A blog by Team MUTU’s Kay.
I’ve always been the petite girl. Even in school, I’d have insults hurled at me in gym class from girls my own age and I’d dread getting my ‘sparrow like’ legs out and into gym shorts.
“She must be anorexic…”
“You’re such a stick insect…”
“Do you make yourself sick to stay that thin?”
Nothing really changes when you become an adult and even less so when you become a mom, because, let’s not forget, ladies, when you’ve a bun in the oven or you’ve just given birth, it’s the green light for EVERYONE to comment on your appearance, right? ;-)
In the weeks after giving birth to Henry, I lost count of the amount of times I heard the phrase “Makes you sick, doesn’t it?” from family, friends and even complete strangers about my perceived “snapped back” post-baby body, when all I really wanted was a hug and for someone to ask how I was feeling about this crazy, new, sleep deprived, baby poop covered, caffeine fuelled world I’d just entered.
I’ve thought about this alot and I can see how it looks from the outside. I’m a mom who didn’t put on lots of weight during pregnancy. I kept going with my regular gym class, I walked every single day until I was induced, I ate as well as I could before and during my pregnancy (apart from the first 12 weeks, when literally anything I could keep down was scoffed at any time of day or night, including ridiculous amounts of rich tea biscuits).
And then I gave birth and had the postpartum tummy pooch that every mom has, but it’s slowly gone down, leaving loose jelly-like skin that’s only noticeable to me, my husband and Henry.
So on the outside, all looks great. I must be fine, right?
While I’m continuously being told, I’m “one of those annoying people that just bounces back”, I’m navigating my own body healing journey and I’m struggling. Just because I’m small and weight has never been a huge issue for me, it doesn’t mean that everything is fine.
My baby was a big boy at birth, weighing in at 9lbs 7oz, he got stuck on his way out… (No surprises there) and the birth for me was worrying, traumatic and I’ve never felt so out of control. But I did it, and I have a beautiful boy and I am so very lucky. But the lasting effects from birth (emotionally and physically) were horrible.
I’m 3 months postpartum and I’m still getting to grips with my post-baby body. I haven’t been able to resume the exercise I loved so much before having Henry. Things don’t feel right and I’m taking things slowly to make sure I can heal properly. But I’d kill to be able to go for a run or to join my friends back at class again without causing further damage. I only recently plucked up the courage to have sex again, when many moms can jump right back in between the sheets, pain free, weeks after birth.
Being skinny (I hate that word) doesn’t make me any less of a mother and it doesn’t make my postpartum healing journey mean any less than anyone else. My body shape doesn’t define me, just like any other body shape, athletic, curvy, big, small, tall, short, doesn’t and shouldn’t define any woman.
Believe it or not, appearing to be ‘back in shape’ is not the only goal women want to achieve after having a baby. I’m starting with getting a body that functions as it should, feels right and works properly. How can you measure that? You can’t see it from the outside, it’s not something that comes with a dress size or a label. It’s personal and goes unnoticed.
Shouldn’t we just give all women a hug every once in awhile, no matter their size, and just tell them how much of an awesome job they’re doing?
To quote something I keep seeing doing the rounds on Instagram… “Real women are whatever the heck they wanna be. Plus-size, petite, short, tall, strong, curvy…”
The body-shaming of anyone, any size is not okay. Let’s start lifting each other up and recognising that there might be more going on underneath and to never assume all is okay just because of a dress size.