I don’t even need to introduce this concept, even those who have no kids or even an interest in having kids will be aware of this. It’s so heavily engrained in our collective social psyche. Pregnancy makes women fat! It is morally, socially, sexually and emotionally unacceptable to be fat in today’s society. But pregnant women are excused – to an extent.
So obviously the body of mums post pregnancy is a big big concern. They must ‘bounce back’ almost immediately, they must never accept it and ‘let themselves go’. Christ one of the big supposed selling points of breastfeeding that is constantly shoved down our throats is that it helps you lose weight. Because that should be a priority when you literally have a tiny human sucking it’s life source out of what was previously a very sensitive part of your body.
Anyway, I could go on for hours about my point of view on other people’s frankly fucking stupid opinions and expectations of new mothers but I won’t. The point of this post is about me and my mum bod.
I am now 14 months past giving birth and in some ways my body hasn’t changed and in others it dramatically has. It’s been hard, I’m not going to lie and strangely it’s the things that never bothered me before that bother me now. I was never vain really, never bothered about my skin or hair, but I am now. The changes that you experience in pregnancy are only the beginning. Post partum you generally have a whole host of new things coming at you.
So here’s my list of things that have occupied my thoughts when it comes to my mum bod!
1. My vagina. Come on that was obvious. The poor thing took a beating, it was a champ, gas an air and no other pain killers. An episiotomy done by a nervous dithering midwife that was stitched badly. Then there was the bruised clitoris – why oh holy fuck does no one warn you about that?!I thought I’d got the worst out of the way 8 weeks after giving birth when my stitches were starting to heal. But then there were the over granulation lumps, then the prolapses, then the physiotherapy. It never seemed to stop and honestly I had some extremely low moments. I felt pathetic being so upset about what I initially thought was insignificant – so what if my sex life would never be the same? I had my son! So what if having another baby vaginally would be more complicated? I had my son! So what if it was more complicated when I went to the toilet? I had my son! Then I started to realise that yes I am fucking lucky, I know that trust me, but also those things are a key part of my life and it was ok to mourn the changes – it was ok to be scared and ask for help and expect proper and thorough care. Now I’m very lucky to have a very good local women’s physiotherapy on the NHS so I’m slowly coming to terms with what can’t be fixed and working on what can be.
2. My hair, oh my beautiful thick hair. For as long as I can remember I’ve hated my hair! It was so thick it was ridiculous, I was ALWAYS hot, it took hours to dry, getting it in an “updo” was almost impossible. Then pregnancy put it on steroids. It got even thicker. Joy of joys. Then post partum, I’d read about hair loss and kept checking, you know just incase, I thought I’d got away with it but at about four months the bitch made an appearance. And she came with an army. I easily easily lost about a half to three quarters of my hair. It fell out by the bucket load – aided by a baby boy who was obsessed with pulling it. And you know what it broke me! Again silly and vain maybe but the strength of the emotion I felt really knocked me on my ass. It really hurt, I didn’t feel like I was me anymore. My hair as much as it had always driven me insane was a part of me and now it was going and I couldn’t get it to stop! 8 months on from that and I’m starting to feel more confident and have picked up some good tips to stop it being so bad if there’s a next time!
3. My waist, ok so this is two fold obviously weight is a factor but there is also something I had absolutely no clue would happen. My waist moved. I live in vintage style dresses, love them, so I am very aware of where my waist is and know how to dress to accentuate it. So a few months after giving birth getting dressed up and realising that my body wasn’t right was weird. My waist has dropped about two inches from where it was and this totally alters my entire body shape. This resulted in me basically binning and selling ALL my clothes. Not joking, there were about 15 bin bags worth. I couldn’t bring myself to keep wearing the clothes that just didn’t look right anymore. People told me to wait because I’d regret it but I still don’t! I’m not going to lie I’m still struggling to feel confident in my new shape, it’s alien to me, but I’m determined to keep trying different styles until I find my proverbial glass slipper.
4. My weight. I’ve been plus size for a long time, thinking back I can pretty much say it started when I went on hormonal contraception which also coincided with uni so lots of eating badly and alcohol. But I’ve never managed to shift it – except surprisingly when I came off hormonal contraception. However, I’ve always had a natural top limit that I’ve never gone past until I had a baby. Now the weight is sticking to me, like those annoying plants when you try to be outdoorsy, and I cannot seem to shift it. I’m working on sorting my weight out, not just because of expectations but for me. I potentially want another child some day and I don’t want to be struggling with weight again as badly as this when I do.
5. My feet. My bastard feet have grown, I genuinely thought this was an old wives tale or a pregnancy thing. But nope, my solidly size 7 trotters are now some unknown alien size. And I am too goddam old to go to Clark’s and queue up with the kids to get my feet sized!
There are more, obviously, but if I listed them all I’d never stop. It would be quite easy to write a full dissertation long rant to be honest. I’m not saying this to put people off having kids, because even though we’re in the turdler phase he is still totally worth it (ish).