Five reasons why you shouldn’t be trying to get your old body back
So many column inches are devoted to ‘helping mums get their bodies back’ after having a baby.
But so many of these ‘helpful’ information campaigns and product offerings actually seem to be missing the point.
When I became a mum, I thought – because I’d been conditioned that way – that I should be aiming to get back to my pre-pregnancy self.
It took me around a year I reckon. A year of finding it far tougher than I’d ever imagined to find any time to focus on myself. (A beautiful preemie had come along and suddenly my time had become one great big vacuum.)
Over the course of that year, the penny slowly dropped. (I know – I never have been the quickest off the mark.)
It wasn’t about getting back to my old self.
I was different.
My body was changed forever.
And actually…..why did I actually think I needed or even wanted to get my old body back?
I wanted to feel fitter again, get my energy back and regain some lost confidence, sure.
But I could do all of this with a new-found respect for my post-baby body.
You don’t need to feel any of this insane pressure to get your old body back. And here are five reasons why.
- You’ve got a new body now, and it’s totally, unbelievably amazing. Some lucky b!£^hes find their bodies regain a pretty much normal shape within a few months after having a baby. For others, even years later their clothes just don’t seem to fit right, even if they’re wearing the same size as they were pre-baby. Whichever camp you fall into, your body has created A HUMAN. You are a powerhouse. Your body has created magic. And if you can find it within yourself to see yourself as more than a set of numbers on a scale and in a pair of jeans, you’ll start to feel more beautiful. Be proud.
- Your life priorities are radically different. Chances are you’ve had to adjust your expectations of how much time you’ll be able to devote to fitness. Even if you’re able to find some time already for fitness, if you’re still looking at this through your pre-baby eyes it won’t feel like enough as it’s probably less time than you’re used to. By accepting that your life has changed now and is much richer and filled with your family priorities, you’ll begin to forgive yourself if you can’t get to the gym five times a week.
- That’s not to say that ‘me time’ isn’t a priority. Of course it is. That’s the whole point of this website. It’s about making practical adjustments and placing realistic expectations on yourself, and being kinder to yourself in the process if you haven’t achieved your body goals yet.
- Life as a parent will forever be unpredictable. So if you’ve had to sack off going for a run because one of the kids is sick or you sink three glasses of wine because your day was just that tough, ease up on yourself. We’re the masters of curve balls. Give yourself a break when things don’t happen as you’ve planned. Accept that you won’t always be in control, and be kinder to yourself when this happens. Work hard on your wellbeing when you can, and you’ll see results.
- Your ‘normal’ will change over time. When you first have a baby, their needs are so intense and the sleep deprivation is so overwhelming it’s unlikely you’ll feel like doing anything other than sleeping the moment you get the faintest whiff of some down time. If you’re a fairly new mum, it feels at times like it will never end. But it does get easier, and gradually things settle into a new kind of normal. And you adapt to find a routine that works each time a new change happens. (Every five friggin’ minutes it seems!) The most important thing is to make sure each time you have to switch up your routine, you prioritise some ‘you time’.
It’s not about getting your old body back.
You’re not the old you.
You’re a new, improved, beautiful, human-making powerhouse.
Embrace who you are now, and know that you can be proud of your body.
Use that strength to improve your health and fitness so you have more energy, stamina and patience.
Work out and eat right so you’ll get ill less often and be more productive so you can spend more time with your family. Work out and eat right so you’ll feel more confident and gorgeous as your body responds.
You don’t need your old body any more.
Your new body is perfect.