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Body after baby

Fat Mum Slim /

pram

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably know that my relationship with my body is a strained one. It’s one I haven’t written about in a while, and not one I’ve been as open about as in the past. Back when I began my blog it was all about my body and losing weight, but as my interests changed and my audience grew… my openess was less… open. I became guarded and protective of myself.

I went from starting a diet every Monday, and failing it by Wednesday, to realising that dieting just didn’t work for me. And then I struggled, because if not dieting, then what? I didn’t know life without dieting. This is my life. From an age much not older than Lacey is now, it was all about desiring a body other than the one that I was in.

After having Lacey I found a lone book tucked away in the parenting section of a bookshop I used to frequent. It was called My Body After Baby and it was pretty much the best parenting-type book I read in that first year. And I read a lot, particularly about solving sleep issues.

The book was filled with real stories of real women with real bodies after giving birth. {What is real anyway? Are there any women out there with fake bodies and fake stories?} Some people bounced back into shape and others didn’t. I wish I’d kept that book. I’d like to read it again now.

During my pregnancy with Luella I was pretty strict with my eating. I felt sick for over half of my pregnancy, so I wasn’t keen on food anyway, but I was really mindful to not put on weight like I did with Lacey. I actually lost weight and maintained it up until about 30 weeks. I felt good in my skin, not great {because that might require a miracle} but good.

And then there were those last 10 weeks. Slowly weight crept on, and I’d put on a handful of kilograms. It’s one thing I don’t love about being pregnant, those public weigh-ins at the hospital. You walk in, wait for your name to be called, step on the scales in front of the room full of pregnant women and their partners {and sometimes their parents and siblings and grandparents}. The nurse would scribble down the number, take your blood pressure and then you’d take a seat.

In those latter weeks of my pregnancy, I’d sigh as I got on the scales. I’d scan that list of numbers that the nurse and pray someone had a bigger number than I did. When there was, I’d give myself a mental high-five. It’s how my mind works.

My default mind frame is to hate my body into change. Look at you. You’re so pathetic. Lose some weight. Nobody could hate me more than I hate myself {well, my body} most days. I assume that by spurring myself on with poison-laced thoughts, I’ll make better choices and start running marathons. It’s such a toxic way to think.

I easily forget that my body carried a baby {two, in fact}. A healthy, beautiful baby. It grew her for almost 9 months, without a hiccup. All of her. Her perfect 10 fingers and toes, her little button nose, all of her perfectly formed organs and even that fluffy little hair. It birthed her, quickly and easily, without any drugs or instruments. It fed and nourished her for 11 months and still going strong. My body, even though I’ve shown it such resistance and dislike, has done amazing and beautiful things.

My body is scarred from growing those babies. Signs of growth and sagginess. It’s changed. For those first few days after birth, when it goes from hard and almost swollen to soft and floppy it feels almost foreign. I’d accidentally brush my hand over my empty stomach and it didn’t feel like it was part of me anymore. It’s an odd feeling to have. But it truly did amazing things. And those scars and signs of once growing a baby, are pretty amazing scars to bear.

Eleven months after giving birth to that beautiful baby, and now finally getting some sleep… my body feels tired. It feels neglected and unloved. My clothes are uncomfortable and I’m the same weight as when I walked out of the hospital. It feels uncomfortable and not very amazing at all.

I’ve always said that I love myself when… Or I’ll be enough when… Nothing feels good enough, not any achievement because the body I’m in doesn’t feel satisfactory. The other day someone called me inspiring, and I rolled my eyes. Inspiring? Not in this body of mine.

I know from experience that change doesn’t come from hate, or from regurgitating nastiness on a daily basis. Change comes from love. Go on, roll your eyes. It’s airy-fairy, but it’s true. I can’t hate this body into healthy. I can love it, nurture it, remind myself the amazing things it’s achieved and nourish it in the way it deserves.

I hope I can anyway. One day at a time.

Mamas, how do you feel about your body after baby {or babies}?

@Fatmumslim