Right, can we just…? I always said throughout my pregnancy that I would enjoy it and worry about the effects on my body afterwards. And for carrying twins, I was doing pretty ok. Then in the last month I ballooned with water weight, contracted pre-eclampsia and became a full on tiger from new stretch marks seemingly overnight. Yay!
Once the babies were out I really wanted to be one of those mums who didn’t care about their own bodies and how they had changed and focused on their babies instead. But once I’d been given the ok by the doctors to exercise I suddenly felt like I had to ‘snap back’. Partly because I felt fat and ugly and unattractive. But mostly because I wanted a piece of me back. I had become a mother and I felt that that was ALL I was now. I wanted to recover my old body to give myself the self confidence and piece of mind that I was still myself as well. I had this notion that I’d be slim and happy and feel attractive again. Everything would be amazing and there’d be at least one thing in my life totally in my control, because let’s face it babies are in nobodies control but their own!
Since having the girls I have shed four stone (to be fair a chunk of that was all that bloody water weight), got back to my pre-pregnancy weight, fitted back into my size 8 clothes and fell in total love with my tiger stripes. But I am still not happy. I still feel fat because I still have a mummy tummy. I still feel ugly because I have wobblier thighs. And I still feel unattractive because my boobs no longer stay where I tell them to and are three sizes bigger and I had to throw all my expensive designer, pre-baby underwear away (PISSED!).
I can have surgery, which will make it hard again to look after my children. I can diet until I’m starved and underweight. But these aren’t realistic goals or methods. So I have had to adjust my notion and accept the changes that have come to me and my body. The tiger stripes and stretching of my skin will probably never let me have a tight flat stomach again. It did an amazing thing I know, so why am I so hard on it? Why won’t I let it just be what it needs to be to keep recovering and get stronger again. It’s only been seven months. I mean it took nine to bulldoze it! At least give it nine to try and recover, right?
So no, you shouldn’t pressure yourself to snap back. You shouldn’t feel like you have to because others do. But if you want to for yourself then go for it. Try. But it’s ok if it didn’t fix everything. It’s ok if your self image to magically improve. And don’t be disappointed when you don’t get your old body back. Girlfriend, it is likely GONE! And if you did manage to get it back, well done. And I hate you!
Please understand I realise that there is someone who is always worse off than you. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, perfect, healthy babies. I am very proud of what my body has achieved to make that happen. I know that I have the option to hide the parts of my body I’m unhappy about and it isn’t anything life changing or something that people will see and judge me on everyday. But the vain, self esteem part of my brain doesn’t care about that. I’ve tried to converse with it and tell it. It won’t listen. It just doesn’t like me.
My conclusion is that my babies are totally more important than working out and exercise, but they’re also my motivation for doing it. I would want them to know that your own feelings are more important than anyone else’s and that you should do something for yourself and because you want to do it. I want them to know that hard work pays off, as I have physically reached my goal weight again. But most importantly I would want them to know that goals and dreams are amazing but if you get them and it’s not what you thought then that’s ok as well. You just have to adjust and keep right on going. Right, I’m off to eat some cake. F**k it.
Picture 1 – Pre-pregnancy photo from a fashion blog I used to run. I’ve since lost that bodysuit. Annoyed. Thought it was bloody cute. Had a ‘Mermaid’ one too from New Look!
Picture 2 – Swimming at four months pregnant with the twins. This was when I really started to love my little (big) bump.
Picture 3 – This month, seven months after the girls. I am still hiding my mummy tummy away and trying to portray the ‘perfect’ body. I’m planning on taking a much braver picture soon. Fingers crossed my conversations with my self esteem go well enough soon! 🤞🏻🤞🏻