Coming to Terms with My Post Natal Body

my post natal body

When the idea of getting pregnant was at concept stage, I didn’t really think too much about the affect it would have on my body. Sure I’d have a few stretch marks – but cocoa butter will sort that out… right?

I think to a certain extent it’s not something women talk too much about, to women without children anyway.

I was in no way prepared for the difference, I was in no way prepared for a c section either, but I guess life’s just like that.

I am now 15 months post birth from my second child and nearly 2.5 stone down in weight. Actually, if you want to look at the weight I reached just before I gave birth I’m nearly 4 stone down from there. And, I have finally had to to admit my body will never, ever be the same and let’s be truthful about this not in a good way either.

I’m not here to be negative and I love the posts from women who embrace the change in themselves and the ‘tiger stripes’, they’re absolutely fantastic. Would I change my life for the world? No, my children are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. But my body, has born the brunt of growing them.

I look at my husband at the moment and he the fittest he has ever been. After putting on weight after giving up smoking before our first child was born, he has now lost all of that weight. He runs or cycles almost daily and has a rigorous pull-up/chin-up routine to build his upper body strength. Quite frankly at 38, he looks fantastic and has the start of a six (maybe a 4) pack. In fairness, it is a physique born of dedication and a complete diet change. He deserves it.

But, if I were to have the time to workout as much as he does (which I don’t), my body will never be that good.

Let’s talk about the changes. I guess the worst is my stomach. After bearing a 10 and an 11lb baby (no those aren’t typos), it’s pretty riddled with stretch marks which are fortunately slowly fading. But as my stomach shrank back down after birth and as I continue to lose weight my skin has lost some of its elasticity. Which means particularly around my belly button, I have loose, saggy areas, that look a bit like a deflated balloon.  After two c-sections, for which I have separate scars because my first was so ragged due to its emergency nature the surgeon couldn’t reuse it for my second one, I also have an overhang. It is getting smaller as I loose weight, but from a lot of reading I have done I will probably never loose this, particularly as I have loose skin, without surgery. I can cope with the scars they don’t really phase me, but I hate the overhang. I also seem to store more weight on my stomach, I am a total apple in shape, but as my legs are getting slimmer I do think sometimes that I look like I’m pregnant.

Finally, my boobs, after breastfeeding two babies nearly for 11 months each they have lost some of their buoyancy. I am ok with them getting a bit smaller because they were pretty enormous to start with.  At the height of my breastfeeding I moved into H territory so it is a relief for them to be a bit smaller, but they are sadly less bouncy and full than they were before and desperately need an under wire bra to give them a lift.

None of these things can be changed my exercising more or losing weight, they can be made to look better and I am most definitely working on that, but if I want to take them back to their pre-pregnancy look I would need to have surgery, which I am not prepared to do. I know what the pain of a c-section is like, why would I put myself through that voluntarily for a tummy tuck?

This is what I am slowly coming to terms with, this is my body, you only get one and this is what it will look like – give or take weight loss and gain for the rest of my life. For bringing two amazing children into this world, my body has paid the price. It was not a price I realised I was going to pay, but it is one I pay with love for them. It makes me feel insecure at times, but I no longer hate it, it is what it is. I doubt even if I won the lottery I would have the surgery to correct it. Do I have moments on envy that my husband doesn’t have to worry about these body insecurities and how drastically his body has changed since we were married? Of course. When I talk to him he tells me it doesn’t matter. I wonder if I will ever be brave enough to wear a bikini again, at the moment the answer is hell no, but maybe this will change.

As much as I love the posts of the women embracing the changes in their body, and I love them I really do. I also think it’s ok to admit you’re overwhelmed by the changes too. That the changes take some getting used to and can really take you by surprise.

A Cornish Mum

Domestic Momster

32 thoughts on “Coming to Terms with My Post Natal Body

  1. What an amazing honest piece of of writing. I always say as a mum I would cut off my hand if need be for my children. You have given them part of yourself. You will always be you inside and out. I am glad you are coming to terms with your inner demons. Lots of luck with any further weight loss, you have done so well.

  2. Laura I could have written this. I have the same overhang which depresses me endlessly. I actually noticed it in a shop window yesterday, first time that’s happened.
    My husband is also mega fit and the fittest he’s ever been with the 6 pack. Apart from grey hair he even look younger.
    I am considering the tummy tuck, only put off by the pain. My husband supports me doing it I just don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough .x

    1. I hate the overhang so, so much. I know you have spoken about a tummy tuck before, you are very brave if you do and actually if you want to write about it for this blog and share your experience I would love that. I think it is also just nice to know we’re not that only ones that feel like this.

  3. Laura, like Claire, this piece describes me perfectly! I also had two c-sections and with my youngest my stomach muscles separated too. I have closed the gap and have been given the ok by my physio to start swimming and then running if all goes ok but, I do still look pregnant! That and the overhang are what gets to me! Hopefully with a bit more exercise it might improve but I expect the gap will never completely close and therefore I expect to have ‘a bulge’ for ever more! X

    1. It’s a lot to come to terms with isn’t it? And unexpected too I think? I am lucky in that I didn’t have my stomach muscles separate that must be tough and it’s one of those things exercise can improve but cannot fix. Children are most definitely worth it, but it takes a while to come to terms with.

  4. Laura- you hit the nail on the head. I was happy with my body for many years and then suddenly after becoming a mum everything changed. I’ve always called the stretch marks and other changes….trophies of motherhood and that’s how I’ll continue to see them. Thanks for sharing. I loved this piece! Well done

    Angela xx

    1. Thank you Angela 🙂 I just wanted other Mums to know it’s ok to feel like this really. Your babies are worth it, but it takes a while to come to terms with the changes x

  5. I’m in two minds about his post. On the one hand, since I havent had a baby, I don’t know how I would/ will feel after. Especially considering I have body issues of my own. That part of me doesn’t know if I should give my input.

    On the other hand, I want to tell you that you’re beautiful. I met you before you started losing weight and I thought you were beautiful then. The ‘mama belly pooch’ be damned, you’re still pretty. Many woman who haven’t been pregnant have stretch marks and bellies (myself included). Heck, a few weeks ago while I was on the tube, men kept giving me their seats so I could sit down. Apparently the particular dress I was wearing made me look pregnant. ????

    I say embrace the one piece or tankini. Bikinis are over rated, not to mention, you have to put on more sunscreen.

    Also, you do eventually get used to only being able to wear bras with an underwire (#Bigboobproblems). There are some that come with padding around the wire so they don’t dig in so much.

    You’re beautiful. Please try and remember that. ☺️

    1. Thanks you what a lovely comment, thank you so much. I am indeed embracing the one piece and I have people offer their seat to me when I’m not pregnant too lol. Although I tend to embarrassedly refuse, maybe I should just take the seat and be grateful! xxx

  6. Thanks for writing this. I have read other blogs about how some women embrace their bodies more after childbirth. I’m happy for them but I don’t share those feelings unfortunately. I’m lucky in that my body is still reasonably OK, but it’s not the same and we need to be honest about that.

    1. Thank you Min yes I am pleased for the women that can embrace the changes in their body, it’s fantastic, but as you say it is also ok to struggle with it too and be honest about those feelings x

  7. This post is all so true. Women don’t realise the affect that pregnancy has on their bodies until they go through it and see the after effects. It isn’t pleasant and like you I admire the women who embrace those changes I really do. But that isn’t me. I have never been able to embrace the changes to my body after going through two pregnancies. And it is OK to feel that way, it is a massive change and sometimes it will take years to get used to…. maybe forever (I think I am in the forever zone!)

    Fab post lovely and it is nice to read a honest view on post natal bodies.

    Gemma xxx

    1. Thank you Gemma. I had absolutely no idea the impact it was and like you I think it is great the women that embrace the changes but I also think it’s ok to say wow this is a bit daunting too. I hope to be more accepting, I’m not I’ll ever love my overhang!

  8. Thank you for such an honest post. You body changes after pregnancy – fact. The media does nothing to make us mortal women feel good about the miracles our bodies have gone through and instead celebrates skinniness and starvation as a way to get back to a pre-baby body.
    We should be proud of what we’ve created, and accept the physical brunt as simply the evidence that we’ve achieved something amazing. X

  9. Thank you for this post. It’s a fact that our bodies change after having a baby, but modern media makes us believe that this is something we can challenge if we eat less and engage a personal trainer.
    We should instead celebrate what we’ve gone through and what we’ve created. It is as you say, a small price for the amount of love we create when we give birth to those tiny miracles. X

    1. Thanks for your comment Laura. Yes you’re right the media does fill us up of images of women who have ‘bounced back’ and look amazing in seconds. I am so very proud of my children, and I am slowly accepting my body will never the same because of them, but that’s ok x

  10. It is so ironic that you wrote this post Laura because I was thinking about writing basically the same post this morning. There are so many going around now about loving your post-baby body & like you I think that’s amazing! But, I’m just not there. I’m not happy with mine, especially my belly. I too had big babies & breastfed for a year each x 3 kids & the result is not great lol But also like you, I wouldn’t change a single thing for the world!! #momsterlink x

    1. Yes my belly is my pet hate too Becky. I think it is amazing so many women are embracing their bodies, but I don’t always think like that and that’s ok too, I wouldn’t change it because of my babies but it is ok to find it hard x

  11. Great post Laura!I found I lost the weight quite easily the first time but after my 2nd and then the c-section with my 3rd I just can’t seem to shift more than a stone and I hate catching sight of myself in shop windows as my bottom half always seems bigger than the top.I’d really love to embrace it but I don’t think I ever will x #picknmix

  12. Great post! Once we can accept our bodies for the amazing feat they accomplished, we are nicer to ourselves. Yes, it is overwhelming, especially if you were once fit and now are not. Bikinis aren’t everything – it is the going to the beach that’s important. I think our focus changes, and so we learn not to worry about our own imperfections when we are watching our perfect babies heh.

    1. You’re right bikinis really aren’t everything and I wasn’t a huge fan beforehand but still. In my head one day I might look amazing in one lol. But yes our focus does change and we are centred around raising our children instead.

  13. This has made me feel so much better. I didn’t have a c section, but I was huge during my pregnancy and I have really struggled with the loose skin and overhang on my tummy (and the effects of a 3rd degree tear) – made worse by the fact everyone told me it would go- I grew a baby for 9 months so I’ve got 9 months for it to get back to normal. Arthur is now 8.5 months and my body is nowhere near back to ‘normal’. I know deep down it never will be. Your honesty makes it a little bit more easy to (I want to say ‘stomach’ but that’s a pun too far I think!) take in and accept X

    1. Lol go with the pun I don’t mind. I think sometimes unfortunately our bodies just don’t go back to how they were before. Becoming a mother has forever changed them and it’s hard I am still coming to terms with it x

  14. Love this post. Some days I’m ok with my body and others I’m really not! I too find it hard that my partner has not had to go through anything physically it seems so unfair. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

    1. Men will never ever get it will they which is why I am so grateful for other mums, my husband in fairness tries but it is hard to be a little resentful sometimes that very little has changed in their bodies, but at the same time they do not get the bond that mothers have I guess.

  15. At the age of 42 I have just finally embraced the fact that I am never going to be skinny and I just don’t feel like killing myself to try to get back to what I was before I had babies. I too had 3 C sections with babies all weighing close to 10 pounds. It really does change your bodies natural ability to lose weight…well that and being over 40. I just want to eat right and exercise to be healthy and feel better. Great honest post Laura…thank you for sharing with #momsterslink.

    1. Thanks Trista, yes I am losing weight to be healthier and I too want to eat right and set a good example for my children in that respect but I know my body will not be the same as it was and it’s just fact x

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