I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, wanting to talk about how I am feeling in my own body, a year after giving birth, but I’d been putting it off again and again. I am now 14 months post-partum and the kick I needed to write this post came this week after Jennifer Metcalfe (Mercedes from Hollyoaks) posted a picture on Instagram of herself four weeks after giving birth.
4weeks afta my boy as vacated his apartment this is wat I’m left wi n it really isn’t that bad!I know alot o women feel anxious about wat their postpartum body will look like,but4me,this was the least o my worries(I ada poo pregnancy!)I want worried about wat my body was goin2look like wen my boy ad finished usin it 2grow,Instead I was intrigued/excited 2c the new me..n I like it! ???The boobs av finally settled down.Afta breastfeeding they swelled beyond belief,going frm a modest ‘B’ 2a neva seen before ‘F'(leftie must av been @least a ‘G’?)they were lumpy,absolutely wrecked n my once lil brown nips ad trebled in size.I couldn’t wait 2c,afta all this,wat they were guna look like.These r more than ok,I fed a human wi them,they r awesome!?Where my flat tummy turned bump once was,I now ava squishy bit of comfort4both my boys!Lil man uses it 2bounce off 2relieve his wind☺n Gregs gon frm babysittin him in my tummy to holdin the”squidge”whilst e sleeps (usually not for long???)me all cozy under the arm.Arms n legs are wobblier n I’m defo rounder,but I think the extra lbs suit as I get older.With r long morning walks wen daddy goes 2work 4cappuccino n toast n all the rocking,he❤’s rocking?I’m sure they will firm up soon.I’m still hairy?I swore once I cud c IT again I would sort it but these days I have biga fish 2fry,so pls dnt judge if u spot a spiders leg or 10!The bum?the bums BIIIIG..but the size as actually stretched out the cellulite abit? so every cloud ??Everythin as healed downstairs n ova the nxt couple wks mayb ill ava nose.This does make me slightly anxious..on it with the pelvic floors?I av lots of friends who r pregnant/new mums. I know their new bodies can make em feel insecure n down.I think it’s important we c unfiltered bodies durin n after r babies n celebrate them! I❤’d seeing ow my body adapted to accommodate new life n its truly,beautifully,mind blowin.If u dnt like it,there’s always diets/gym wen u av recovered!So 4now try to enjoy ur perfect changing shell❤I wanted 2post sooner but my new home (Gregs former bachelor pad)didnt ava full length mirror.I sorted this,amongst uva things?with a fab Argos1,gr8 buy @£29 don’t ya think??
When you are pregnant, you celebrate every pound gained, every sign that your body is growing your baby, and every curve is cherished and fawned over. Once baby arrives, you feel as if you have been slammed back down to earth with a thud. You look down at your body and think, whose body is this and start thinking, almost immediately, how can I get back to the body I once knew.
I am so pleased that Jennifer feels so happy in her body FOUR weeks after giving birth, seriously I do, but what about the rest of us mere mortals? (By the way, well done if you managed to read her caption!!) A lot of people tell me on a daily basis that they can’t believe I am only just back from maternity leave (I assume they’re referring to the fact that I have lost all of my baby weight) but I am 14 months post-partum, I certainly did not look like this at four weeks post partum. What’s more, it’s not just about losing the weight; pregnancy changes your body in so many more ways than just weight gain.
This is me four weeks post partum. Unlike Jennifer, I couldn’t envisage EVER wearing a wired bra again! My belly was still puffy, and I was still two stone heavier than pre-pregnancy.
I wanted to write an honest account of how I feel about my body one year on from giving birth to my first child and I also asked some bloggers to share how they feel too. I think it’s so important for women to be truly honest about things so that others can be prepared for what lies ahead after pregnancy. In the media we are shown so many women who seem to bounce back after giving birth and it simply is not the case for the majority of us. Don’t get me wrong, some woman can leave the birthing suite in their pre-pregnancy size 8 jeans, but I was not one of them and I remember feeling totally deflated and gutted when I couldn’t fit into said jeans months later, despite, at that point, being the same weight that I was before I fell pregnant.
Thinking back to one year ago, hours after I had given birth to Dexter and stepping into the bathroom in the delivery suite, alone, to look at my body for the first time, I shudder. There should be some sort of rule where women aren’t allowed to look at the flabby, deflated and saggy folds of skin for at least a week, and they definitely should not be allowed to look at the car crash scene that is their vulva! I remember looking at my stomach which was still round, yet empty; my breasts, still engorged due to hormones and weight gain, hung limply like two deflated balloons and my vulva was swollen beyond all recognition, stitched up carefully by the doctor who delivered Dex, and alien to me in every sense of the world.
I didn’t dare look down again for at least another week. I took a few pictures of my swollen belly and poked at my belly button which still insisted on being an outie, despite being an innie for my whole entire life. Angry red and purple stretch marks extended across my hips looking worse with everyday that passed. I remember sobbing quietly in the bath, ashamed of what my body had become, despite it having achieved the most amazing thing in the world only days earlier.
As the year has gone on, I have begun to feel better about some things and other things I feel self conscious of. I managed to lose all of the baby weight which felt like a big struggle at first (I gained close to four stone during my pregnancy) but suddenly after ten months became very easy. (Two bouts of norovirus certainly helped!) Thanks to doing pelvic floor exercises my vagina quickly returned to normal and the swelling subsided. It no longer feels like a foreign land between my legs and the hemorrhoids which came with the pregnancy finally eased off some months later. My belly button returned to being an innie, although it now sags and is wrinkled around the edges.
stretch marks tiger stripes remain and my boobs will never be the same again after going up about five cup sizes before coming back down again, quickly. One breast remains bigger than the other and they are deeply etched with stretch marks that came, not from the weight gain, but the weight loss. My face is etched with wrinkles thanks to many sleepless nights and my hair is curlier than ever before, despite it being relatively straight (although sometimes frizzy) before pregnancy. Diets and the gym, as Jennifer kindly points out, are available to try and get your body back to some form of normality once you’ve given birth, however the sleepless nights and long days often mean you really cannot be arsed to do any of it! Even so, totally smashing the gym is not going to help you shift those stretch marks, soz.
How do other bloggers feel about their post pregnancy bodies?
Hayley from Devon Mama:
Gave birth May 2016 – one year on, I’ve been upping my exercise and getting my fitness back and I finally feel like I’m getting my body back to being mine. I’m trying hard to love it for what it’s given me but it’s hard when old clothes don’t fit or things aren’t in the same place any more. Things were never firm in the first place, but now they definitely aren’t and I’m more than a little nervous about what swimwear to wear on holiday this year. Funnily enough though stretch marks don’t bother me, I actually got a little upset the other day when I realised the two I had on my stomach had disappeared! It felt like losing a link to my pregnancy. What can I say, I’m sleep deprived!
Lianne from Mrs Mummy Harris:
Gave birth in May and hate my body more than before. I lost some of the weight but boredom on maternity leave made me the heaviest I’ve ever been and I hate it. If I eat or drink anything my tummy looks like I’m 6 months pregnant again.
Julie from Pondering Parenthood:
I had Little M last May and I’m pretty much back where I was, although my hips are definitely wider than they were, despite me weighing the same amount. I think I came out of pregnancy quite lucky; I don’t have any stretch marks and my tummy has pretty much gone back to how it was – although it wasn’t at all toned before! It’s maybe a little ‘looser’ now, if you know what I mean. The biggest change for me has definitely been my build. I’m pretty much the same shape (and still no boobs since they deflated!) but my bra band size and hip size is an inch or two bigger than before. I don’t really like my body, but I’m not sure that I feel any differently to before. I liked my pregnant body though. It felt beautiful!
Hanna from Little Snippets:
I gave birth in May 2016. It’s taken me until recently to feel comfortable in my body again, I’m still breastfeeding so it doesn’t feel like it’s all mine again yet. My hips feel wider and my tummy not quite as flat but I no longer feel uncomfortable when people see me in summer clothes/bikini etc. It took a lot longer than I thought it would! But I did struggle with not being able to diet because if I cut my calories or really affected my milk supply!
Sarah from Run, Jump, Scrap:
I had my baby girl in sept 2016 and feel happy and confident. I’ve got stretchy skin a little on my tummy but being back at the gym, breastfeeding and my usual diet has helped me go back to a little heavier than my pre baby weight, so I’m happy! I must admit getting back in shape was important to me so I work out when I can. My boobs…ha! They will never be the same again!
Katy from Katy Kicker:
I had my daughter the first day of Spring in 2016, 21st March. I’m proud of my body. I was overweight before I got pregnant, and I weigh the same now as I Did before I got pregnant. So that isn’t bad. I’m proud that I carried my daughter, had a c-section and have got strong again afterwards. I almost died having my daughter, I don’t really have the time or energy to worry about my body (which was ruined before childbirth) or any little niggles. However, I don’t look down on anyone else who does
Alana from Baby Holiday:
I had my second baby boy last June, exactly two years after our first, and am starting to feel better about my post-pregnancy body. I had gestational diabetes, so actually lost weight while pregnant because of my low carb diet, which took some getting used to. I’m usually a size eight, and wasn’t confident being even more slight. I was worried I looked unhealthy and had a lot of “jokey” comments along the lines of “are you sure there was a baby in there”, which aren’t helpful! I’m getting back to my normal size now, but still have a wobbly tummy after growing two hefty boys!
Just the same as after my first son, my hair started to fall out around the front, and now I’m dealing with the lovely baby hair regrowth. There’s nothing I can do to make it look good!
I think it’s important to remember that no matter how people look after they’ve had a baby, everyone will feel completely different. Some people will feel happy and confident and some absolutely self conscious and upset and it is not all relative to weight gain/loss. No matter how you are feeling, help and support it out there and most women I am sure, will be able to relate to what you are going through. Although many people comment on how great I look and how you can’t tell I’ve had a child, my body will never quite be the same again…but that’s okay. I grew my baby boy inside my body, I nourished him and delivered him safely into the world. My body is amazing and despite the changes, I am slowly growing to love it again.
If you liked this post then you must read Dexter’s birth story and my gory Pregnancy Symptoms post!
Thursday 27th of July 2017
I’m 3 years postpartum and still not always happy with my body. Don’t get me wrong – it did this crazy amazing thing growing a baby and I wouldn’t change that. But I’m squishy round the edges and that can be hard. Especially as my body seems to gather all that extra fat/overweight-ness around my middle so on some days I can still look pregnant (or pregnant again!). In fact I’ve been asked 3 times in the last six months if I’m pregnant (Rah! How is that your business??)
Anyway, between August 2013 and Christmas 2013 (when I was then 13 weeks pregnant) I had lost a stone and a half doing Slimming World. Watching the numbers go back up again during my pregnancy was hard. I know that was “good weight” because it was my body growing and cooking a baby but when everyone else around you is aiming for pounds off to then be getting pounds on is really hard.By the time I got to July 2014 (And Jaxon was due), I had put that stone and a half back on. The weigh in after Jaxon was born was the funniest because I stood on the scales to like a 20 pound loss! The poor lady writing the weights down thought the scales were broken because she didn’t know that I’d just had a baby! Between then and April 2015, I’d been on it and was now two and a half stone lighter than when I’d started and had a baby in the middle. I was on the home straight to my target and was so close to that point.
Then something went wrong. Now I’m 3 years postpartum. I’m near enough 2-2.5 stone overweight again and some days very unmotivated to shift it. I am trying to do more exercise and not rely on sugar and caffeine to get me through my days but that’s not always possible and some days I really fail! Across July I have been doing more exercise at home and trying to make sure my in calories are less than my out calories. Some days it works and other days it doesn’t but I’m figuring it out.
Am I happy with my postpartum body? Then – yes, now – not so much. I think I got in that pregnancy/breastfeeding “must eat more calories” kind of stage and then didn’t really leave it again. Not good!
Jaxon starts preschool for extra hours in September so I’m hoping that I can fit in maybe going for a swim or something like that too but need to figure that one out.
Hayley - Devon Mama
Thursday 27th of July 2017
It's such a huge change for us to all go through but I think we're right to celebrate our bodies... look at what they've given us! Atleast that's what I try and tell myself every time I have a wobble. Thanks for sharing!