I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment. For various reasons I’ve decided that the pressure to lose the baby weight is ridiculous, outdated and unfair on new mums.
We have enough to worry about after a baby. Important worries include are they feeding enough? Are they healthy? Are they happy? Am I doing OK? Do I feel like I’m coping or do I need support?
Am I losing weight is NOT classed as important I’m afraid. Nor should it be.
However, I am not stupid and know first hand that this is an issue for a lot of mums.
We’re taught to hate our post-baby bodies. It seems to be culturally accepted that we should want to get back to the way we were. There are hundreds of videos of how to exercise. With your baby. So that you literally have no excuse not to do it. We’re told that you can do it in only 10 mins a day. Or that you just need to follow one diet or another and the pounds will drop off.
It’s so easy that any (read every) mum should aim and be able to lose the baby weight. As quickly as possible. We receive the message again and again that we are only good enough if we are ‘slim’ mums.
And so, if we decide not to lose the weight, are we condemning ourselves to a lifetime of hatred for our post-baby bodies? A lifetime of believing that we aren’t good enough because we aren’t as thin as we could be? Is it either that we lose weight and are allowed to feel good or that we don’t and should be dissatisfied with the way we look forever?
I call bullshit on this.
You see something that I’ve realised after three kids and a whole lot of body dissatisfaction is that it is all in my head. Yes, there is a lot of pressure and expectation around losing the baby weight but I’m the one who let’s myself be affected by this.
I’m the one who buys into all that shit we’re sold that it’s really easy to lose weight so I should be able to do it. I’m the one who starts diet after diet or searches high and low for exercise videos that I never do. Or accepts that the ultimate goal in motherhood is to be a mother yet look like I haven’t had a baby.
I’m the one who thinks that I’m not good enough at 5 months post baby because I’m still in stretchy jeans. Because I’ve bought into all the crap that’s out there about how I should want to be a ‘thin’ mum. That I should value myself only when I get back to a ‘pre-baby’ state.
Well, fuck that. Life is too short to believe that I’m not good enough just because I haven’t yet lost the baby weight. Having spent two post natal periods being miserable trying to lose the baby weight I decided that this time round, things were going to be different (read about that in Why I refuse to lose the baby weight so I can just enjoy being me).
So I found another way
I’m a coach and NLP trained so I know the importance of language, beliefs and positive thinking. I know that it’s possible to shift negative beliefs about your body. To build confidence and self esteem, whatever you weigh. I began to put what I know into practice. To change the way I think about my body rather than try to change my body itself.
And you know what, it works. I no longer worry about whether I will lose the baby weight. I don’t need to. I’m fine as I am (and you can read about 5 ways to love your post baby body just as it is). Baby weight, saggy stomach, stretch marks and all.
But the best bit is this – I’m taking what I know and making it available to other women too. I want every mum out there to know there’s another way. That they don’t need to lose the baby weight to feel good. That I can help them learn the tips, tricks and techniques I used to begin to love my post-baby body.
I’m starting a one woman revolution so that every new mum out there can ignore the pressure to lose the weight and just focus on what’s really important. Being a mum.