“Lucky you! You don’t even look like you’ve had a baby!” This is a “compliment” I received quite a lot after I had my son. Don’t get me wrong; back then, it made me feel REALLY good. I had people commenting on my body in a positive way and telling me how great and strong I looked. It’s embarrassing to admit but I loved that attention. It made me even more motivated (or a bit obsessed depending on how you look at it) but also made me afraid to putting on weight and skipping sessions.
You see, I’ve had body image issues for most of my life, trying to get that “perfect body”. Ideas of this perfect body and how it should look like changed in my head over the years, you can read more about it in this blog. So when I achieved a body which was close enough to my idea of perfect which consequently gave me that deemed positive attention, I didn’t want to let it go.
Training was not negotiable. If I had a gym session scheduled and someone wanted to catch up with me I would lie that I was teaching a class so they wouldn’t expect me to cancel it.
The irony is that little did anyone know (and I didn’t know it back then either); even though I looked good and strong on the outside, my body wasn’t strong from the inside…my pelvic floor organs weren’t supported and I had a pelvic organ prolapse. So it turns out that I wasn’t that lucky!
After I had my son I went back to training way TOO early. I didn’t want to loose all my fitness and I wanted to get back into shape as soon as possible. I was a group fitness instructor so I felt like I had to show how it’s done. But as I didn’t know much about postnatal fitness back then, I did too much too soon.
When I learnt that I have a prolapse and that all the exercises I was doing then (like heavy lifting and high impact exercises) could make it even worse, I still didn’t want to change the way I trained. I was scared to put on weight and loose the body I worked so hard for.
It wasn’t all about the looks though! I was also scared to loose myself!
I loved lifting heavy and that feeling of getting stronger (this hasn’t changed, even though I don’t lift as heavy as back then anymore). I was also worried about what trainer would I be if I wasn’t able to do certain exercises or look a certain way?
It doesn’t matter what shape or size we are, we all are victims of feeling the pressure to get the pre-baby body back.
We all have our insecurities and we all have times when we feel like we are not enough. Too many mums get back to exercise too early causing themselves issues. Pushing their exhausted bodies to limits because they think they need to look certain way to be worthy!
Now I know the “Lucky you.. You don’t even look like you’ve had a baby” compliment is wrong on many levels!
Firstly, how are you meant to look after you’ve had a baby?
Every BODY is different, every pregnancy is different and each journey is going to be different.
This “compliment” gives an impression that it’s a bad thing to look like you’ve had a baby (what ever that means). Isn’t that crazy?!
What expectation does it puts on new mums? It focuses purely on how your body looks, not on how are you feeling and functioning.
To be honest, in my case, it wasn’t really about luck…I worked hard for it!
For me, it’s never been about getting my pre-baby body back. Chasing that perfect body is something I have been striving for since I was about 14 years old.
Now I feel at peace with my body (most of the time at least). I don’t want to spend my life worrying about how I look or how others think I should look but this has definitely been a journey!