I’ve seen quite a few people posting pictures recently of their mumbods.
That is, pictures taken wearing bikinis or underwear where women celebrate their changed bodies from childbirth.
This celebration, I hope, has been quite liberating for women to no longer hide behind our stripes but to wear them with pride.
I’m under no illusion that my body has changed forever. But, I’m yet to see a mum bod that’s like mine and that makes me disheartened.
I may have just missed them, but quite a lot of the #mumbods I’ve seen are from parents who have had months or even years for their bodies to recuperate after childbirth and quite rightly, they should be proud of what they look like. To me, they look model ready with their enviable invisible stretch marks. If I can replicate their efforts in the coming months, then I’d be pretty damn pleased with myself.
But what I’ve not seen is the #newmumbod, which is the stage that I’m at. My stretch marks are red and angry, my tummy at it’s floppiest and my belly button is seemingly now a cavern that could produce it’s own echo. Before leaving the house, I now make sure that my tops are long enough as heaven forbid I flash somebody a hip stripe and that they should know I’ve had a child.
I’ve paid the price of childbirth by swapping my pre-baby body for angry looking stretch marks on my tummy, around my hips and on my inner thighs as well as an extra stone in weight and I genuinely don’t mind this. Everything comes at a cost and Georgia is worth every stripe. But I’ve not quite plucked up the courage to wear anything that is shorter than my knees in order to hide away my stretch marks in public. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and I think it’s because it somehow feels like a shameful disfigurement that should be hidden at all costs.
Well, enough is enough. After the seeming revolution of the #mumbod, I’d like to take this a step further with the #newmumbod. If nobody makes the first step to show what a REAL #newmumbod looks like then other new mums, like me, may feel ashamed by their bodies feeling like they’re ‘not normal’ until months afterwards. At which point they are near to their pre-baby weight and their stretch marks begin to fade.
Georgia was a fairly big baby, born at 8lb 11oz and I was HUGE as you can see! I knew I was in for a stretch mark paradise after 20 weeks when I thought I was doing quite well only to be confronted by my midwife who said “oooh, your stretch marks are quite bad aren’t they”… From then on, each stretch mark seemed to gain a friend overnight and I now have enough for a party.
For full disclosure, here’s my side on view and I have to admit that I still don’t like what I see. At 7 weeks post birth, I still have about a stone to loose before I’m back to pre-baby weight, and it’s a big shock after losing a bump and gaining a baby to see what you’re left with. But for the time being, why should I wallow about what I look like? I carried a very adorable baby for 9 months and my body has that story written all over it.
I’m sure this is actually a much bigger issue about what’s deemed socially acceptable as you hardly ever see pictures of what people look like after giving birth UNLESS they lose the weight really quick and were lucky enough not to have a party of stretchmarks. In this case, they are often paraded in the public eye with headlines of “I lost my baby weight in X weeks”. You never see a mumbod in magazines that says “Flabby and fabulous”.
Us new mums, angry stretch marks and all, shouldn’t have to hide for shame of getting used to our new body weight and shape. I still feel obliged to hide myself under layers, but why should I? Why should I only feel confident enough to show off what I look like months after having a baby? Am I not good enough now? Of course I am – as every new mum should feel.
So, I’m going to work on my confidence and buy a pair of shorts that are shorter than my knees for the summer.
I hope I’m not the only one brave enough to bare all – if you’re a new mum, use the hashtag #newmumbod and take the stigma out of becoming a new mum and please leave a comment about your journey with your new mum bod. I’d love to hear yours!