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Gaz Beadle; back off the Post Partem body.

Firstly, I know how things can be sensationalised by the media, how things can be taken out of context, but I feel I need to voice this to you after what has been reported in the media in the last few days.

The archaic notion that just because we have given birth to the human we grew for 9 months that we should all be ‘bouncing back’ in the blink of an eye is just that, out of date. Whoever printed the first article of a celeb pictured in their skinny jeans 2 weeks after giving birth or told someone not to worry they will soon lose it needs a punch in the face.

Because, guess what? It doesn’t work like that and it never will. As much as people would like to pretend it does, it is a façade. And it is a dangerous one to portray to other mums. In the first days your body is recovering from a trauma, whether it be a vaginal birth or C Section your uterus needs to reduce in the exact same way. Some may have more trauma than others, some have their stomach go down more quickly than others. Everyone is different, no one has failed at this because it is not a competition or ‘easy’.

If you are breastfeeding then it is likely your diet is like that when you were pregnant, if you are not then it is likely you are so sleep deprived you haven’t got a clue what you are or aren’t eating. If you are? Well hats off to you but once again it is not a competition who can eat more vegetables in the first days after giving birth. (I ate many packets of biscuits sitting on the sofa watching Netflix FYI).
From an outsider who hasn’t given birth, who hasn’t had their body change over 9 months whilst they grew someone inside of them then it is easy for them to comment to say it is ‘easy’, to lose the weight. But, why does it matter? Why is it a race to suddenly be skinny? I am not skinny when I am not pregnant or when I have just given birth why should I suddenly be pressured to lose weight when I have just had my life completely transformed? It is dangerous, to plant the seed in the mind of a new mum that this is what she should look like, the more we talk about these out of reach goals of perfection post partem the more we will feel as though we have failed when we do not achieve them.
Because media tell me this is what I should look like? Society dictates it? Because my Instagram feed is filled with those ‘snapping back’, into shape as if they have coughed their kid out and are suddenly slim again?

What we need is time, we need time to adapt to our new role, we need time to accept our bodies again. With no outside pressures to do so.

Someone in my past once planted the seed regarding weight before, and it grew and grew, and it became an eating disorder. It is dangerous. It can affect lives in a devastating way.
I am 7 months post partem, I haven’t lost all my weight, but I also don’t want to. Am I lazy? No. Do I eat chocolate and takeaways and ‘hate’, on those who are slimmer than me? No.
If it makes you happy then well done.

But being in the public eye you have a responsibility, whether you posted that picture because you were happy and proud of your body that is fine. I believe everyone has the right to be proud and accepting of who they are but not at the expense of a whole nation of mums. You need to be mindful there are a lot of new mums, who are vulnerable who will look at that and feel like a failure. Not because they have done anything wrong but because they are not living up to the unrealistic idea of body image- a new mum’s body image. Who is to say what this even is?

There are so many things we are dealing with once we have given birth, a less than functioning undercarriage, a wobbly tummy, a sudden influx of hair growing from EVERYWHERE, acne, peeing when we laugh, deflating or inflating boobs- do we really need to add another one to the list? Hormones, mental state, the feeling of failure is rife in parenthood especially in those first months why the bloody hell, so I need to feel like I have failed at this too? Because I haven’t.
For 7 months I have battled PND, a fluctuating thyroid and kept two small humans alive I am just trying to get used to being a mum of two, I don’t want to be made to feel bad about what I look like doing it. (I am writing this currently and haven’t showered or brushed hair and I am in my PJS at lunchtime).

We are all in this together, trying to get through one sleepless night after the other. We are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, still in maternity pants months on, wearing thongs we are tucking our mum tums into our leggings, we are in bodycon, we eat biscuits for breakfast, we are healthy, unhealthy, have takeaways, given up takeaways, running, yoga, sitting watching Netflix but ultimately this is our choice in what we do and if we are just surviving the day to day drain does it matter?

The thing is, there is a great secret surrounding the time after we have given birth, as a society we have never really dared talk about it. But this is changing and there is a slow change of tide regarding transparency around the post partem experience. The walls are coming down and we are beginning to talk freely, some amazing brave people are posting pictures to smash down the notion of what we believe that this time should look like, what we should look like.
We need to learn to accept, embrace and support others in this time, to be honest, not to make them feel bad whether they have or haven’t lost weight. There should be no ‘hate’, or jealously on the subject; just honesty.

Perhaps when we are all a bit kinder, a bit more mindful, and a lot more honest regarding the pressure on the post partem body then we can begin to really make a difference in changing the picture-perfect notion of what is ‘normal’.

Because there is no one size fits all, no perfect image, just real life.


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