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Postnatal body image

Thursday 16 June 2022

When you were pregnant, did anyone ever talk about the ‘postnatal stage’ or that new ‘postnatal body’ you’d be in?

Feeling the pressure

There is so much pressure on new mums, and one that shouldn’t exist – the need and expectation for our bodies to ‘bounce back’ to our pre-pregnancy state.

We embrace the changes in pregnancy, with our growing and changing bodies. Yet with the lack of sleep, hormonal changes, physical changes/trauma to our bodies, and new family units to adapt to, a lot of us add even further to that load. We worry about losing the pregnancy weight and fitting back into our old wardrobe within a matter of weeks.

The ‘postnatal body’ is a topic that rarely comes up in conversations, until you’re living it. No one warns you about the changes your body goes through after birth and during recovery.

Early days

Think back to how you felt in those early days of postpartum life. I definitely struggled. Almost daily I’d stand in front of the mirror and cry. I didn’t fit into anything, I was uncomfortable, and I was in pain with my stitches too. Everything clung to the wrong areas and with learning and adapting to breastfeeding life, none of my tops seemed suitable. Nursing tops cost an arm and a leg so were not on that maternity pay list of priorities for our budget.

As well as the physical changes we experience such as the weight gain, wider hips, different-shaped boobs… there is also the physical trauma we have to recover from. Things such as stitches for a tear that occurred during vaginal delivery or from a C-Section, weakened pelvic floors, and/or even experiencing a prolapse. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion all contribute to us constantly feeling hungry as our bodies crave energy.

We seem to live fighting between what our body wants and what our brain is telling us.

Accept and love your body

Learning to accept our new bodies and how we look will never be easy, but it’s a topic that we should talk about. A topic that we need to learn how to accept and support one another with.

If our experiences during pregnancy, labour and during the postnatal journey were discussed and not feared, then how we all process and deal with the new us and our new life may become a little easier.

It’s important to take your time with your emotions and physical changes. Take each day as a new day. Remind yourself that it took (for most) 9 months to grow your baby, 9 months of your body changing out of your control. Rather than rushing to ‘bounce back’, allow yourself time to work on whatever you would like to, along with accepting your new body and praising it for doing something truly incredible.

Remind yourself

  • Your body is beautiful
  • Your body has gifted life
  • Accept your body
  • Your body is magical
  • Accept the new you
  • Love the new you

My own quote: I got this – Mum style

About the author

Natalie Fawkes

Franchise owner and instructor for Basking Babies Colchester.

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