We’ve all seen the images in magazines and on the TV commenting on woman’s body’s once they have had children. Sometimes celebrating how amazing a new mum looks or marvelling at how quick they have lost weight. Sometimes pointing out woman’s post baby flaws. I sighed when I saw Kim K’s naked bathroom selfie all over social media (although I was probably more envious of her very tidy bathroom than her body!) I remember seeing pictures of Kate Middleton on the steps of the maternity hospital in a gorgeous dress looking groomed and amazing. I did wonder though if she’d rather be wearing yoga pants and snuggling with her new born than having her hair and makeup done to keep up appearances. It has all got me thinking about how I feel about my body after having 3 children.
It blows my mind that my body has created and nurtured 3 children. My body has given me my beautiful children, keeping them safe, providing for them exactly what they needed – the battle scars were a small price to pay for that. In a lot of ways having my children has changed the way I think about my body. It shifted my focus from what my body looks like to what my body is able to do. Having my three children has taught me what my body is physically capable of.
After having my twins I felt a bit broken, my body had taken quite a battering. In the early days after having my c-section I really noticed how easy it was to move again. I think all of the pain of carrying twins made me appreciate this in a way I’d really taken for granted before. In the longer term it took physiotherapy over quite a number of months and lots of post natal Pilates to start to heel my damaged abdominal muscles (here’s my earlier post about my post pregnancy abs). Though far from perfect I am happy with the improvement in my abs and core strength. It’s something that I really want to continue us to work on.
I’ve worked really hard to get back to a weight that feels natural to me. After having my daughter I ran a marathon to get back in shape. I realise this is quite extreme but giving birth made me feel a bit invincible! (Here’s my post running a marathon v giving birth, which is harder?). After having my twins I had to take things slowly, I needed to recover and heel before I could think about getting back in shape. I lost weight slowly and steadily over quite a long period of time, mainly by following the 5:2 diet (I’ve previously written about my experience, Does the 5:2 diet work?)
Looking after my kids have made me strong. I get a workout everyday, whether I want to or not (no skipping a day at the gym of life!). I walk and cycle a lot doing the school run and taking my kids out and about. Walking with a double pushchair is the best exercise I’ve ever done. My boys are at the age where I still lift them quite frequently, in and out of their beds and pushchair and carrying them when they get tired – it is amazing for my arms.
It’s has taken me some time to accept the damaged, over stretched skin on my stomach. It has been something that really bothered me especially after having my twins. If I could wave a magic wand get my skin back to its pre kids state I would in a second. Over time I have more or less made peace with the fact that it is something that can’t be fixed without surgery. Some days its a bit of an uneasy peace. I’ve also learnt that I need to buy good bras and have a fitting every time I buy one (how did it take me so long to realise this). I will never wear a bikini again and I’m still a bit sad about that. However I like the way I look in my clothes and I think that’s a happy place to have got to.
There are parts of my post baby body but I’m not crazy about but I’ve gradually got to a point where I don’t spend too much time dwelling on them. I’ve learnt to pay attention to and appreciate the things I like about my appearance as much as I can. Its taken me around 3 years to find a kind of balance, working on the aspects of my body that I can improve and making peace with the things that I can’t.
Don’t worry I’m not going to be posting any naked selfies any time soon!