Post-Baby Perfect?

Our fourth Love Mum-Body guest is the wonderful Circus Queen, Adele, on how our mum bodies are judged and described, 'post-baby'.

Because post-baby, flaunting and snapping back aren't my reality...

           squidged tum

 You counted the pounds that Kendra Wilkinson and Jessica Simpson gained in pregnancy (60 and 70 respectively, so you said). You gushed over Alessandra Ambrosio's “post-baby” body a mere two months after she gave birth.

You praised Beyonce for losing 60 pounds in six months and admiringly informed me that she was off all over the place, “flaunting” her slimmed down body. Flaunting. As if a woman's body is something to be performed.

You accused Aishwarya Rai of not doing her duty to India by letting maternity change her body. She's still beautiful and I had to laugh. You made it so obvious then that you think our bodies are public property. Your property in our hands, with a money-back guarantee on how it should all appear.

looking down on tumI look at my naked body in the mirror. Ha. Had I been in your gaze you'd want your money back. You'd probably taunt me for not “snapping back”. You know, like you said you thought Jennifer Garner had done as you scrutinised the wind blowing a baggy top around her. You know, when you stared to see where the lines of her tummy were, as if that's not weird? As if it's not weird to stare like that?

My muscles and organs were being rearranged after my daughter was born. My perineum was healing. My daughter was, still is, a year on, attached to me. Where does “snapping” anything fit into all of that?

My belly is soft, squidgy and round. It's flattened somewhat but the skin... The skin is wrinkly and loose. It's stretch-marked. It will always remember the place where my body expanded to grow a baby, that part of me where I gave someone life. I look at this human being. She smiles, makes jokes, explores the world and demands more of me than anyone else ever has.

belly buttonThis is probably why I don't get what you mean when you toss around the phrase “post-baby”, as if the baby has gone off somewhere and we should look and be unchanged. As if that's something any mother can possibly be. As if that's something we should be aspiring to be.

She has changed me completely. She has set me free. I have gone from wishing I could afford breast reduction surgery to marvelling at my breasts' beauty because they nourish and comfort my baby. They are not the shape or size you say they should be or even where you say they should be.

Sometimes that bothers me but mostly I don't have the time to think about it much. I don't know how many pounds I weigh. I don't always shave my legs. I've forgotten what you said my thighs are supposed to look like.

It's not that I don't care about my looks. I just refuse to obsess anymore, or at least not as much. I'm too busy doing things I care about like mothering, praying, reading, working, having sex or catching up on sleep.

 

About Love Mum-Body

This month on story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it, and claim it for yourself.

If you want to have a go with a gang, you can join a 'make date' in Canada on 14 July with @hisveganmama or our twitter 'make date' using #somum from 8.30 - 9.30pm BST (world times here) on 25 July.

Read some more of our Love Mum-Body blog posts:

My Body Is... Pippa Best @storyofmum

My Mom-Body in Poetry: Sonya Cisco @sonyacisco

Honouring all our Mama-Bodies: Lyndsay Kirkham @hisveganmama

I Earned My Stripes: Becky Gower @mummyadventure


AdeleJK's profile

Public profile
Writer, breastfeeding peer supporter, displaced Trini, mother, wife & Christian. I blog about natural parenting, feminism and other geekery at Circus Queen.

Comments

My tummy

Love this, although my story is going to be a little different as you will see when I post it

Great post

Love this Adele, and you are so right x

Post baby body

Great piece. If you could share how you find time to have sex that would be great! On a serious note, I am shocked by the pressure, though I guess I shouldn't be that women continue to be under after such a life/body changing experience. I have no idea what I weigh, I have a round flabby stomach regularly kneaded by my 20 month old, my breasts are better than they have ever been due to bf still and I shave my legs if I remember/can be bothered. What matters most to me is being the best mother I can.

Well I don't find as much

Well I don't find as much time as I'd like! The pressure on women while in such a fragile state is just unreal. I now regard the idea of "having it all" with such negativity because of how the media has interpreted it.

Beautifully written Adele.

Beautifully written Adele. Just like you.

THIS is reality

I love this. I can add nothing, nor can I agree more with you. My body is not "perfect". What is "perfect" anyway? I have grown two human beings, they are now nearly 11 and nearly 6. They are individuals who make me laugh, cry, rage and burst with love and pride every day. I grew them within my body. My body is miraculous. That is perfection.

I love that sentence: My body

I love that sentence: My body is miraculous. Yes. Yes, it is.

You are absolutely right. I

You are absolutely right. I am currently working on a magazine article that looks at women during the 3 months after birth and believe me, it wasn't easy to find someone who was happy to have their picture taken post birth. It's crazy that so many women think that what celebrities present is the real life.

The thing is, celebrities pay

The thing is, celebrities pay for that kind of weight loss in more ways than one. I felt so sad reading around for this post about celebs who were giving up breastfeeding because they felt that they needed to diet unhealthily. Some celebrities are pushing back against unrealistic expectations, though. We need to see a lot more of that.

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