Beautiful Mama, you don’t have to bounce – you’re not a ball.
You are a creator of life, a partner in crime, a friend. You are so kind (sometimes to your detriment), and that smile? Man that smile is out of control!
Before you even finished primary school, you were exposed to what your body ‘should’ look like. Maybe from your mum and her own insecurities, maybe from TV, maybe from those kids that taunted you at school.
Those names cut deep. Even now – 10, 20, even 30 years later – you may still hold those names close to your chest.
In year two, Cameron Shephard taunted me every morning with the nickname, Fatty Miller.
I still remember how that felt, where I was standing, and the embarrassed looks from my friends who weren’t sure what to say. I remember trying to stand up for myself until eventually I gave up on it.
Those nicknames became my truth. Even as a 30-year-old woman looking at her post-partum body in the mirror, the nickname Fatty Miller stung like a bee.
It was part of my identity. I was fat as a kid and now I am fat as an adult. Every time I looked in the mirror I felt those words, that came from a punk kid.
I despised what I saw looking back at me.
Looking back on this post-partum experience now feels quite surreal. How could I hate this body that had just grown and birthed healthy children?
What I’ve learned about motherhood and body image on my journey of post-baby body acceptance and love?
My body was never the problem.
I didn’t hate myself because of the way that I looked. It was the way that I saw myself.
When you base your worth on what your body looks like, you are never going to feel satisfied. As a mama of a not quite 2-year-old and a newborn, I didn’t really know who I was, I certainly didn’t look like I used to.
I was finding my feet in this crazy new world and didn’t feel like I was doing a great job of much of it.
When it comes to motherhood and body image, we’re bombarded with images of what women and mothers should look like.
What we should aspire to and how to fit in to the mould. When you’re already feeling down on that post-baby body, just look left or right and you can feel instantly worse!
Next time you pick up a magazine with an incredibly attractive cover model (most likely with abs showing), check if there is a way to ‘get these abs’ or ‘lose the winter pouch’ or ‘get bikini ready’ on page 36.
The psychology is;
‘Hey you, yes you mama, with your post-partum body… Check out this chick you don’t look like …oh and we have the solution to your problem so buy this magazine’.
So, when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder, “Where the *&%$ did my abs go?” or, “When did I develop that extra lump or bump?” I want you to remember two things:
You are not defined by the way your post-baby body looks. Your body is a minuscule part of what makes you magical.
What do you hope your children will say about you at your 50th birthday party? That you managed to lose 10kg in 10 weeks, even though you were so consumed by your diet you couldn’t focus on anything else?
Or that you showed them that good health was key to a good life, and that looking after your body needs to come from place of love and respect? Because sometimes, it’s more important to go out for ice cream than worry about the calories in it.
I don’t want my children to hate their bodies the way I hated mine.
Hating our bodies is now the norm for women (and men) across the globe. How can you possibly look after something that you despise?
But I know it’s not me telling my children that their body is perfect that will make the difference. I need to role model that my body deserves to be looked after like the warrior that it is. It deserves love and demands respect.
If you knew tomorrow was your last day on this planet, how would you spend your time? I bet ‘bouncing back’ gets pushed down a few notches.
The journey to post-baby body-love is long and it’s bumpy but I can tell you, as a reformed body loather and yo-yo dieter it is possible. And boy, is it refreshing.
Once I started accepting and loving my body, incredible things happened. I finally stopped battling my weight, emotionally and physically. I stepped off the sidelines and I started living.
So, next time you wonder what happened to that pre-baby body, remember that she discovered her superpower of growing life. If she has a few extra jiggly bits and a soft tummy, all the more fun for belly dancing and snuggles with your loves.
It’s not her body that is the problem. It’s the way we see her.
So beautiful lady, next time you hate on yourself remember that that body of yours – that wicked vessel that takes you through life – is so much more than how it looks. Make a choice to love the body you are in right now, as you are today and watch the magic happen.
– Guest article by Kate McGill
Have you joined Mama Tribe yet? SIGN UP HERE (Membership is free.)
About Kate McGill
Kate is a Health Coach & Nutritionist.
She works with women to discover why they know what to do for their health but still don’t do it.
Frustrated by her own journey of diets & weight loss & weight gain, Kate found the key to let it all go and make peace with food & her body.