Posting a photo of yourself four weeks post partum carrying the comment ‘I’m finally getting my stomach back’ is a new mum’s post of excitement.
After playing host for 9 months then fulfilling the roles of: dedicated milk bar, cleaner, general slave to any and every need of your newborn, a mum is entitled to get excited about getting a little of her ‘sexy’ self back.
As someone who had completely underestimated the joy of merely seeing my bikini line post bub’s arrival, I think it imperative – in light of Instagram and Facebook posts from former beauty pageant contestant, Erin McNaught and other ‘celebrities’ – that both men and women remember there’s a line that differentiates us all…called genetics.
It is these inherited genes that play a significant role in post partum body types.
Additionally, it’s also important for ALL to remember that social media technologies enable a private peek into the lives of the genetically blessed leaving those of us without washboard abs to wonder what we’re doing wrong.
Only if we let it…
Personally, I think Erin looks great and I’m happy (if not slightly hopeful my 40 year old skin will jump back with half of the elastic glory) her 32 year old frame has done!
I’m sure she has been working out, watching what she eats and generally looking after herself.
If she’s breast feeding even better – as no doubt those uterine contractions are going to contribute positively to her postpartum recovery.
But what about the other new mums who follow Erin on Instagram?
Those women who may have suffered bloat and are struggling not only with the demands of being a new mum but with trying to be a desirable woman…?
Celebrity used to mean you were famous for being good at something.
Sadly that hasn’t been the case for the past decade or two, so much so that anyone willing to have a opinion, access to a camera phone and a willingness to share private pictures and stories is considered newsworthy for others.
In an era where you can be worshipped for wearing an attitude as ferocious as the price of the designer clothes your parents pay for, I encourage all new mums to stop and contemplate for a moment.
1) Is my baby safe?
2) Is my baby feeding well?
3) Is my baby fulfilling all the ‘output’ requirements as identified in pictures and print on a laminated A4 card that was dutifully handed around the new parenting class (and memorised by my husband!)
4) Am I managing to get a little rest in between feeds?
5) Am I eating well?
6) Am I drinking lots of water?
7) Am I managing to have a shower each day?
If you answered yes to most of the above, then I think you’re doing pretty well.
At the end of the day, if bub’s happy,you’re already half way to ecstatically chuffed that you’re bluffing your way through this new parent caper exceptionally well! :)
One of the most profound discoveries for me, on falling pregnant was the impact on social discourse with other women.
When you fall pregnant the way you interact with other women changes. From female relatives, life long friends, colleagues, students, acquaintances and even pseudo friends, the learnings are key.
As an older mum, I think you’re also acutely aware of how privileged you are to:
a) have fallen pregnant,
b) carried to term
c) be blessed with a healthy bub.
Which in turn, (I’d like to think) enables you to be more cogniscant of other women’s struggles around procreation and building upon little families in your 40’s.
Personally, I’d like to see a slightly more measured approach from our so called ‘celebrities’ in support of new mums around parenting expectations (you’re going to be flying blind, so ask as many questions as you need to build confidence, because this new parenting roller coaster is 50% knowledge acquisition in the flash of a brief hospital stay and 50% confidence). #Seriously.
No book can prepare you for where your first hurdle will lay.
For me, when my obstetrician, placed my baby on my belly after birth, I was a crying dribbling mess.
I couldn’t believe how clever my husband and I were – and how insanely awesome Mother Nature truly is.
I was also petrified.
Seeing my hesitation, my obstetrician gently encouraged me to take the baby. Instantly, I seemed to have grown eight arms of which I had absolutely no control over.
“I don’t know how” I admitted.
“She’s your baby Tiff, work it out. You won’t hurt her.”
It was the best thing he could have said to me.
I’d carried her for the better part of 9 months (well 8 and a bit to be specific) and it was on her father and I who she would now be reliant, so I didn’t have the luxury of hiding behind my fears.
I had to jump in and step up.
Which is all any of us can endeavour to do to the best of our ability as novices on the new parent treadmill.
…and if we see our friends or celebrity types with washboard abs four months after a visit to the delivery suite, rather than bemoan the jelly belly you still wear like a badge of honour, embrace the fact genetics, diet and lifestyle play a huge part in our ability to recover expeditiously from the inordinate stress carrying a baby puts on your body.
After all, one gassy smile or cross-eyed eye roll is all it takes to remind us, this journey isn’t so much about us, as it is inherently about them! :)