Learning to accept your postpartum jelly belly isn't easy. Mum of two Jana shares how she's trying to adjust to her new body and life with two kids in tow.
Motherhood nowadays feels pretty damn intimidating. You have all these #instamoms who seem to miraculously sprout abs just a few weeks after they’ve delivered their little miracles into the world. Not to forget the mum of multiples who looks like she’s barely out of her teens and not someone who’s had three kids. It feels like there’s pressure for us mums to catch up and literally suck it up and in so that we too, can look picture-perfect while pushing our Bugaboos.
Navigating your postpartum body
It’s OK to feel like you don’t look OK
In all honesty, the need to look like I’ve bounced back to my pre-baby body is something that I constantly think about. While working on fixing my diastasis recti, a very real medical condition that happens to women when the rectus abdominis muscles in the abdomen separate during pregnancy, my trainer points out that the diastasis recti problem I have is purely aesthetic. Because of my ab separation, I now have a little “pooch” that I can pinch generously. I’ve gone up two clothing sizes since giving birth for the first time and I can’t even come close to being my pre-baby weight.
“Your lower core muscles just need a little bit more work, but it’s minor,” she explained. “But I know you want to look great in a bikini, so let’s do this.” Now that I think about it, I’ve shelled out the same amount I would have spent on a designer bag on fixing the appearance of my abdominal muscles. Do I feel bad about it? Not at all. I think for once, I’m gonna do me. I know I’m probably not going to ever weigh 100 pounds again but I’d like to get back in shape, get stronger and healthier.
Coming to terms with my new figure
My sons, born less than two years apart, happen to love the softness of my belly. They love blowing raspberries into it and wrapping their arms around my torso, giving me vice-like hugs. They think it’s funny when I pinch my excess skin and make blubbering noises. My husband doesn’t mind my new curves. He says he loves them and shows it by constantly showering me with kisses. He also keeps on telling me I look great (as all awesome husbands do), so why do I still have this nagging feeling that I’ll never look the way I did before?
My new normal
I’m slowly starting to be OK with my figure. I’m beginning to realise that this is probably my new normal, and there are other more important things to worry about, like – what the heck am I going to cook for dinner? I keep on trying to be this super mum who’s a hands-on mum, a mum with a rockin’ bod and a mum with a great career. But that super mum doesn’t exist and will never exist beyond social media. Those Insta super mums probably have stylists, dieticians, nannies and personal trainers at their beck and call, not to mention photo-editing apps for their selfies.
It’s time we got real
In a world of instamums, super mums and their sparkle-filtered, picture-perfect version of motherhood, it’s time we got real. Let’s say goodbye to the illusion of postpartum six-pack perfection and focus on what really matters: the babies. So what if I never wear a size 2 or have to think twice about putting a bikini on? I’m working on becoming the best, healthiest and strongest version of myself that I can be for my family. And if that means I need to work out more and eat better – so be it. Everyone – regardless of whether they are mums or not – is just trying to be comfortable in and proud of our bodies. And that’s the truth.
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