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Celebrating the Mum Bod and Postpartum Body: Removing Weight Stigma #mumbodstoo

Updated: Mar 26

In 2021 it was reported by the New York Post that nearly 75% of singles are more turned on by a “dad bod” over any other body type. That summer, Dad bods were celebrated in the media around the world.

 

People with Dad bods were described as an ‘average guy who doesn’t have a lean, shredded physique’. Now if this description was coined for the average gal who doesn’t have a lean and shredded physique (particularly after having children), and it was celebrated in the same way, we would have had a revolution on our hands. One where women would feel proud, confident and empowered about what their incredible bodies are capable of and have gone through after growing, birthing, and nourishing a baby. I am here to start that revolution #mumbodstoo


Mum standing with hands on hips in black underwear showing her mum bod
Mum bods and normal and come in in all shapes and sizes. We should celebrate them all.

January is traditionally a time where people put themselves under immense pressure to lose any weight they may have gained over the Christmas period (through enjoying themselves), and to start a new and intense fitness regime. This pressure can be magnified on a colossal scale if you are also a new mum.

 

New mums are navigating this whole new world where your body doesn’t look like your own, it doesn’t feel like your own and if you are breastfeeding, has a new purpose to nourish your new baby too. This doesn’t consider the hormonal changes, the physical recovery from giving birth and the disrupted sleep, just to name a few other plates you might be spinning. During this potentially vulnerable phase in our postpartum lives where we may spend a lot of time nap-trapped or feeding our babies whilst scrolling social media, we are highly susceptible to this constant messaging about ‘bouncing back’ from people we don’t even know. This bounce back culture is damaging to mums reading these posts and ultimately comparing their postpartum bodies to these celebrities (who don’t clean their own house, don’t cook their own meals, have personal chef’s and PT’s on hand… you get my point!) These are often unrealistic views of what the postpartum phase is like.


Imagine if #mumbodstoo was able to show new mums what real woman look and feel like after giving birth? Some celebs have shared their open and honest stories of their postpartum journey, including Holly Willoughby, Serena Williams and Georgia Kousoulou which will help empower some new mums for sure. Let’s make it even bigger that this though! Let’s make it the norm.

 

My experience of the postpartum phase (as a mum who has always had a relatively soft body) still surprised me. I remember looking in the mirror a week after my son Ruben was born, at my new body and I was absolutely astounded at what I saw. I felt so incredibly proud as this new person; yes, I had a very soft and rounded tummy, yes, my hips were bigger, yes, my boobs had changed and were leaking milk, and yes, I did have cellulite in my arse cheeks. But I was standing there holding my precious baby boy.


This sense of pride did waiver at times though. I remember after having the all clear post-caesarean that I was allowed to start light exercise again and I began a postpartum core rehabilitation programme. WOWZERS!! I realised that my body couldn’t do the things it used to be able to do. It didn’t feel connected in the way it once did. I found this really tough. Having people around me who had also gone through it reassured me that this phase was temporary and that my body once again would feel like my own and would feel strong. I had to tell myself that I can do difficult things and that my body would once again be as strong as it was pre-pregnancy.

 

I feel very lucky in that I was able to prioritise 30 minutes a day to walk and to slowly rebuild my core after being pregnant and making this time was essential in helping me feel myself again. I get that for some mums, this can feel like a stretch, but making this time for yourself (with the support of those around you) can be essential in starting to feel like you again. There are some studies that suggest it takes a mum up to 2 years to recover from birth fully on a physical and hormonal level. Remembering this when we see images of celebs 4 weeks after giving birth with their flat stomachs, perfectly styled hair and flawless makeup, might help to give us a sense of reality and to take those stories with a pinch of salt.

 

In the interest of balance, I want to say that I am not against women feeling body confident, proud and wanting to share their flat stomachs in their postpartum photos; and being trolled for this is absolutely not fair. All I would say is that this can have a really damaging effect on those mums who are not sharing the same journey, who are feeling highly emotional and vulnerable and who will be comparing their new, soft postpartum bodies to these celebs. One piece of advice a friend gave me as a brand new mum was to unfollow celebs on social media whilst I was in this phase to help avoid this comparison; not only physically, but in terms of being a mum in general. Comparison is absolutely the thief of joy and on that basis, I tightened my social media following to protect my postpartum bubble.

 

As mums reading this post, I invite you to join me in helping to share positive postpartum images and stories on social media using the hashtag #mumbodstoo. Let’s help to normalise the softness we might be experiencing in all forms. You might be 6 months postpartum, or 6 years postpartum. Once you are postpartum, you are always postpartum. Let’s help to empower the mums-to-be about the postpartum period and to show people what normal actually is. Let’s embrace and celebrate our mum bods.

 

The truth is the numbers you see on the scales or on the tape measure do not measure you as a mum. They do not define you. I am a mum, and I look like one! And I’m learning to become proud of that fact! This year I am absolutely trying to be more kind to myself and to accept myself for who I am. I am a bloody good mum and my son loves me exactly as I am; mum belly, cellulite, droopy boobs and all!

 

Join me in celebrating us mums and mums-to-be. #mumbodstoo


I really hope that celebrating the mum bod and our postpartum body in this article helps in removing some of the weight stigma associated with January and also the fourth trimester. You do you mama!

 

Lots of love xx

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