So this one is kind of serious, feel free to press ‘back’ and go look for a more light hearted post. I mean you can read it too, that would be great. It has a lot more pictures than usual but it’s one of those posts where it was kinda necessary.
So, Before I had a baby, I made my living from my looks. Now I’m not saying that I’m the most beautiful woman in the world but I can take a good picture when the lighting is right and Mac Studio Fix in NC55 may have something to do with it.
I’ve always had an ‘athletic’ build enhanced at the age of 16 by contraceptives which boosted my bosom a few cup sizes. Lets say at the time I had a body to be envied (until the Kardashians made curves a thing) and this continued into adulthood. At the age of 18 I dabbled in an ‘exotic dancing’ and following on from this several opportunities to have my picture taken arose and from that I got by. I featured at several Tattoo Conventions as a ‘model’ (I hate that word) and thats pretty much what I identified as for a very long time.
I always had interest in hair and makeup, i can’t say I was fashion forward but I always liked to present myself well and make sure my then boyfriend (now husband) did too. I knew what suited my body shape, what I could and couldn’t wear and I probably had enough lingerie to start my own Ann Summers and Victoria Secret franchise three times over.
When I got pregnant it was a huge shock for me. For the most part the only thing that grew until I was about 22/23 weeks pregnant were my boobs and my god did they grow. I remember going to my 20 week scan, looking at all the women who had lovely round tummies and feeling silly because I had practically nothing. I only looked pregnant after a hearty meal (despite being able to feel my baby kick since 15 weeks).
Around 22 weeks i started to show and had to go to my Mother-In-Law’s birthday meal. I felt VILE. I remember she asked if I was proud of my bump and I point blank said ‘No’. The dress I wore just about stretched over my boobs and my little pot belly which just made me look like I had one too many pies and from this point on I hated my body. I became a round, stretch mark ridden, gigantic breasted penguin (the waddle) and everything was gross. “Don’t worry” everyone said “you’ll snap right back!” and that was something I clung on to my whole pregnancy.
It wasn’t just the visual, it was the nausea, indigestion, heartburn and SPD (please look it up its horrifyingly painful). Not being able to sleep on any particular side without feeling like I needed to have organs removed, the breathless, constant peeing and horrendous migraines were enough to have me constantly doubting my decision.
When I gave birth, I came home in a vest and joggers, my saggy tummy poking out from under my hoodie. A week after my son was born, I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothing. Two weeks postpartum and I had slimmed down nicely and my clothes were starting to be loose. Now at nearly 6 months postpartum I am smaller than I was before I was pregnant except for the boobs that carrying a child and breastfeeding have left me with.
You’d think I’d be proud, happy, happy that I can boldly claim that I was bouncing around a size 8/10 with bigger hips and giant tatas 2 weeks after my baby was born, but really I wasn’t. I thought with the way that I was feeling when I was pregnant that I couldn’t WAIT to get back down to my pre-pregnancy size. I couldn’t wait to prove everyone right. I couldn’t wait to do exactly what everyone said I would and snap back! It never occurred to me that this might not happen, and it never occurred to me that I wanted to more for everyone else’s benefit, to be some sort of “elite” mother who looked amazing and fabulous having just had a baby.
I have friends who document their postpartum bodies and that’s great. I often wonder who they’re doing it for? Of course be proud of yourself, of course tell anyone you want, I won’t censor anyone. I can’t help but feel they often seek approval from others and what about those of us who are riddled in stretch marks? What about those who can’t lose weight? Protesting how “amazing the female body is” and how quickly you’ve jumped back into your old self when surely it’s amazing in itself that you carried a child to term to me seems like a contradiction. A contradiction that doesn’t spread to all females. Maybe I’m bitter that I look different. I get a pang in my chest when I see these posts and think “what I wouldn’t give to wear a crop top again.” Maybe I’m jealous? Who knows?
I absolutely did have a baby, he is definitely pretty much on my hip at all times so who am I doing it for? Me? Well I thought so, but why when we have JUST had babies are we so keen to look as if we didn’t? Im wider but for the most part my stomach is flat unless I’ve stuffed my face. I dont exercise three times a week or anything but I feel of you aren’t happy with your body then change it of course. I’m all in favour of that but not because you feel pressured from everyone else. Don’t mask your posts about your postpartum body (which you know full well is to be envied) with messages of how women shouldn’t feel pressured to LOOK LIKE YOU DO. It’s “okay” for you to do that because you haven’t changed to as much of an extreme as others. Shamelessly show off if you must but spare a thought for us with stretch marks, excess skin and the weight they can’t shift before you wait for the likes and congratulatory messages to roll in. What you were before isn’t what you are now, because despite your past, you’re a mother now and you weren’t before.