This wonderful post by Karran from @themamaedits is a fabulous read and full of some great advice to help you find your style in those first crazy new moments of being a mum. Thank you for letting us repost this here!
There comes a moment after every woman gives birth, whichever way the baby made its arrival, when they stop and assess the damage. While some may escape near enough completely unscathed and look like they haven’t just spent the last 40 weeks growing a human, for many of us it is a moment we have been dreading. A moment that perhaps we have been putting off or have just been too wrapped up in our bubble of love and nappies to think about or even care, but just like your baby, arrive it will. Eventually it’s time to look in the mirror and (if you’re brave enough) step on the scales.
It can be scary losing complete control of your body, literally not being able to do anything as you watch your body drastically change. If, like me, you spent months religiously rubbing Bio Oil into every inch of skin (twice a day) that first time when you look at your body properly can be extremely daunting and feel like a reversed episode of Ten Years Younger.
Many women most probably don’t like what they see, many others will be pleasantly surprised and will do a little exhale of relief when you realise it is nowhere near as bad as you thought. Whichever outcome you find yourself at you will most likely still find yourself confronted with a body you no longer recognise and wondering how long it will be until you can get back into your old jeans.
The first time I stopped to survey the damage I was wearing my boyfriend’s old boxer shorts, a nursing bra which was too big for me and had some sort of pad attached to every leaking hole in my body; including a soggy maternity pad stuck to a cesarean wound which wasn’t healing as well as it should; I hadn’t really been aware of the full extent of the damage until the bloodied dressing had been removed.
I stood there and inspected, poked and prodded at my rock solid misshapen boobs, my baggy belly and my bloodied, bruised and weeping cesarean wound with my partner looking on, knowing exactly what was coming next:
‘Do you still fancy me?’
‘Of course I do darling… Don’t be stupid…’
‘But I look like an episode of Botched Up Bodies!’
And I did, and I cried and then we laughed… Of course he still fancied me, I was a bit (a lot) of a mess but I was bound to be… I’d already decided long before that I wasn’t going to get hung up on my post pregnancy body, I’d known for a long time that I was going to have a cesarean, I’d googled the pictures, I knew what to expect, but nothing really quite prepares you for the body that looks back, it’s not the body you’ve had for the last nine months, it’s not the body you had before but now it’s yours.
Anyone who has had a baby will know that cooking pretty much goes out of the window in the first few weeks and together you survive on convenience food, take aways and dinners that can be assembled quickly by stabbing a few holes in some packets and whacking them in the microwave – and that is okay, priorities have shifted.
For the first month or so we survived on crisps, sandwiches and what we called a ‘Ploughmans’ but really it was just pate, bread and chunks of cheese with a slathering of Branston’s Pickle.
After about three weeks I realised that I had actually been putting on weight since having my daughter, not losing it like I was supposed to, not masses, but it was slowly creeping on. I was already feeling pretty deflated after the botched cesarean and this realisation made me feel even worse so I decided to do something about it. I knew that going to the gym was unlikely and I knew that I could easily improve my diet, but I needed an interim fix, so I sat and thought about what what I could do about it in the short term. I had a mini mum overhaul and the difference it made in my outlook was huge. As silly as it may sound, by making a few changes and thinking about ‘me’ as a priority made me feel like I had won a small war where I had regained (some) control of my body.
You may not need, want or care to do any of the following, but for some, like me, it might help you just begin to feel a little bit like yourself again and less like a leaky hormonal milk vessel.
So these are my tips for a mini mum makeover:
1. Buy new jeans, chuck (or hide) your old ones, stop lusting after them; they do not matter.
There is an unspoken challenge amongst mums which is called ‘I can get my old jeans back on, can you? I bet you can’t.’ And it is basically designed to make new mums feel better about themselves while making other mums feel worse. I didn’t even bother trying my old jeans on, but I didn’t want to be flopping around in maternity jeans or leggings, so I bought new ones, cheap ones, but it was a way for me to not be pining after my old body and, after all, why beat yourself up about the fact that you can’t get in a pair of old jeans?
2. Get a decent bra.
Whether you like it or not, your boobs will be different, perhaps not even noticeably but the size and shape of them will have changed somewhat; get yourself measured properly and go buy a couple of new ‘nice’ bras. Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money as they will probably change size again in the coming months and even if you only invest in one, just wearing a bra that fits properly can change the entire shape of your body and lift more than just your spirits.
3. Get some support pants.
Don’t go mad and buy a full Spanx body suit, just some control pants with light support will do, your body has been through enough without wedging it into the world’s tightest knickers, however, underwear with some support will make your stomach feel supported (especially if you’ve had a caesarean) and clothes will be more comfortable and better fitted.
4. Get a mum uniform.
Trying to find clothes that you feel comfortable in after having a baby can be difficult; your body may be an entirely new shape that you have no idea how to dress. Where you once had a flat stomach may now be a bit paunchy, breasts tripled in size and your bum gone flat. Find a style you are comfortable in and stick to it until you have the confidence to branch out. If you are breastfeeding this can be even more difficult and the last thing you want when you’re feeling knocked for six is the rigmarole of trying on numerous (hideous) outfits that make you feel like you’ve raided a stranger’s wardrobe. Buy a few tops in a style you feel comfortable in and rotate them. My go to was dungarees as they hid my belly, I could dress them up or be casual and I was lucky they were ‘in’ when I gave birth.
5. Don’t hide yourself.
Don’t keep wearing your maternity clothes because it’s easy. Pack them away; quickly. You have probably felt comfortable and secure in these clothes the last few months, but you are no longer pregnant, your feet aren’t swollen; you don’t need to wear leggings and flip flops. Ditch the security of maternity wear.
And finally… You are not a celebrity. Sadly, for the majority of us we are unlikely to walk out the other end of childbirth looking like Abbey Clancy, we will not have personal chefs, private gyms and a modelling contract. Don’t put unattainable pressure on yourself; you are doing a great job.