The S-Mum, Maria, discusses post-pregnancy body shaming.
It seems that last week’s column struck a chord with many of you Glammy Mammies, so the second piece of this might also resonate. If you think that the public ownership of your bump disappears after pregnancy, you’re wrong!
Your post-baby belly and bootay may seem to remain public property LONG after your uterus has finally stopped SCREAMING at you and your ladybits have decided to no longer HATE YOU.
HOW and WHEN you get back to your pre-baby shape, is everybody’s business apparently.
In both of my pregnancies, I put on quite a bit of weight (not bump!).
My post Mini-Me BOOTAY in Pregnancy 1 was mostly a result of very hard work… (eating cream buns and hot chocolate, with cream of course, was hard work alright!)
I’d had a tough pregnancy and was put off work very early. Looking back, I was probably struggling a bit and food made me feel better.
It took me 18 months to get back to my pre-bump self.
Pregnancy no 2 was different. I was in better health, eating well, exercised up to 6 months and crammed in pregnancy pilates and reflexology. It was much more enjoyable and much less depressing than first time round, but I still managed to gain a fablis amount of weight.
And both times, it was worth every ounce and I enjoyed every bite!
The LAST thing ANY pregnant lady needs to be worrying about is their weight.
But when Baby is here and you’re getting back into routine, may it be after a few weeks or a few months, or a few years…at some point, we all strive to get back to being US.
For some people, that means getting back to work. For some, it means starting back at a hobby. For some, it means getting back in shape.
Even the fact that as I write this, I am hoping that other Mummies don’t read it and get annoyed because I’m talking about weight, is the perfect example of how bloody sensitive the subject is.
I am writing about me.
Just Me… not you.
It’s all personal.
It’s all about perspective.
I love to train. I like to hit things with hammers and lift heavy things. I feel good when I’m a certain shape. I keep my mental health in check when I get to train. I find that it falters if I don’t get to train. I’m not particularly vain…I’ll happily go out and about looking like a badger’s nether-regions, (I often do!), but I like to look a certain way so I do my best to do so.
That’s not a reflection on anyone else. It’s just me.
So what has this got to do with Bodyshaming?
Some of the lines I heard after I started training again last May, when Princess was 6 months old.
“What are you doing back at the gym already?” (Look of disapproval.)
I’m sorry, does this offend you? Not that it’s any of your business, but this is my second attempt at starting back because The Him sent me home on my first attempt 2 months earlier, telling me I wasn’t ready yet. ( He was right.)
“Cop yourself on, you’ve just had a BABY!”
Well actually, my Baby is 6 months old and now I feel like I need to get out of the house a few hours a week.
“You’re grand the way you are.”
Thank you. I know you mean well and that is very sweet, but it’s ME who has to feel good about me. Not you.
“You shouldn’t even be THINKING about exercise yet.”
Why exactly? I enjoy it. I miss it. I’m not asking you to do it for me, am I?
“For God’s sake, stop worrying about your weight!”
Maybe, just MAYBE, my weight is NOT the main reason I want to train. People train for exercise, for me-time, for their sanity, for (shock horror) ENJOYMENT!
And WHY the hell does ANYONE think that it’s OK to tell ANYONE to stop worrying about THEIR weight anyway?
You NEVER know who has their own demons to deal with. You have no idea what the person you are talking to sees when they look in the mirror; what they’ve struggled with in the past; what THEY feel is THEIR beautiful. Telling someone to stop worrying about their weight, is akin to telling someone who’s sad to cheer up.
But my favourite one… “Wise up. You should be ENJOYING your Baby.”
Where do I even start with this one? If you dare to leave the baby for an hour to go to the doctor or do the shopping, that’s fine…but the GYM? Well you must not “Enjoy” your Baby…put it back in there why don’t you?
When you’re expecting your baby, you have NO CONTROL over your body. NONE!
AFTER you’ve had your baby, you have even LESS control over your body!
Things are different. Things don’t work. (Other things work WAY too enthusiastically.) Even stepping out of the car too quickly can make you feel like your insides are going to fall out!
It takes time to feel like you’re in charge of YOU again.
So if and when, you decide that you FINALLY feel ready to take a little bit of control back, take it.
Like the Bumps, most of those who comment mean NO HARM WHATSOEVER. In fact, they’re usually trying to make you feel better.
Some comment because they’re uncomfortable that you are training again after a baby and it annoys them for some reason.
But like with the Bumps, the opinion of others is simply that. An opinion and other people’s opinions shouldn’t affect your confidence. They shouldn’t make you doubt yourself. They certainly shouldn’t make you feel the need to explain yourself.
Instead, Love yourself.
Love how you look in all your squishee-belly-ness as your body recovers from cooking that perfect little cupcake.
And if and when you feel like getting back into those jeans, or into that dress, GO FOR IT!
Surround yourself with positive Ladybelles and let the negativity roll off your amazing stretchy skin. (Warwounds, not stretchmarks!)
May it be walking, Slimming World, Exercise classes, Personal Training, pilates… DO WHATEVER YOU ENJOY AND WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. (Except the Weight loss…sorry “lifestyle” pills, shakes, teas, diets etc. They are BAD no matter HOW they are pitched or advertised.)
And if you DON’T feel like thinking about exercise yet, or ever, good for you too. That’s no one else’s beeswax but your own.