One thing that I wasn’t really prepared for when I fell pregnant was the emotional and physical journey that I was about to embark on. Of course, I knew that my life was never going to be the same again once the new baby arrived, but what struck me is how many changes you experience over the 9 months brewing a baby.
Pregnancy really puts your body through its paces, all those raging hormones and being stretched and bigger in all different directions, it’s the ultimate test for the female body. Since giving birth to my little dude 19-months ago, I’ve noticed that it’s undergone some post-pregnancy transformations. My hips and thighs are wider than before; my already curvy butt has gained more curves; there are extra stretch marks on my thighs; my boobs resemble used tea bags after breastfeeding; my belly jiggles and I have a pouch which hangs down when I even remotely attempt something that resembles a plank. I think you get the picture, like the billions of women who have given birth before me, your body changes and it will never be the same again.
Like most women, I look at these changes in the mirror or when I’m getting ready and there are days when I hate them. Heavens, I know 30 isn’t in the slightest bit old, but things seemed to be more taught and toned when I was in my early 20s. I loved being pregnant, it was a wonderful and enlightening experience, however, it did leave me feeling a bit lacklustre and dimmed my glow. Then I have those days when I feel empowered by my curves and post-pregnancy body and most of this can be put down to the gratitude that I feel when I look at my little boy and everything that my body has achieved to help bring him into this world.
I know that I’m not on my own and I’m very lucky that I didn’t gain a huge amount of weight during my pregnancy. However, I can definitely feel and see the effects that having a baby has had on my body, extra curves, belly jiggle and all. It can really knock your confidence and self-esteem, seeing how different your body has become and the fact that your pre-pregnancy wardrobe isn’t going to fit anytime soon. Early on after giving birth there were days where I just couldn’t be bothered to make an effort and it wasn’t through tiredness, it was because I thought that it was a lost cause. Sure a slick of lipstick and a nice dress can make you feel instantly great, but when you take them off you’re still left with that vulnerable insecure feeling that having a low-self esteem can bring.
I haven’t rushed to regain my pre-baby figure, there’s been no 6-week boot camp or detox plan. For one, where on earth do people find the time to exercise that much and prepare a decent meal so early as a new mum? My fingers are heavily pointing in the direction of celebrities with their large bank accounts and huge teams of helpers. This isn’t reality. The reality is that sometimes it’s a struggle to run a brush through your hair with a new baby let alone getting into the kitchen to cook a healthy dinner for the family. I decided to take the slow route and enjoy my baby – even now, 19-months on, I do what I can when I can and I’m happy with that.
In time, once I’d settled into my new role and found a makeshift routine that worked for us, things got easier and I was able to find some time for me again. Having a baby takes over every part of your life and having some time to take care of yourself is key – it’s so important to look after yourself so that you can care for your loved ones the best you can. When I began to make some time for myself this is when I really felt better about myself. There are days when I look in the mirror and don’t recognise this new body, this new form that it has taken to assist me in my new role. However, now I’m genuinely happy with how pregnancy has left my body. As previously mentioned, I have days when I feel uncomfortable with my new body, but generally, I’m happy because it tells a story of a life-changing and wonderful journey full of hope and happiness.
My body is different and will never be the same again, but I’ve become more accepting and more forgiving towards it. Over those long 9 months, it supported me and my growing baby and showed great courage through labour. Now it’s time for me to give back, and show my gratitude for all it has done for me and all it has given me. Without its strength, my little boy wouldn’t be here with us now and I couldn’t imagine my life without him and his big beaming smile.
Basically, what I want to say is don’t put any pressure on yourself, you’re doing a fabulous job and it took me a while to realise this. Motherhood is hard, but breathe it all in and cherish those precious moments with your baby; nourish and love your body the best way that you can and in moments of doubt always remember to give your new mama-body a high-five because it’s just freaking awesome!