We’ve all seen photos in newspapers and magazines of celebrities who snapped right back to their pre-pregnancy size after giving birth. Victoria Beckham, Billie Faiers, Katie Price… Or did they? They were probably wearing Spanx underneath each of their carefully chosen outfits, prepped and primed ready for that postnatal £1million photo shoot in that glossy magazine, not to mention having an army of make up artists at their disposal to perfectly contour their face to make them appear gorgeous and glowing. Then, when the shoot was over and done with, they probably went home, showered and took off all their make up, pulled on a pair of slouchy pants and a comfy jumper, and snuggled up with their newborn on the couch. We’re not saying anything about the above is wrong, it just makes us regular mums feel a bit, well… frumpy. And that’s why we’re writing this article.
The thing is, just as every pregnancy is different, every baby is different, every woman will recover from pregnancy and birth too. The thing pretty much every woman will notice, regardless of her shape or size is that her tummy just after delivering will be soft, squishy, jiggly. And believe us, that’s okay! That’s perfectly normal. Think of it this way: when you blow up an inflatable paddling pool or toy, it inflates slowly. Then when you take the stopper out, the air leaves the inflatable slowly, making it appear baggy, loose and not as full. It’s the same as your tummy when you’re pregnant and then when you give birth. Your tummy was super hard and firm at the end of your pregnancy, the skin stretched and taut. Now your baby has been born and the skin is still stretched, but there’s nothing in there for it to stretch over. The skin doesn’t snap back automatically. It didn’t grow overnight, it took time, so expect the same to happen in reverse after you give birth.
Again, we’re not saying that it doesn’t happen. There are women who are back in their size ten jeans in two weeks and that’s absolutely fine. Like we say, every woman is different. There are factors present in how you recover after you give birth such as your pre-pregnancy size and shape, how fit you were beforehand, how active you were during your pregnancy and whether it is your first baby or not. The ‘eating for two’ thing is a myth. You don’t need to eat for two at all, and if you do eat for two the minute you discover you’re expecting then don’t be surprised if you put on a hefty amount of weight that you struggle to shift after you give birth. Celebrities usually have personal trainers, luxury gym passes and a plethora of organic and wholesome fresh meals available to them. Part of their job is to look good, and that’s why they look flawless in magazines. It’s not your job to look flawless. Nobody’s scrutinizing you. The only thing you need to worry about is looking after yourself and your baby, and creating that bond which is so important.
As long as you eat right, lots of fruit and vegetables, wholesome breads and potatoes, pulses, and the odd treat here and there, then you should be fine when it comes to a slow and steady weight loss. Breastfeeding helps massively, but if you are bottle feeding then don’t worry about it, the weight will drop off as long as you eat a balanced diet and keep moving as soon as you get the all clear to start getting up and about. Don’t worry about that dark line you suddenly acquired either running down the middle of your tummy. That will fade over time. It’s simply where the muscles in your stomach separated to allow for your growing baby, and it’s a completely normal process. One thing to keep telling yourself is that you’ve done an amazing thing, you’ve grown a human inside you and given birth to a whole new life, which is wonderful. Yes, women do it every day but it doesn’t make it any less special. Just bear in mind that whilst you will eventually lose the weight you put on, you may not go back to exactly the same shape. You may reach your pre-pregnancy weight, but you may find the curves of your thighs are different, the way you look in leggings or skinny jeans may change, or your breasts might not be as firm. The stretch marks you’ll no undoubtedly have don’t matter either. They may look alarming but they’ll fade. You must tell yourself though, and believe it, that you’re beautiful, your baby is beautiful, what you’ve been though is beautiful, and as long as you and your child are healthy, a few pounds here and there don’t matter in the slightest.