When you’re pregnant, everyone looooooooves your body. After all, you’re carrying the miracle of life! People want to touch your bump affectionately, almost reverently, and they tell you that you’re glowing, simply thriving.
You feel at one with your child. Physically connected with a little life in a unique and special way, and you have the most important job in the world: growing and protecting that little life.
After you’ve had the baby though, it’s easy to look at that same body in the mirror and think… WTF.
Now, some people will tell you to love your postpartum body. To embrace the stretch marks and mum pouch, and the extra kilos that seem to have been superglued to your hips. I’m not here for that.
You don’t need to find your body beautiful in the state that it’s in after the trauma of giving birth, but you absolutely, 100% should respect the hell out of it.
Let me paint you a picture of the train wreck your body becomes when your baby literally rips his way out of your vagina and you’re left to try and clean up the mess, while simultaneously cleaning up his mess and enduring further damage (hello shredded nipples).
To put it bluntly, it’s bloody horrible.
You feel terrible. You haven’t been this sleep deprived since that Contiki tour you went on when you were 18, and you certainly don’t have the same stamina now as you did then.
You’re a confusing mix of swollen, sore, and numb from the carnage that’s just occurred, and the thought of doing a wee or god forbid, a poo, is completely terrifying.
If you’re like me, you have literally no control over your bladder at first. I couldn’t even tell if I was actually doing a wee, or if blood and fluid were just leaking out of me into the toilet bowl.
Then, just when you get a chance to get a few linked hours of sleep (mother nature has done us a kindness by making newborns sleepy during those first 48 hours), you’ll wake up to find that overnight you’ve had a back alley boob job performed by a teenage boy trying to fulfill a Pamela Anderson fetish. And they hurt.
You’ll look in the mirror at your now comical appearance and realise that you actually looked better when you were a nine month pregnant whale than you do now that you’re just a squishy pile of whale blubber with rock hard porn star breasts.
Now… if you’re currently pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant and I’ve just sent you sprinting to the 7-11 for a pack of condoms, here’s the beautiful truth of it:
YOU WON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK.
Really, you won’t.
Having a baby has a wonderful way of opening your eyes to all of the meaningless bullshit that used to cloud your vision. You have a new set of priorities, and your body has more important things to do than be aesthetically pleasing right now, like, sustain another human being’s life for example.
You will come out the other end of birth, physically demolished only temporarily, but mentally changed forever.
Your body has had “a day”. Birth is rough, to put it mildly, and once you’ve fulfilled that task, once your body has lived that truth, there is no going back.
There’s no “bouncing back”, or getting your “pre-baby body back”. Your pre-baby body hasn’t endured what your post-baby body has. That pre-baby body don’t know shit, whereas your post-baby body has SEEN SOME SHIT.
So in that first month, you’re just simply not going to care. You’re too busy googling things like “does my baby poo too much”, “how to get rid of haemorrhoids” and “how long can you survive without sleep”.
After I passed that first milestone though, and climatised to my new job as a human milk-machine, I started to rein in my eating (sadly, there was no more ice cream for dinner). I got back into a routine of being active, and I did eventually get back to a weight where I felt more like myself.
So mumma, wait until you’re ready. Wait until you’ve settled into that new mum life and you’re stringing together more than four hours of sleep. Only then should you let yourself worry about getting your body to a place where you feel confident, and more like YOU (whatever that looks like now). It may be after the first month, or six weeks like me, or it might be six months or even longer.
First though, let your body focus on the tasks at hand, healing and providing for your new little perpetually pooing, milk guzzling monster (read: bundle of joy).
Respect your body enough to give it some time to adjust to the new role before increasing its workload.
And don’t worry, the porn star boobs go away eventually.
Share this with a new mum who needs to read this.