great post x

  • You are my HERO! i still suffer in my head with dealing with the changes to my body that birthed 3 babies over the last 16 years and reading that i am not along really does make me feel better .. you rock!

  • What a fabulous post! I’m going through exactly the same 10 weeks postpartum with my second. It’s definitely harder second time around too. Bravo 👏🏻- and you look amazing xx

  • Amen to all of this. You look fabulous, mama! 15 months on from having my second child and my body is nowhere near how it was pre pregnancy. I’m trying not to let it get to me in the way that it was as like you say, our bodies have done incredible things to get us here xx

  • Such an important message, well done for sharing it. I couldn’t find my wife any more attractive post children and she’s been pregnant seven times now!

  • In all honesty, that is one of the most beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen. You are absolutely glowing and he is so gorgeous, I cannot believe he is nearly 3 months old, that is crazy! I gained a stone and a half in pregnancy, lost it instantly through breastfeeding and then steadily put on 2 and a half stone across the next 2 years! I have a long way to go but I try to love my body and even the weight gain and comfort eating means I have been coping with motherhood in my own little way. It’s not easy but I’ll get there. This is such an important post, I do love how you’re all about being body posi and inspiring/empowering women! XXX

  • Such a beautiful post and it’s written by a beautiful lady. Our bodies are so amazing for growing little people, we should be celebrating them and not punishing ourselves about what they look like.

  • Thank you for reminding me how amazing my post-baby body is. I have lost most of my baby weight now, but my body seems permanently changed; even my shoulders seem wider and none of my pre-pregnancy clothes will fit. Time for a new wardrobe, I feel!

  • Such an amazing post darling. Martha turns one tomorrow and my body bears no resemblance to that which I had even when I fell pregnant with her, never mind with Toby. I struggle with it but I’m trying to adapt my style to suit it. You’re beautiful and amazing xx

  • Such a fabulous and important post lovely lady. And you are the most gorgeous woman! It is so tough that we beat ourselves up so much about our bodies. We feel ashamed if they don’t ping back into shape. But we really need to look at what our bodies have done to produce our children and be in awe. Yes they maybe different but that is actually a beautiful thing. However, I still really struggle with the way I see my body. And I need to look at it in a more positive light. And I’m trying. Hugs Lucy xxxx

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