Being too focused on what our bodies look like after pregnancy and birth draws the spotlight away from what we have just achieved.
Here is a reminder of what our bodies have accomplished, and why, we shouldn’t be giving one f**k about those stretch marks.
Let’s break it down:
- You’ve grown a human (eyeballs, brain, heart, lungs, nervous system, reproductive organs, limbs, stomach, skin).
- You’ve provided a safe, comfortable environment for your baby to develop in. Your skin has stretched beyond belief, your joints and ligaments have loosened, and your own organs have shifted into places that you never thought possible.
- You’ve delivered your baby into the world. Whether your delivery was vaginal or by C-section, your body has just achieved something awesome!
Conclusion: You are a superhero, a creator of life, a Goddess.
So why do we spend time, money and energy in trying to remove any mark this event has left on our bodies?
I bought stretch mark cream the second I was pregnant. I smothered it on my stomach every day paranoid about discovering those purple lines.
I was so focused on what my body would look like during and after my pregnancy. I was terrified of getting a mum tum, saggy boobs, stretch marks, scars and god forbid, a baggy vagina. I spent more time thinking about that than I did marvelling at what my incredible body was actually doing.
I wanted my body to look the same after my pregnancy, to go back to how it used to be, and quickly. I saw so many images of women who had given birth and only 2 weeks later were back in their pre pregnancy clothes. I was Pintresting post pregnancy workouts like my life depended on it.
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I think society portrays an unrealistic image of what a post pregnant woman, a new mother, looks like. And a lot of women try to live up to this image.
There was considerable backlash against Kate Middleton for her post birth photograph, taken just hours after she delivered her son Louis into the world. She looked beautiful, immaculate, pristine.
I feel for Kate, she must have been exhausted and emotional but she had to stand there smiling and looking like ‘normal’ within a few hours of giving birth. Any sign of what she had just been through had been completely erased. Hidden from the press. Why? Why are we trying to hide the reality of childbirth? Why are we hiding the true image of a new mum?
Sadly, I didn’t celebrate my post birth body. I didn’t marvel at the changes, I hid away from cameras and couldn’t bare to look in the mirror. I did give a f**k.
So next time I’ll do things differently.
Not that I’m qualified to give advice, but I’m going to give it anyway; Instead of immediately trying to erase any sign of having grown, carried and delivered a human life, take time out to celebrate your wonderful body. Don’t wish away the changes, don’t rush to erase them, don’t be ashamed of them, don’t hate them.
Know what you have achieved, be proud of it, and don’t give a f**k.