Measuring up - time to ditch the unrealistic ideals
Whether it’s a tabloid gushing over a celebrity’s bikini body just 6 weeks after birth, or the Insta influencer showing her ever-so-petite bump draped in a silk kimono, there’s a lot ‘out there’ to put the pressure on.
‘It’s surprising just how much you compare yourself to others,’ says Lauren, mum to 18-month-old Joshua. ‘I really put on a lot of weight and it seemed all I could see around me were these super-slender mums with neat little bumps. It’s not just about looks, it’s the guilt that you’re doing it wrong - eating too much, not exercising enough etc’.
When it comes to pregnant bodies, there is no ‘normal’, and there’s a lot you don’t often see on Instagram - veins, stretch marks and constipation for instance. And don’t get us started on post-birth bodies…
‘I felt like I’d been in a car crash,’ says Lauren, mother to three-year-old Blake. ‘The jelly belly didn’t bother me but everything hurt, plus I suffered a tear during birth so had to have salt bath after using the toilet for weeks. No one told me about those kind of things!’
Your body goes through a lot. Everyone’s experience will vary but it’s probable that your stomach and breasts will look very different, your ‘bits’ or stomach will need time to heal and your hormones will likely go through the roof. But let’s face it, you’ve just grown and birthed a human, so go easy on that body and do speak to a healthcare professional for advice or to share any concerns.
Ultimately, there’s no silver bullet to feeling like ‘you’ again, but the most important thing to remember is: be kind to yourself, be patient and most of all - be very, very proud.