Body positivity, wobbly tummies and celebrating the post-baby body

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I caught myself in the bath, wriggling so my belly was covered in bubbles and hidden from sight. And when I was feeding my son, just the two of us, stopping and pulling my jeans a little higher so my belly was covered even though no one but the two of us could see. And I’m sure he’s not worried about my belly. He might give my belly button a ‘beep’, but as long as there are boobs, he’s not bothered if my belly is a little wobbly.

But I am.

And it bothers me that I am bothered. Yes, my belly is wobbly.  My thighs a little larger than they were. My belly and hips have silver stripes all over them. And I am not the same shape as I once was. But my body has carried, grown and birthed four children. Which in itself is pretty darn amazing. And my body still feeds one of those children every day [and night}.

Does it matter if I’m not as slim as I was pre-children? Or really the question is ‘should it matter’. And the answer is NO. It should not but too often it does. We measure our worth in how we look instead of what we do. An extra inch {or three} has the power to ruin our day.

Society tells us that we should ‘get our figure back’ almost as soon as we’ve popped our babies out. Never mind the 9 months it took our bodies to grow that baby and become the shape they are. Never mind how tired we are, or if we’re breastfeeding a child. Magazines give us story after story of celebrities who look amazing just days after giving birth, and tell us how we can too. When our babies are 1 month old, or 6 months old, or 1 year old, and our bodies don’t look as they do before we had children, we beat ourselves up for not being good enough. And the more I thought about this, the crazier it seemed.

I am so proud of my body. Every extra inch, every wobble on my tummy, every single stretch mark. They are all signs of the hard work that my body has done over the past thirteen years. Instead of feeling ashamed about my body, I am choosing to see the beauty in it. I have spent years hating the skin I live in. Years not eating {even though I was a tiny size 8}, years of abusing it, and cutting it, and wishing I was ‘perfect’. And even after all of that, my body still managed to grow four babies. I get to wake up each day to four people that grew inside me. To smiles and kisses [and the odd tantrum]. That in itself is worth my wobbly belly.

The post-baby body is one of society’s secrets. We see the airbrushed images in magazines, but not the reality. The extra skin around our bellies, the stretch marks, the extra weight, the never-to-be-the-same-again boobs. And because we don’t see them, we think that our bodies shouldn’t look like that. We put ourselves down for not being perfect. For not dropping two dress sizes the instant we give birth. For not having toned abs, or perky boobs anymore.

I refuse to censor myself.  To not wear clingy clothes because my belly sticks out, to avoid the pool as I don’t want to be seen in a swimsuit. I want my children to see that I am proud and unashamed of my body. For my three girls to grow up knowing that this is how a real body looks. That beauty comes in every shape and size and there is no such thing as ‘perfect’. For my boy to know what women really look like – not the airbrushed versions we are told we should aspire too.

I don’t want them to see me covering my belly when I’m breastfeeding so nobody sees how soft it is, that the skin is wrinkly and not taut. I don’t want them to grow up thinking that our bodies are something to be ashamed of.

We need to be proud of our bodies, however they may look.

To learn to see the beauty in our imperfections.

To celebrate our uniqueness instead of comparing ourselves to others.

To support each other and create a world are value isn’t built on how we look but on how we act and who we are..

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14 Comments

  1. June 29, 2016 / 12:52

    A lovely, positive post – your body is perfect just the way it is, as we all are. xx

  2. June 30, 2016 / 10:43

    Love this post Polly and we should all be proud of what we have done, carry a child and then nurture it. It sucks that society tells us how we should look but in actual fact so few people look like the “idea”. We are all individuals and should celebrate that

    Laura x

  3. June 30, 2016 / 11:37

    Isn’t there some statistic about how only 1% of women are genetically able to achieve the body ideal we’re exposed to and yet 85% of women say they’re unhappy with the body they have? It’s all so fucked up isn’t it? I’ll remember this post when I’m feeling down about my own flaws and come back to remind myself of how vulnerable we all are to this, thank you x

  4. July 4, 2016 / 13:47

    Absolutely agree with you! You are brave for sharing this, as no doubt, some people will react negatively. But I really loved Giovanna Fletcher’s reaction to when people called her fat after just giving birth. Definitely look it up :)

  5. July 4, 2016 / 19:17

    Great post Polly, I completely agree with you! Our bodies are pretty amazing things! x

  6. July 4, 2016 / 19:39

    Great post! I have started running since I’ve had kids and I really love it. I am more wobbley but I also feel stronger than I did before!

  7. July 4, 2016 / 21:15

    This is beautiful. So well written. I hear you, I agree with you! I don’t want my daughter missing out on anything because I am ashamed of my body…. holidays, going swimming, etc. Our bodies are amazing, amazing things and there is so much more to us than those bits that are a little wobbly nowadays! xx

  8. July 5, 2016 / 15:23

    I must admit I struggled with my changed body after having my second baby and am aware that it will change again after this one. But like you, I want my children to see me enjoying life rather than shying away from it because of something as false and insignificant as body image.

  9. July 5, 2016 / 20:34

    Such a great post – I worried constantly about gaining weight, getting bigger, my tum, my bum – until I fell pregnant with Pickle four years ago. I stopped. I embraced my wonderful body for what it was doing. I glowed, I relaxed, I was PROUD of my body. I have all my limbs, all my senses, my mobility. I am wonderful – as are you. As is every mum :) Kaz x

  10. July 6, 2016 / 19:55

    Aw I love this post. A big dollop of positivity and a big FU to the polished absolutely-not-real society that we live in!
    You are one of the most beautiful mothers and bloggers I’ve ever seen, such an inspiration in so many ways and, like you said, it’s bloody amazing what our bodies can do!
    Lucy
    X X

  11. July 18, 2016 / 13:05

    Absolutely Polly! what a great message you are giving out especially as a mama to girls! xx

  12. July 18, 2016 / 14:07

    Beautiful post Polly and very relatable. What an amazing message you are sending out. I can very much relate, to the hiding the belly even though you don’t need to, society does expect you to look a certain way but like you say this is due to magazines etc. It is so important to be able to accept ourselves the way we are and then love the way we are too. Hard for some but so needed. Lovely post. x

  13. July 21, 2016 / 09:36

    Great post lovey! We should all be proud of what our bodies have done but it’s definitely a lot easier than said most the time. I struggle with body image issues anyway so post pregnancy is a tricky time! At least this time round I’ll have a toddler and a newborn so less time to dwell on things :) x

  14. July 22, 2016 / 19:05

    Fab post Polly…totally get where you are coming from. I’ve been torturing myself that I need to do some drastic weight losing before having another baby because I dread to think what I’d look like after another one and I know that sounds dreadfully sad in the grand scheme of things. I think as women we have a terrible tendency to compare ourselves to others which never helps our body confidence. But what we’ve done and what we continue to do should be celebrated and given more focus rather than our body woes xx

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