When you become a mum for the first time the changes you go through are not just physical. We’ve all heard the cliché phrases “you life will change when the baby comes along” and others like it.
I think what I felt was that I didn’t fully appreciate who I was prior to having a baby and had no idea of the actual impact becoming a mother has on your whole life, life style as well as the mental and physical changes.
As women in particular we are always reminded how quick celebrities get back into shape, loose their baby weight etc. To be honest I do not envy that pressure but it still doesn’t take away the fact that inside we feel that pressure to get back into our pre-pregnancy shape.
Now don’t get me wrong this is not a post about the acceptance of who you are now you have become a mum. It’s more about seeing yourself both mentally and physically as a “parent in progress”.
We all know the physical changes a woman’s body goes through when pregnant but what is rarely spoken about is how long those physical changes take post birth. Do our bodies really go back to how they were before we pushed a human out or had a major op (c-section) to have our baby? The media and society in general would have is think that it is super simple to return to our pre-pregnancy size and weight. However the only truthful analogy I can think of is that when you blow up a balloon and keep it inflated for half an hour and then deflate the air out of it there are always going to be physical changes that just can’t be rectified. Medically I’ve heard that it take 2 years for the bones and muscles of a woman’s body to return to anything like how it was before being pregnant.
I certainly know that my hips have moved and even though my size has changed and I may have once got back to my pre-pregnancy size, the fit is still not right.
My weight and size is still a niggling ear worm for me. A constant nag inside my head. My relationship with food is an odd one. I’m not one for diets. I remember my mum dieting and going to slimming world, seeing her place a “thin” photo on the fridge for motivation and then becoming a consultant running groups but just as with me her weight has always yo-yo-ed.
I don’t really remember her happy or sad with it she always seemed quite comfortable with her body and certainly although there was an eating healthily routine she never portrayed that desire to be skinny and seemed very happy whatever size she was. If those clothes fitted then that was fine. I have kind of adopted the same attitude. I have tried the weight loss programmes but to be honest I just get more anxious and then hate food and constantly think about it.
I also find it sets of the same anxious feelings I had when I was weaning my babies; that constantly thinking about food, are they eating enough?
Part of my anxiety and postnatal depression symptoms tended to manifest themselves within my weight loss. The physical symptoms of IBS and anxiety meant that I lost weight rapidly. Family and friends would say I looked great which was always a boost but inside my head was in a very bad place. The stress and anxiety diet is not to be recommended. Looking back before I had the children and was preparing to get married, although I would have said I wasn’t nervous or worried about getting married my anxiety symptoms were there. I had just put it down to possible food allergies and was then surprised when on our honeymoon I then was “allergy-free” and the IBS symptoms has seemed to disappear.
I feel it now as well. The weight is dropping off yet I’m not eating healthily or enjoying food at the moment. I prefer that my hubby works late as it means I can eat with the children and that means I don’t have to think about cooking for him or me. Tasting food had lost its appeal too and I’m completely off alcohol and have no desire to even have a sip. Mocktails are now my new tipple.
Often new mums and those mums suffering from postnatal illness the feeling of not being the same person as they were and almost mourn that loss is immense. Often there is a strong desire to run away from your new life as a mum and want to briefly just for that moment go back to who you were before they had their baby.
I’m not sure I ever felt that feeling but I know I felt the loss of myself. I would question who I now was. My self esteem was at an all time low and even now my self confidence often fails me and I can find myself wallowing in self pity. I now then that it’s time to give myself some self-care.
Self-care is something I know all about but at this moment there is an invisible force preventing myself from doing anything about it. So I’m going to work on it and ultimately start to treat myself as I treat others, with a little bit of love. 💗