Dear New Mum,
Congratulations! You made a baby!
Now, as the euphoria fades, and you start to find time to sneak back onto Facebook or perhaps even watch a bit of Love Island while snuggling your newborn, I want you to remember something: your body is not an elastic band. It is not meant to “snap back into shape”. You just did something amazing – you grew a human. The best thing you can do for your body and your mind right now is to reward them with a rest and a biscuit.
There are far, FAR more important things to worry about at this moment in time than “losing the baby weight”. You might be tempted to do a crash diet to “feel comfortable in your own skin” again. Perhaps you want to see the pounds slip off and your body shrink back to it’s pre-baby shape so you feel “more like yourself”. But the thing is – sorry to break it to you – getting your pre-baby figure back will NOT get you your pre-baby life back. And that’s OK!
Gradually, over time, as your baby grows and your life settles into your new normal and – fingers crossed – you get a bit more sleep, you might see your body change shape again. Your womb WILL contract, your stretchmarks might fade a little and your body will start to feel like yours again. But remember, our bodies are not meant to look the same at every point in our lives. Your body has done something incredible, it’s not meant to look the same as it did before. The way it looks now is testament to the work it put in to give you this beautiful baby.
Those new mum exercise videos, diets and weight loss articles are part of a big business. A big business that plays on your insecurities and vulnerabilities as a new mum. A big business whose main aim is to tell you that you are not enough right now, as you are. They’re wrong. You ARE enough. Right now. Just as you are.
It’s normal for bodies to stretch when they make a baby. It’s normal for stretchmarks to appear. It’s normal to put on weight and for boobs to balloon and droop and for all these other things that may be happening to your body. For every one magazine photo you see of a celeb looking pristine and perky within days of giving birth, there are a million more women who have soft, round, beautiful bellies, tired eyes and no make-up. These mums are just as beautiful.
Next time you look in the mirror, tell yourself one kind thing about what you see. If you’re struggling to do that, stand in front of the mirror while holding your baby, just in case you need a reminder of how amazing your body is and what it has done.
Now, go and enjoy those biscuits.
A mum who has been where you are now