It’s no secret our bodies go through a lot to grow and give birth to our babies. With each pregnancy and birth, something else seems to slightly change and morph into something we may not recognize. After having three babies it’s hard to accept that my body is different and may never be like it was before. I am not just talking about weight here, yes, people can lose it by working out and look better than ever after babies. I am talking about our shape and the way we feel too. My hips are definitely not the same shape nor is my back. I am older now, at 34 years old I get more aches and pains then I used to when I first had my babies at 26 years old. I am not reaching for the walking stick yet but I no longer can hold a baby in one arm for two hours while running around doing house work like I used to. I also don’t feel like I have as much energy this time around to get myself to the gym after baby goes to bed like I did the first two times around. My pillow calls my name by 9pm these days. I sound like an Granny I know but when you are working at home full time, taking care of a newborn, running two older ones to school, from school, swimming lessons and activities on the weekends, it’s exhausting. I always find it catches up with me in how I eat and take care of myself. As mothers we put ourselves on the back burner to sort everyone else out first. This is where my body confidence lacks because I am so busy looking after everyone else I forget to look after myself. In that cycle, I don’t feel pretty or like what my body has become in the process.
How do we find body confidence after having babies?
My first mission is to stop judging myself. We are our own worse critics. I am probably the worse at this. I look at my old wardrobe before kids and think I will fit in that one day. I find the more I get upset about having a different shape now, the more I actually eat bad. It’s a bad cycle to be on. I am trying to reprogram my brain to focus on healthy food, exercise, drinking more water, and not so much what the weight scale says. I would rather be super healthy on the inside first before I worry about the outside.
Don’t get me wrong with the line of work I do, it’s hard after just having a baby to put photos and videos up on my channels knowing someone out there will be judging my double chin and the twenty or so pounds I still need to lose. People have been super supportive and giving me encouragement along the way but I think the worries of it are always at the back of my mind. Our brains see so much in the media that isn’t healthy, it’s made us think that size matters. Does it? No!
There are days I look in the mirror and cry over the extra weight I see around my middle or on my face. Or try on my favorite jeans that just don’t suit my hips and frame anymore. (or even go above my thighs at this point). But if I have learned anything from having three babies is the weight took nine months to get there at least give it nine months (or years) to get rid of it. It’s not just weight, I know there are styles that won’t suit me anymore. I don’t mind that maybe my bikini days are over…aren’t one pieces the new trend anyways! Hooray!
The second thing I think is important, once we stop judging ourselves, is having a positive support system. We all need that friend or family member that will tell us the truth but we also need that person to encourage and be positive about what we are going through. Most of the wobbles after having a baby are hormone induced and they will settled down in time. Sometimes they last longer for others so this transition into becoming ourselves again is emotional and hard. I think it can be really lonely at times too.
I was feeling really low a few weeks ago (thanks hormones) and frustrated with my wardrobe with the gorgeous hot weather, I couldn’t fit into anything comfortable in the heat. I didn’t want to go out and buy new clothes in a size I wasn’t sure I would be for long. You never know how long it takes our bodies to become what they will after babies. My first baby took me almost a year, my second I could wear my normal clothes a week after birth, this time it’s over two months and I am still two sizes bigger than anything in my wardrobe. Trying clothes on was pushing my body confidence and self confidence right out the window.
If we can’t pick ourselves up when we are low (again hormones will sometimes stop you from doing so) we need someone else to jump in and help us along the way. A friend or a family member can do that for you. My eldest son was my constant pick me up. I didn’t ask him to be or tell him what he should say but from the moment I had Grizzy, he told me on a daily basis: “Your beautiful momma, your tummy is going down mummy, you look like you again mommy, I like your new dress, you look pretty today Momma.” Just little phrases made me feel so positive even from my six year old.
My lovely friend Kerri-Ann had a great idea that we could meet up for a girlie lunch and catch up and visit the lavender meadows at Swettenham Arms. We would do our normal photoshoot together like we used to before I had my baby. I was nervous about my double chin and my belly still looking six months pregnant (it does not disappear when you have a baby folks, for most people anyway). I felt awkward at first in my new body. I no longer knew my best angle or how to hide what I felt didn’t look good. But she encouraged me and pep talked through it. I needed to own my body like it is now and cherish all that it has given me. By the end of it, she had been right. Even if I never showed anyone any of the photos (which I am showing here by the way) it was a great exercise to just get me out of the house, doing what I always have done, and feeling a bit more like me. It cheered me up and I went home thinking, “who cares if I have a double chin in that photo?” Does it really matter I am not what I once was? No.
Which comes to my next point. Stop comparing our now self to our former self. I don’t think it helps that our wardrobes are a constant reminder that we were certain size before babies. I have put my smallest clothes at the back of my wardrobe in hopes that they will stop shouting at me. If I ever get back in them, great it will be like getting a new wardrobe, if I don’t, well they can end up in a charity bag when I clean my closet out next. If your now self is healthy, happy, eating good, and exercising, who cares what your former self was or did?
I think when I stopped comparing the two I felt a release of pressure off my shoulders. Accepting that it’s a process and wherever I end up, that will be me. I had to stop saying, “I can’t wait to be my normal shape and size again.” It might happen and it might not, only time will tell.
I walked through the lavender meadows with my friend and I wore a dress that I thought was beautiful despite being something I would have never worn because it showed my belly. I took photos and am sharing them here even if my former self would die to post these photos and would have sat for hours pouring over everything I didn’t like about each one. I have even taken a braver step and been documenting my after baby getting fit process on my new IGTV channel. Do check it out. I am baring it all for you to see which scared me and frees me at the same time. There will be lots of progression over the summer along with healthy recipes and healthy workouts for moms that just had babies. I also will be sharing great styles to wear after birth from flowing dresses that are comfortable to nursing dresses that you can feed your baby in like this one I have on here. I have it in two patterns. It’s been great for the hot weather.
You may be reading this thinking it’s only been two months since she had the baby but I found I was a lot more emotional over my body this time. It changed more. I gained more weight than ever before. It felt so different this time after having him than I did before. I want to encourage anyone who has just had a baby that these emotions are normal and give them some tips I have been trying to get my brain to think in a more positive way about my body now.
My three beautiful children are worth every stretch mark, every pound gained, every lump in my veins, and every inch on my hips. I wouldn’t change it for the world having them and what they have done to my body is just what happens in mother nature. So put down the old photos and focus on the future self not in the past. Let’s stay positive, encourage each other without judging ourselves or comparing ourselves with anyone else or even our former selves.
Our bodies are beautiful no matter what shape, size, color, or style we wear on them.