MY POST BABY BODY – PRO’S AND CON’S
I actually really liked my pregnancy body. And that wasn’t in the “Aren’t I amazing growing a tiny human” way you usually hear. My bump stretched my love handles so they were no longer there. My thighs and bingo wings appeared smaller proportionally. The head of hair I’d struggled to grow back after snapping it off on my trip to Sri Lanka two years earlier, grew back and then some. If saving myself hundreds with my naturally swollen pout was the best, I’ve never had to fight my boyfriend off as much as that third trimester. It really wasn’t bad at all. I was optimistic that after childbirth I’d keep up this positivity and see both the pro’s and con’s of my post baby body.
People tell you, and you mostly believe them, but your body really does physically change once you’ve carried a child. I’ll spare you, but if you’re looking for an honest account of the immediate aftermath, check out this blog on post-baby bodies.
I was lucky, I didn’t get any stretch marks, but we’re 9 months on and while my stomach might look okay from a distance, if you poke it you’ll lose an inch of your finger somewhere in the strange, mushy flesh that’s been left. Quite the contrast from my rock hard, bump which had me convinced that my abs would still be in tact once I evicted the bab. They weren’t.
As if jelly belly isn’t enough to deal with, my hips opened into the child baring variety people talk about and never closed. The antenatal classes we sat through definitely made out the whole, pelvis stretching thing, lasted only as long as the labour. That was false implications. My hip measurements are STILL wider than before! I technically am back to my pre pregnancy clothes size but I have to be a lot more careful with my choices. If the waistband is high, then I should be okay. Low, mid or non elasticated waists are off the shopping list.
Add to that, skin so dry it’s impossible to apply foundation evenly and under eye bags so dark even the best youtube tutorial can’t hide them and you’re basically the furthest from a 10 you’ve ever been.
Going into the final weeks of pregnancy, I believed that in the days after childbirth, my post baby body would swiftly heal itself and the fitness journey to a body even better than before would begin. Whilst this may have been true for Vogue Williams, who gave birth 6 weeks before me, and was back in a size 4 before I’d even had our baby, this was not my reality. I did get a blow-dry and new set of nails in between feeds during week 1. But, that return to my beauty regime was short lived once sleep deprivation broke my resilience.
I overlooked two things before the baby arrived. How little time I would really have, and how much my priorities would shift. The nap times between cycles of feeding, changing and soothing, gave just enough time to eat, wash, clean or catch up on social media. Just one of those could I choose and I’m telling you, washing was often bottom of that list. Putting make up on didn’t usually even make the list. Exercising didn’t even make the reserve list. Booking a beauty appointment didn’t even make it into the tiny space in my mind reserved for non baby related thoughts, never mind the list. At one point I hadn’t looked in the mirror for a week.
Acceptance came pretty quickly for me. It help’s when you’re surrounded by the type of friends who answer “my concealer’s not covering these bags the same way” with the reality check statement “that’s just how you look now.” I was rational enough to remind myself that my body had moved its own organs around to make room for an entire human. I didn’t exactly like most changes but I was glad that raging hormones weren’t causing me to completely hate my new self.
There are absolutely positives though. My hair is longer and thicker than its been for years. My lips swelled by at least the equivalent of 1.5ml of filler and haven’t gone down yet. My boobs are the perkiest I’ve known them. The months following pregnancy are filled with regular confidence boosts when you see people. The last time they saw you you were definitely a lot bigger. To them, you look drastically different and when they swoon over how fabulous you look, you can tell they really mean it.
While my hairdresser keeps threatening I could still start to molt, my lips will deflate and I’ll probably live to regret my bigger boobs when they sag, I’m enjoying these benefits of my post baby body while they’re here.
If you want a read a little about my post baby mental changes, I wrote some examples of my post natal anxiety down here.