Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: New Mums & Body Struggles

Thursday, 7 November 2013

New Mums & Body Struggles

Most women, aside from a lucky few, will experience changes in the appearance of their body after giving birth.

Some more than others.

I have made no secret of the fact that I have struggled greatly with my weight and my body image since developing a thyroid condition at the age of 18 and ballooning from a size 8 to a size 18 within a matter of months.

Ever since then my weight has fluctuated a lot - ironically I was at my most comfortable and happiest in years at a size 12/14 when I became pregnant.

I developed a "bump" quite quickly (as the world and its wife liked to point out to me as often as possible!), and although I wouldn't say that I ended up with a particularly huge bump (I did receive many comments to the contrary but my bump only ever measured 38cms at the point of giving birth, a week behind what it should have been....) - I did of course gain weight!

I had been thrilled right up to the point of giving birth as I had escaped with only very few stretch marks - unfortunately for me, all of my stretchmarks appeared AFTER the baby was out and my stomach had shrunk!

I am still COVERED in what feels like hundreds of DEEP stretchmarks all over my tummy and some on my thighs.

Also - I gave birth by c-section, which means that I have the "saggy mum tum" and an unsightly scar.

The scar was very visible for around 6-8 weeks after the birth, it was a line around 6 inches long and was red/purple in colour.

Now - 7 months after the birth - the scar has faded a lot, it is now just a white line - but you can still tell that it's there.

A few weeks back, I came across a photo on my Instagram feed of Imogen Thomas.

This Photo.



I'm sure you'll agree that Imogen looks beautiful!

My issue with the photo was that it was accompanied with a blurb from Imogen saying that the pic was for a magazine shoot promoting natural bodies - showing real women and their real figures, flaws and all - and that she was completely un-airbrushed in the shot.

I don't mean to call Imogen a liar - perhaps she was just extremely lucky in that she was left with no stretchmarks at all - but Imogen gave birth just 8 months ago....by C-section.

Where is her scar?!

I cannot see any hint of a scar on this photo at all - doesn't this seem a little odd considering she gave birth just 8 months ago?

Of course, Celebrities come under endless scrutiny for their shape and size all the time - particularly after giving birth.

Recently Jennifer Ellison hit the headlines for lashing out at twitter trolls following the birth of her 2nd child.

Jennifer received hate-filled messages about her weight when this paparazzi shot was published:


Jennifer hit back with the following tweets:




As a new mum myself, I can say that I have certainly felt pressured to "ping back" into shape following Tyne's birth but I take Jennifer's stance on things - yes it would be great to go to the gym every night and work hard on getting a nice figure, I would personally love to join a Zumba class! 

But the priority is my son and spending time with him - and at the moment with his Dad working evenings and me looking after him all day, there is simply no time for me to go to these classes or the gym (or the spare money, I might add!)

At 12 weeks post-partum, should Jennifer really be expected to have shrunk back to her size 8 figure already? 

Isn't the image of her above exactly how one might expect the mother of a 12 week old baby AND a 3 year old son to look?

Would it be preferable to see someone who has spent hours in hair and makeup for the trip out and weeks in the gym, rather than spending that time with their children?

And aren't "real women" pictures like the ones of Imogen Thomas just further increasing the pressure on us all to look as spectacular as she does 8 months post-partum?

I know that out of both of these images, its the one of Jennifer that makes me feel less like crying myself to sleep with self-hatred!!

On the other hand, I do want to lose weight - I am very conscious that my son will soon grow up and will be going to school with other kids, and I would hate for him to have to listen to any of them say his Mummy is the fat one at the school gates.

But I only gave birth 7 months ago and I am taking steroid medication every day, maybe it's not going to be a quick and easy road for me...

It's not only celebrities who like to show off their amazing post-baby figures and shout it from the rooftops when they're back into the pre-pregnancy jeans - my timeline on facebook seems to be filled with announcements from New Mums that they've "Shifted the last pregnancy pounds only 12 weeks after giving birth!" or are "Back in their old jeans before baby is a month old!"

Of course its fine to feel proud of these achievements, but its much less common to hear anybody talk about NOT being back to pre-baby weight yet or not being back in those skinny jeans...

I have no idea what I weighed before getting pregnant, so I can't say where I am in relation to that - but I can say that I haven't even bothered to take my maternity jeggings out of my wardrobe yet!!!! I still wear those bad boys - I LIKE that super-high elasticated waist, it is damn comfy and I am not ready to give it up yet!!!!!

Perhaps I should go announce that all over Facebook?!!

What are your thoughts on the pressure on women to lose weight after giving birth? Did you ever feel pressured to do so? As always, I'd love to hear from you!


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11 comments:

  1. I hear what your saying! I obviously felt pressure as I was doing hardcore workouts soon after giving birth and really worked hard to get my body back, but I did it more for me as that was how I was comofrtable, I hadn't been bigger than a size 10 for ages and I just didn't feel like me, so I worked hard.

    But I don't think we should put pressure on other women at all, Women should understand women and I already know that next time, I am going to barely have time to fit exercise in but thats ok because as Jennifer said, I will then have 2 beautiful babies and a house to look after. So what if I have a few stretch marks and a saggy mummy tummy? It doesnt define who I am, I will still be the same person and mummy.

    xxq

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    1. Yeah it must be a lot harder to manage with two kids!!! xxx

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  2. I personally don't feel external pressures to lose the weight but im keen to lose it for myself because it'll help with my confidence and self esteem.plus I love exercising!I think the important thing is whatever makes you happiest xx

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    1. I'm glad you havent felt any pressure. I certainly have though, from Facebook alone!!! Its like a constant competition to see who can lose weight the fastest! xx

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  3. I completely agree with you Hayley, there is far too much pressure to snap back to pre pregnancy shape and weight. I have two gorgeous girls, and my body shows that. I have Mummy Tummy, a huge scar from two c-sections and slightly less than pert boobs, ahem. I couldn't give a MONKEYS! The only thing that matters to me is that my children are well and happy and that my husband doesn't find me repulsive! I'm not out to impress anyone.

    It irritates me beyond belief that people have such an opinion on other people's bodies and how they look. Why do people card so much? How and why does someone else's weight have any relevance to anyone else! Ugh, I despair!

    Kate xx
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

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    1. ha...yeah...the post-baby boobs are lush, nobody warned me about those :/

      I absolutely agree though! WHO cares what other people look like?!!!! xxx

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  4. i think having a baby does crazy things to your body,period. for me the problem wasn't weight after my son being born, i lost that quite quickly, more genetics than anything else i think. my problem was my skin. the hormonal change in my body to produce milk sent my poor face into an acne crazed state, and i'm not exaggerating, it landed me with a hurried nhs appointment with a dermatologist and before long i was on a crazy strong drug to sort it out. i was devastated at the time because it meant i had to stop breast feeding, but my face had become that unbearably sore i couldn't sleep at night and washing my face with water felt like acid on my face. i knew caleb needed a happy mama, and if that meant bottle fed then that was what i needed to do. sorry to go off on a bit of a tangent, i guess what i'm trying to say is after birth i think we all have a bit of crisis of confidence, whether it be weight, skin, hair loss, scars, the list goes on!! whats important is knowing we have happy healthy babes, and be proud of our bodies (however broken ;) for producing them. that's the end of my novel!! oops sorry ;)

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    1. Oh no! It is so very strange what carrying a baby does to our bodies and how different we all are!
      You are absolutely right though Claire, the most important thing by far is a healthy happy baby! xx

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  5. i think having a baby does crazy things to your body,period. for me the problem wasn't weight after my son being born, i lost that quite quickly, more genetics than anything else i think. my problem was my skin. the hormonal change in my body to produce milk sent my poor face into an acne crazed state, and i'm not exaggerating, it landed me with a hurried nhs appointment with a dermatologist and before long i was on a crazy strong drug to sort it out. i was devastated at the time because it meant i had to stop breast feeding, but my face had become that unbearably sore i couldn't sleep at night and washing my face with water felt like acid on my face. i knew caleb needed a happy mama, and if that meant bottle fed then that was what i needed to do. sorry to go off on a bit of a tangent, i guess what i'm trying to say is after birth i think we all have a bit of crisis of confidence, whether it be weight, skin, hair loss, scars, the list goes on!! whats important is knowing we have happy healthy babes, and be proud of our bodies (however broken ;) for producing them. that's the end of my novel!! oops sorry ;)

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  6. Give me the pictures of Jennifer Ellison over imogen any day. The pressure is ridiculous and everywhere. Im still a stone heavier than I was when I fell pregnant just over 3 years ago.

    Im more concerned that Jennifer Ellison has no shoes on in that picture!

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    1. HA! I cannot believe that I didnt notice her lack of shoes until you pointed it out!!! x

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