Now Emelia is 5 weeks old my thoughts are turning to my body and all my pre pregnancy clothes that currently don’t fit. There is immense pressure on women to get their body back after having a baby from celebrities, social media oh and that one one friend who seems to look exactly the same post baby as they did before. Although I don’t think I feel pressured by outside sources I cant help but be influenced by my own internal pressures. I’m thinking about how we are only a few months away from (hopefully) a nice summer and that all my summer clothes, skinny jeans etc are all a good size smaller. Added to this I’m very aware that because of a hormone imbalance I had before I fell pregnant with Emelia I really need to be monitoring my diet and exercising to bring my hormones back to normal otherwise they have a knock on affect on the rest of my life. This basically means I need to kick my chocolate diet that I’ve been on for the last 10 months and eat a ton of salad and take lots of supplements. The exercise has to wait until I’m fully recovered from my c section but my diet is one I can control now.
But as I’m writing this I can feel myself getting emotional (thank you post baby hormones) because this just seems like so much to be thinking about on top of daily life, sleep deprivation and looking after a 4 year old and a 5 week old. It really brings it home how as mums we have so many thoughts going through our heads at any one time and the pressure we place upon ourselves, leaving us feeling so overwhelmed. I have started already to take some of the supplements I need and had the odd token salad but just thinking about what I need to do to get my hormones and body where I want them is truly overwhelming for me right now.
Our bodies are really amazing things, the amount of change and stress they go through just to grow a baby let alone give birth to it is truly out of this world, and you can really see the toll this takes on us post birth. Its hard not to feel a little deflated by our soft tummies, stitches, engorged breasts and all the emotions that come with it. Theres no doubt meeting your baby for the first time will probably be the most special moment in a woman’s life but no one really tells you how it will be after. Yes we know the facts, you’ll be sore, possibly have stitches etc but the sheer magnitude of what you’ve been through really hits you in those moments post birth through the exhaustion and lets face it our very sorry looking bodies. 5 weeks on can I say that those feelings have changed? To a certain degree yes, its nice to see the changes as your body slowly adjusts after the birth but in reality it takes such a long time for our bodies to recover, shrink back and for the hormones to adjust it can feel like being or looking like your old self is a long way off.
I’ve recently seen a campaign on instagram which is encouraging women to embrace their post partum bodies and I’m all for this, we really need to give ourselves a break. Enjoy our babies and not worry about how we look but this is so much harder said then done, well for me it is. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this hard and I cant help but feel that no matter the amount of campaigns, we are still our worst enemies and we will still stand in front of that mirror and be unhappy with what we see, all the while trying to tell ourselves that we should be embracing our bodies for the miracles they have performed.
If I was talking to a friend about this and they were telling me how they felt about their post baby body, perhaps a little sad and deflated I think I would probably be saying how they really need to be kind to themselves. No matter how you feel about it now you can do your best to change it, lose the weight etc but ultimately the only way to feel happy about our bodies especially post birth is to be gentle and kind to ourselves. Acknowledge that we feel unhappy because suppressing those feelings will just make us feel worse, but know deep down that you are truly awesome. That you alone created and birthed that beautiful baby and no matter how we look that will never change.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Now I just have to take my own advice!!
Love Michelle xx