SECRETS: How I feel about my post pregnancy body

bump pic

I’M going to say something rather shocking.

Something that some beauty companies and marketeers as well as female-bashing media appear not to want any new mum to say. It’s pretty radical. Are you ready?

Ok here goes…

I love my post pregnancy body.

Yep, you heard right. I don’t hate it. I’m not disgusted or horrified by it. I’m not insecure about it. And I don’t just like it.

I love it.

Twelve months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, all 8 pounds 4 ounces of her. When I look at my body now and compare it with pictures of when I was pregnant, it’s hard to believe that I once looked like that, that my bump was as magnificent and as large as it was. But I did. And it was. (See above for the proof!)

I absolutely loved being pregnant. First few months aside, I had a really happy and healthy pregnancy and generally felt great. I loved seeing my body change and took great pride in watching my bump grow bigger every day, knowing that I was growing an incredibly precious life.

But whilst I was happy with my changing pregnant body, I couldn’t help but worry and think about what my body would look like after pregnancy.

Would my stomach look horrendous? Would my tummy button, that had become an ‘outie’, ever go back in? Would I get stretchmarks? Would my boobs ever be as pert as they had been? How much weight would I put on and would I ever get rid of it?

Some people told me my body would never be the same again, others commented on how – because of my big bump –  I’d be lucky to ever get my stomach back and many, many women shared their post pregnancy body struggles with me.

And so naturally I expected the worst.

But yet, a year after giving birth, I’m now declaring that I love my post pregnancy body. Which I do.

Want to be even more shocked? I’d even go so far as to say that I actually prefer my body as it is now to how it was before I was pregnant. Crazy ey?

To be absolutely clear, my body is not perfect. There are areas which could definitely do with a little improvement. And yes, like most mums, I do indeed have a few stretchmarks.

But.

My stomach does not look horrendous as I had feared, my tummy button did go back in, my boobs are still pretty damn pert and the weight I did put on whilst pregnant has now disappeared thanks to a few months of healthy eating and a lot of walking with Elsie in her pram.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually now slimmer than I was before I got pregnant, the slimmest I’ve been in years in fact. I’m even back wearing old wardrobe favourites that I thought would never see the light of day again.

I haven’t stepped foot in a gym or workout establishment in well over a year but yet my arms and legs are still toned thanks to carrying and lifting Elsie and even though I breastfed for months, my boobs are still looking perky (hurrah!) and have even gone back to their original size.

The stretchmarks I gained are now barely noticeable but yet thankfully, just visible enough for me to see them and be able to trace them with my fingers as I marvel at how they were created. And yes, I said thankfully. I worked hard for Elsie’s lifelines and they are an imperfect but beautiful reminder of that and her existence.

So why tell you this? Why share how I feel about my body now? Why indeed, should you even care?

Well here’s the thing. When I was pregnant, I never thought, not once, that I might love my figure after. The best I expected was that I might like it, the worst was that I would have to tolerate or accept it.

Just stop and think about that for a second or two. Isn’t that sad?

I truly thought that losing my body shape was a price I would probably have to pay for becoming a mum and fully expected my body to be somewhat of a mess afterwards. But now, 12 months on, I’m pretty embarrassed to admit, that actually my thoughts were wrong. Totally wrong. For my body is not a mess at all. In fact, it’s pretty damn marvellous.

A little bruised, a little altered, a little marked forever yes. But marvellous all the same.

When it comes to women and body image, what we generally hear, see and get told, is always just so depressingly negative. And I, for one, am tired of it.

I’m sick of the constant messages that say that we are not good enough. That our boobs aren’t big enough, that our thighs aren’t thin enough, that our bums aren’t shapely enough.

I’m sick of seeing female celebrity bodies being critiqued and ripped apart by the media.

I’m sick of this unhealthy obsession the whole world seems to have with the quest for perfection and the idea that somehow we should all look the same and fit a mould.

And more than any of these, I’m sick and tired of pregnant women being made to feel ashamed for putting on a little weight or for new mums made to feel inadequate for not shifting it quick enough.

This is why I’m telling my story. As an ordinary woman. As an ordinary mum.

Because the way I feel about my body now, post pregnancy, post childbirth, seems to be somewhat unusual. Perhaps even a little extraordinary. And that makes me feel even sadder.

By sharing my experience, my hope is that new mums and mums to be will realise that you don’t have to hate your post pregnancy body. That they’ll see that it is possible to feel good about their body again after having a baby. That they’ll relax a little about any weight gain, knowing that they’ll be able to lose any weight they may have gained (if they want to!) when they’re good and ready.

That they’ll realise that they are still beautiful even though their body shape may have changed. That they’ll know that they can feel confident in their skimpy undies again and that one day they will! And that it is very possible to feel proud of your stretch marks and learn to appreciate their imperfect beauty.

I did consider posting a picture of myself, as I am now, post pregnancy, to accompany this piece but in the end I decided not to. Because this piece isn’t about validation or what other people may say or think about how I look. It’s all about how I feel about myself.

Today, when I look at myself in the mirror, as a mum, as a woman in her thirties, I’m happy with what I see.

I feel gratitude. I feel pride. And most importantly, I feel love.

I really hope you feel the same.

——-

Till the next time, make the most of what you have but always, always be grateful for what you’ve got.

Katie

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24 Discussions on
“SECRETS: How I feel about my post pregnancy body”
  • Love that you feel so great about your body–and you ARE gorgeous–but what would you say to someone who doesn’t feel great about their post-pregnancy bodies, who maybe haven’t been as lucky as you’ve been?

    • Thank you. That’s a really good question!

      My answer is probably another blog post in itself, but here are a few things I would like to say to anyone who is feeling down about their post-pregnancy body:

      Firstly… give yourself time and be kind to yourself. You’ve just done the most incredible thing you will probably ever do in your life, so relax and be proud of what you have achieved! You’ve brought a wonderful little person into the world which is no easy feat. Well done mamma!

      Secondly, losing weight or getting your figure back is not a race. We’re all different. Some women are back in their skinny jeans a few days after giving birth whilst most of us aren’t so lucky.

      The most important thing is to get used to being a mum and bonding with your baby. For me personally, I know that I also need to be in the right ‘head space’ when it comes to making changes in my life. It wasn’t until Elsie was about 8 months old, that I felt like I was ready to start looking after myself a bit more.

      When you’re ready and you’ve got a little you-time, start to make the most of what you’ve been given, enhance the bits that you do like and make peace with yourself. It really is all down to self-belief. We all tend to talk negatively to ourselves about how we look, but this gets us nowhere so start talking yourself UP, not down.

      If you’re not feeling great about your post-pregnancy body, try to think about how you can change this feeling and start making small steps towards your goals.

      Whether that is making time to do some gentle exercise, buying new beautiful clothes that will flatter your shape or taking time to prepare and cook healthier meals, if you need to do it, do it. As soon as you start to make the changes, you’ll feel instantly better and more positive about things.

      We all have bits about ourselves that we don’t like or wish we could change. Everyone does no matter how beautiful they are. So hold your head up, speak to yourself kindly, give yourself time and do whatever it is you need to do, to feel better.

      Finally, know that you won’t always feel this way. You’ll get there I promise.

      Good luck! x

  • LOVE this blogpost, well done you!

    I certainly don’t hate my post-pregnancy body and my first son was 11 lbs when he was born. Yes I’ve got stretchmarks but like you I do run my fingers over them and recall the time they were made, when Charlie was growing inside of me – what a great thing to remember it by!

    And my boobs are not that bad at all, I know of women who have not had children who have saggier boobs so I’m not too bothered. I think if I had never lost my pregnancy weight then I may have been more upset, I did put on 4 stone, oops, too many cakes.

    I am proud that my body created two very healthy baby boys and who I don’t even think of my stretchmarks as a sacrifice I had to make, it’s just all part of it and even to this day it amazes me how we can grow another human being so perfectly inside of us.

    Teresa x

    • Teresa, this comment is amazing. I’m so thrilled to hear that I’m not the only one who runs my fingers over my stretchmarks, not in disgust (as we’re ‘supposed’ to) but in wonder and appreciation.

      And 11lbs! Wowwweee Mama! You did well there :)

      I LOVE that you are proud of your body for giving you two healthy boys for that is exactly how we all should feel about ourselves. Our bodies are amazing. We all take them for granted, treat them badly at times and don’t appreciate how incredible they are until we get sick or they fall apart a bit. But we should. And we need to more often.

      I truly think that being a mum can teach you to look at your body in a new, more positive light. And I’m so glad to hear that this is what has happened to you. Thank you for sharing and keep ‘tracing’ :)

      x

  • Absolutely amazing Kate, you always look gorgeous! But even so, it’s nice to hear such positive things, especially as you said about there being such negative things written in the media and such a shame that as women we are expected to instantly hate our bodies after doing such a marvellous thing. Also think its amazing that you are reinstating that us women lose the weight naturally from just being a mum and doing mum things, and that time should be spent worrying about baby and not about how many inches you’ve lost!
    I can honestly say that following your journey of having Elsie has truly made me feel excited and optimistic about when that time comes for me, obviously many more years from now but even so, it makes me proud to be female!

    • Thank you Jess! Reading your comment has really made me smile because even though you’re not quite at the motherhood stage of your life yet, you still get ‘it’. :)

      I’m so chuffed to hear that my ol’ waffles about motherhood have helped you to feel excited and optimistic about that part of your life in the future, because that’s exactly how you should feel about it! I’d also like to add that you, my lovely friend, will be a wonderful mum when the time comes. I can feel it. x

  • Katie, this is such a brilliant post that it’s untrue!

    A few people were awful to me about my post-pregnancy body, saying that I must have been unhealthy when pregnant to have lost my baby weight. I was so upset and cried a LOT. However, we are all different, every woman has her insecurities and fears, and

    I think my biggest hate is the term ‘real women’. All women are real, and all mothers have had fears about their bodies. My view is that however you feel about your body post-baby, you should embrace it. It did wonderful, miraculous things and helped you to change the world.

    Like you, I LOVE my post-pregnancy body and am much happier in my own skin now than I ever was before. I lost far too much weight after having Zayn (I had no time to eat with hubby working away!) but, now I have gained it all back – and I never ever thought I would be confident enough to gain weight – I am very pleased.

    My PPB is nowhere near as bad as I had feared it would be, and actually my tum is my favourite part :) Yes, there are bits of me I don’t like – I will never love my thighs, not ever! – but I have never loved my body, or myself, more and that is just a wonderful feeling.

    Of course, I have Zayn to thank for that – those babies really do help you to realise how special you are.

    xxx

    • They most certainly do Sam! It’s just a shame that we don’t hear more often, how motherhood can make you feel better about yourself, in so many different ways.

      I’m so sorry to hear that a few people were awful to you about your figure after having Zayn. That’s absolutely appalling. As you say, we are all different, and no one has got any right to pass judgment on anyone or their body. I can only think it must have been jealousy. The green eyed monster sure does funny things to people!

      And I’m totally with you on the ‘real women’ comment too. How bloody ridiculous! Are all women not real?! For some reason the media can’t quite grasp that us ladies come in all different shapes and sizes ;-)

      Finally, I am so delighted to hear that you also love you post pregnancy body.Yes, yes, YES! X

  • Thanks Katie for that AMAZING reply!

    If you’re looking to do any other post-pregnancy articles, please write about sex after babies!!

  • A truly touching post that will help so many women. I’m hoping the media is at a tipping point now with the backlash of the OK cover & Kate’s proud debut of her post baby bump and things are changing… because other women and of course society put so much pressure on women to lose their post baby weight and so quickly too. You looked beautiful pregnant and now x

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I hope it does help other women to feel better about their bodies and themselves. If it does, my work is done!

      And I REALLY hope you are right about the media being at a tipping point too. There’s definitely a shift going on although I think we’ve still got a few more battles to fight yet x

  • You do have an amazing figure and you should be proud of the amazing thing your body has done. I’m not completely happy post pregnancy but on the other hand I’m quite confident despite it. Something I’ve never been before. My body unlike yours changed massively though so has taken a while to get my head around but I feel like I’m getting there. Slowly but surely! X

    • Thank you Franki. I’m really pleased to hear that even though your body has changed, you still feel confident despite it.

      I’m sure it does take a while to get your head round. I can remember when I first started breastfeeding and my boobs just seemed to get bigger every day, it was quite a shock! I’ve always been pretty small boob wise, so it was bizarre to look down and see myself with a larger chest!

      Pregnancy and motherhood is full of surprises but I’m so glad you’re feeling happier with how you look. And I can assure you, after meeting you a good few times now, that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You’re a stunning lady. You just need to believe it more x

  • LOVE this Katie, love it.Having a baby does indeed change your body, and I cooked two in there so lord knows things don’t hang as they once did! But, I ran my first ever half marathon after having kids, and although I have endo and M.E I am healthier than I have ever been, and I am so SO proud of my body for making two babies. Loving yourself is 90% of the battle to feeling great, and thank so much for your wonderful post. xxxxxxx

    • Thank you Jo. I’m incredibly inspired by your half marathon story and the fact you are healthier now than you were pre-motherhood, even though you have health problems that must be very challenging and exhausting for you.

      You should be so proud for making two babies, as all women should be for bringing a baby into the world. Thanks so much for sharing x

  • Such a fantastic & inspiring post Katie. We have friends, who’s main reason for not having children is in fear of how it will effect their body afterwards.
    I’ve always been really active, so naturally i thought i’d bounce back after pregnancy- sadly i didn’t. In fact i put on more weight after giving birth whilst breast feeding. It’s taken me 2 years to get to a stage where i feel confident in my new body, & like you, i believe I’m in the best shape of my life & the happiest I’ve ever been with it- i wonder if this is because of the miracle it has performed for me.
    We need more voices, of real women like you, speaking out: being kind to different shapes & sizes , promoting a healthy, confident body image. I salute you!! Xx

    • Thanks Katrina for you lovely comment. I just think the more women start to be appreciative for what they have and start celebrating their own beauty, the better it will be for all of us. Whenever we read anything about women’s bodies, it always tends to be so bloody negative which is why i loved your recent post so much. Thank you for the salute! (And back atcha!) Here’s to a better body image for all women. x

  • Kate you truly are beautiful inside and out! That is such an amazingly positive and realistic account of post pregnancy. I felt real pressure to ‘get my body back’ after I had my first daughter. Mostly as a result of media pressure (Jessica Simpson was getting a real bashing at the time) and wanting to look good in pictures – crazy! Like you it took me about a year to lose the weight and be happy with the way I looked. Six months later we fell pregnant for the second time and this time I realised that I needed to enjoy my bump and everything that came with being pregnant (I didn’t do this the first time). After Poppy was born I felt a lot more relaxed about my body. 22 months later and I’m back in my old jeans and like you feel happy in my own skin. I didn’t get any stretchmark’s (which is so surprising as I was massive!) but things are definitely a little looser – I don’t mind that ; )

    Heledd xxx
    #BrilliantBlogPosts

  • I love this post, and I completely relate to it too.
    My body isn’t the same as it was before pregnancy & birth, but that doesn’t matter to me. I’m still healthy and fit. All of me still works the way it should. I even feel more comfortable with how I look than I did before (although that may be due to not having much time to worry about it these days!). The way the media go on, you’d think all women literally come apart at the seams after childbirth, and all we should be doing is fretting about it. It’s appalling, and I completely support your reasons for sharing your love of your post-pregnancy body.
    #brilliantblogposts

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