I couldn’t not write this blog today without years and years of experiencing this very bold, harsh and not well thought out statement. Whether it’s from friends, family or clients… so here goes “I can’t wait to get my body back”. Have you heard someone say this to you? Or have you said it to yourself? and I’m not talking about reflecting on a younger more rejuvenated body, nope.. i’m talking POST PARTUM!!
I meet and speak with heaps of women each year who have recently had a baby and these words just slip out of their mouths with such resentment and hurt. In those first few moments I want to wrap my arms around them, then shake them vigorously to reflect their focus away from body shape and stretch marks to focus on healthy eating, self care, realising the journey they’ve been on and looking after and treasuring their newborn.
Now this may sound like i’m being a little harsh, I mean I’ve also said these few words to myself after my first baby. Being a young 21 year old in a turbulent relationship, I presumed my figure and looks were the only thing going to keep me sane. Goodness me if only I could go back in a time machine and have an hour with that young former self and give her some kind, loving and wise words. But, unfortunately I can’t as to date time travel isn’t accessible so I thought I’d express my message to you lovely readers.
Let’s start with some facts:
During pregnancy you will put on weight - your baby gains weight weekly, let alone the weight of your placenta, amnionic fluid and more vital functions that are developing…. ALL to help support your baby in growing healthily and happily…. HURRAH!!
Your body will start to store fat ready for you to feed your baby!! Shock Horror!! Our bodies automatically presume we are going to breast feed our babies so it prepares us for this wonderful event. I mean, having a built in perfectly heated, antibiotic milk supply on demand is heaven. How amazing is your body!!
You will store fat ready for baby’s arrival. Imagine functioning on little sleep with little fuel to get through sleepless night? You’d be no good to man nor beast. You’d feel completely drained, worn out and pretty out of it TBH So again, what a wonderful reserve system we have. Thank you body!!
Now imagine having a toddler and a newborn, you’ve had a row of sleepless nights and you need to go to the supermarket to get food. Your toddler insists you carry them and you are guiding the wonky trolley around the store. Not only does your brain need to focus, you need all the energy you can get to keep your wriggling toddler in your arms (This happened to me WEEKLY). So that extra fat you are storing provides you with the energy to accomplish such tasks/ days.
Stretch marks aka Tiger stripes - So imagine how awful it would be if your skin didn’t stretch during pregnancy. You’d probably feel extremely uncomfortable and want to peel your own skin off! Thank goodness our beautiful bodies do that for us AUTOMATICALLY.. how incredible is it that our bodies stretch our skin to accommodate our growing babies. And my friend, if I tell you that no matter how much oil, creams, lotions and potions you apply on your skin. If you are going to get stretch marks, you’re going to get them. Elasticity plays a HUGE role in whether you will get stretch marks or not. If you get them, they will eventually fade to silvery lines. Drink plenty of water, eat a well balanced diet of good fat, carbs and protein and look after you skin to assist on recovery.
So as you can see, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to post partum recovery. So next time you maybe thinking “I can’t wait to get my body back”, let me let you in on a little secret… it hasn’t gone anywhere! It’s been there supporting you from the inside out, it’s adapted and nourished your baby to grow healthily and happily in your tummy. It’s been on this remarkable journey with you, every step of the way completely covering your back ensuring you are supported and cared for.
Let’s all make a conscious effort to speak kindly to ourselves post partum. To embrace whats happened and to encourage ourselves to look after our bodies even more through this process. Move gently, flush your body with plenty of water (perfect for keeping your milk supply abundant), nourish and fuel your body, practice daily self care and everything else within your body will take care of itself… besides, as i’ve just shown you above.. your body is AMAZING and ALWAYS has your back.