Jared told me that title sounded like clickbait. But I’m actually sorry. After years of posting on social media I have a pretty clear idea of why I post and rules for what I do and don’t give the internet. It means I don’t second guess much and I don’t find myself deleting things because I don’t feel good about them.
But then the other day I squeezed back into my pre baby jeans, (just) zipped and buttoned them, and posted a boomerang as we left the house for lunch. “Back in my pre pregnancy jeans, *happy hands emoji*.”
It was a story and gone in 24 hours but something felt off about having had it up even for a day. You know what felt off? That post is not what I believe in. I succumbed to something, and I’m sorry.
Granted, fitting into your pre baby jeans is a great feeling, It’s part of the journey of the changing body of motherhood in the same way that not fitting into them 9 months ago was a huge joy I treasured, but that fact is not the one I want to celebrate or champion. It’s not the message I want to shout. (And let’s be really real, it’s a great feeling unless they’re squeezing in a bit more tummy that you had pre baby, in which case can we just be real, the maternity ones still feel better. So guys, full disclosure, 6 weeks on, today I wore stretchy maternity jeans, and I’m currently sitting on the sofa, in leggings.)
But that’s not why I regret the story. Yes I can fit back into them, but that fact is not the one I want to celebrate or champion. It’s not the message I want to shout. I’m sorry that thousands of people watched me celebrate size, cos that’s not who I am or what I want to celebrate.
Honestly, at my thinnest, I wasn’t my healthiest. And now I’m far from my skinniest, but I’m treating my body and my little baby with so much love. THAT is what I want to celebrate. That should be what we champion post part.
In reality, some people lose weight after their babies far too fast, from sickness, or from not loving themselves well. Some people don’t lose it fast enough, for the same reasons. Some people don’t need to lose any. Size, and how fast you can don those unforgiving, non stretchy jeans is not a measure of health, or of how you’re practically loving your body. And that’s why I’m sorry I celebrated it.
Truth is, for all that I say about loving your body, about that love for our bodies being practical as well as a feeling… I’ve had moments since birth when I’ve had to fight my mind.
Those lies, the ones I deep down know aren’t true… they can feel so real. I find myself asking why I still have a wobbly tummy, and telling myself I shouldn’t. I find myself comparing my body with new mom bloggers at a similar stage and telling myself I ate too much the last 6 weeks and if I hadn’t I could look like them. In my head I’m repeating that I’ve done this badly, I should have a different body body by now, I should have been more active. I shouldn’t have eaten in the night when I’m hungry from being awake nursing for hours… All condemning my body. All in a split second where I let my mind get persuaded by something other than truth. I know it’s not true. I know it’s not what I believe. I know I’ve loved my body well, relaxed, rested, healed, chosen to take this time really slowly and be with my family, to adjust, to fuel my healing with good food, and not worry about size. However much we believe something, it can get challenged and we can find contrary thoughts racing and echoing in our minds. I’ve had to be more diligent telling myself the truth about what I believe, and repeating it till I feel it again. My truth is this:
I don’t have a size I want to get back to. That’s actually the truth. I have a lifestyle I want to get back to, and I’ll take whatever size body that gives me. I don’t want to leave my babies for hours to work out, I don’t want to trade in family dinners for gym sessions. But I’m not saying I’m signing off and I don’t care any more. I care. Because I equally don’t want to sit on my butt, I don’t want to let my muscles waste, and I don’t want to eat the food my body doesn’t love. I don’t want to raise my children seeing their mum neglecting her physical health and fitness either, even in the name of being a good mother. I want to model all around physical and mental health. So I balance it. I’m going to find the time I need to work out well and feel great without my family needlessly feeling it. I’m going to fuel my body with the best nutrition, and still probably raw chocolate daily, and still red wine on date night and any other night I want! I’m going to let my body each day find its new normal.
It can be hard to fight the narrative of instagram, of social media, or people’s well intended comments to us or others, of the health industry. But health post baby isn’t about size. If we love our bodies well they’re going to find a perfect new equilibrium in time, which probably looks like loosing some weight, but that’s not a measure of health, and hitting a certain number alone isn’t the landmark to celebrate.
So I’m sorry. The milestones should be: I slept. I valued naps and stopped seeing them as weak. I asked for help when I needed it. I’ve said no when I felt overwhelmed. I told Jared I needed a nap. I booked a babysitter so I could rest and recover. I chose to sit with my family and eat long relaxed nourishing meals without thinking about what I was eating. I look in the mirror and speak kindly to my body, celebrating it, and believing the words I’m saying. I’ve genuinely found peace about not rushing this journey and not bowing to the ‘get my body back quickly’ ideals. And that genuinely is a milestone. That’s what I’m stunned by and I’m celebrating.
And for some non baby body related practical thoughts, I wrote a raw post on “What I Do When I Feel Fat”
– how to treat our bodies well, with love, and not react dramatically when we have those moments where we don’t feel perfect.