The first thing I want you to do before you read this blog, is to look down at your new body…what do you feel?
You should feel above all, massively PROUD of it (although I know it’s not always easy to feel this way)! Your wonderful body has carried and protected your precious baby for 9 months. It has been stretched, strained and pushed to its absolute limits and it is now recovering from one of the biggest physical and mental jobs it will ever perform: childbirth.
However, being a mum of two, I know exactly how you may feel right now, in these first few weeks and months following childbirth. I know the immense pressure you feel to get back your “post-baby body”. You could be flicking through that celeb magazine in a rare five mins of peace (before baby wakes up, demands food, sh*ts and falls asleep again) and you are faced with an airbrushed image of “such and such’s amazing post-baby body”.
On the next page, a new celebrity mum is photographed on the beach in a bikini (who they don’t deem to fit within the mould of the “perfect beach body”) with the words “what were they thinking?” plastered across the page.
You may have logged into Instagram and been faced with beautiful, filtered images of celebrity new mums or highly followed mum bloggers, who’s perfectly toned and stretch-mark free torsos are being shown off in a mirror selfie, alongside the caption #postbabybody.
Now let me just point out here, that I am absolutely NOT hating on these women, they could have either been blessed with great genetics, have worked extremely hard during and after pregnancy to maintain good posture, muscle tone and eat a balanced diet – and that is totally fine to want to show that off.
Or…. they may have airbrushed their images – in which case I’m still not hating on them, just maybe feeling a little sorry for them, that society has made them feel the need to do this.
The point that I am trying to make though, is that we just don’t see enough images of differing post-pregnancy bodies. I’m talking about those that the beauty/fitness industry might deem less than “perfect”. (I am being careful not to use the word “real bodies” here because as a Personal Trainer, I know a lot of toned and strong bodies are bloody well “real” and have been worked hard for to achieve).
But where are the images being shared of mum tums with stretch marks and excess skin, or still carrying a little extra pregnancy weight. Now I get that people might not want to share these images, or want to keep being be told that they must “love their tiger stripes”. I am just trying to make all you new mums aware, that all of these post-pregnancy bodies are all absolutely normal. They honestly are. Trust me, as a specialist pregnancy fitness trainer I have worked with hundreds of pregnant and new mums. I have seen them all! So please, please don’t beat yourself up about your own.
So, as the title of this blog asks, what is the “perfect” post-baby body?
Well in my eyes, it has nothing to do with whether it has stretch marks, loose skin or scars. If it was, mine surely wouldn’t make the cut! As although I exercise regularly and my stomach is fairly flat and toned – I have some wonderfully obvious stretch marks on my lower tummy and a fabulous little wrinkle of skin on my belly button, where I used to have it pierced. I am reminded that I have these features whenever I have a bath with my daughters who like to poke at the scars and ask if “they hurt”.
But the perfect post-baby body to me….is one that moves freely, without pain or restriction. It is one that is strong both physically and mentally. Now this is something that we CAN do something about. We can aim to achieve this, through safe and highly-effective post-pregnancy mind & body training. There is a huge need for more of this, for all the women struggling to come to terms with pregnancy-related body changes. This is what first motivated me to specialise in this area. It is what led us to develop our ‘Mummy Tummy Method’ pre & post-pregnancy fitness programme.
If you want to learn & understand just what should be involved in safe and effective post-pregnancy fitness, then check out our upcoming blog, on how to get your pre-baby body back, which will be posted next week…