With the mounting pressures many new mothers feel, getting back into pre-pregnancy clothes is probably in the top 3 of worries, especially when the media like to showcase images of celebrity mums who just snap back into their pre-conception wardrobe.
Whilst this post isn’t to bring down the lucky mothers who wore their size 8 jeans home from hospital… That in itself, I admire. My purpose here is to highlight there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
I recently came across this photo from 9 years ago after my son Charlie was born. He was just 4 days old and I certainly don’t look like the stereotypical Personal Trainer, Instagram and Facebook would have you believe.
My breasts are like bags of sand that seemed to keep expanding sideways, there was no chance a maternity bra was ever going to hold those up.
My belly is visibly round and wobbly and no sign of any muscle tone whatsoever.
The reason I’m sharing this story, is because too many mothers feel the need to conform to how society and social media has portrayed them to be. I want to reflect a true representation of post-natal beauty for exactly what it is, and as a Personal Trainer and studio instructor teaching 20 classes a week, this was my body!
I worked to 39 weeks of pregnancy and was incredibly fit. I’m not claiming bragging rights here, I just want to give you a true reflection of reality, rather than feeling like you should look a certain way and be able to just bounce back to pre-baby body.
I remember feeling disappointed that I couldn’t fit into my favourite baggy gym pants when leaving hospital after the birth… That’s how delusional I was! Despite being fit and active, I was shocked to discover my pelvic floor felt like it had been ripped out, I couldn’t even locate the muscle to control my bladder.
“No worries,” I thought. I’ll train sensibly during my maternity leave and return to work fit, wearing my favourite lycra. What on earth was I thinking? Getting dressed and leaving the house before 2pm was a big enough challenge let alone squeezing in a 20 minute workout? My life had become a cycle of 3 hour intervals of feeding, burping, changing, washing and sterilising. The only activity I could realistically do was walking with the buggy.
As planned I returned to the studio 8 weeks later looking squishy with the fear of my boobs leaking midway through a grapevine. I certainly did not look like Cheryl Cole did 8 weeks post-natal.
I hope from reading this you have more of an understanding that it’s ok not be perfect or look the same as what you did before. It is much more important to focus on being mentally fit and healthy first, before worrying about crunches and flattening your stomach. It took me about 7 months to feel myself again and I was exercising regularly, so give yourself a realistic time frame to get back to being you.
Your body has made a child and your recovery from that may take a little while. Instead of seeing yourself with flaws, embrace what you have created and what you have been through. You will return to yourself soon enough, but there really is no rush. Please take a moment to be proud of yourself and love the way you look. Stretch marks, diastasis recti (split abdominals) or Caesarean scars are your trophies for making another human being…. learn to love them.
Mums Who Move is an exclusive new membership programme for mothers who want to lead an active lifestyle and be fit, healthy and happy.
Launching October 2017 – To register your interest please complete the form below
Sharon is fully qualified in Pre and Post-natal Exercise Design. If you would like to book a free coaching call to discus your health and fitness goals, please select your preferred time below