The Postnatal Body: Acceptance.



When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to see the changes that my body would go through. Some more than others… my growing baby bump, bigger boobs and thicker hair. Not so elated about the swollen ankles, sudden lack of pelvic floor, and stretch marks. All that aside, I was so excited to see my body changing and growing another human… which is JUST amazing. Especially when you read how big your baby will be each week… “Sorry, what? I have a baby the size of a watermelon in me?? Flip, that’s got to get out somehow!” Think about that part later…

Due to complications during labour I ended up having a (fairly) emergency C Section, and I then lost over half of my blood volume, resulting in a few blood transfusions and consequently, a lot of iron tablets. That meant a slower recovery, but then , I had nothing to compare my recovery to. I have since struggled with diastasis recti (when your stomach muscles don’t join back together after pregnancy). Because of this a lot of the exercise that I did previously, I found I now struggled with; A lot of ab workouts and HIIT. But I still felt comfortable running and cycling/spinning.

For many years I entered a race called ‘The Grizzly’ down in Devon. I always ran the ‘cub’ version which is 9.1 miles, along the Jurassic coastline so a mix of pebbly beach, road running, hills, across fields and through streams. A good, fun (but very tough) race. Each year I would complete this run, after training for many months, and I would feel proud finishing the race, knowing that I had trained hard, and in return, completed the race feeling happy, strong and proud. I did not enter the race last year as I was still breastfeeding Freya, it was 5 months since giving birth, and honestly, it was the last thing I wanted to do. I just did not feel back to myself. So this year was the year, return to the Grizzly. I run park runs each week, which are 3 miles, and I ran two 6 mile runs in the lead up to the grizzly. So not a lot of training.

On the day of the Grizzly, I left the house after being with Freya and family all morning, to get in the car realising, I hadn’t even looked in the mirror….what was I wearing? Had I even put my running trainers on, or more importantly….where are my running trainers? Great prep! Well….I did complete the run, but in a very different way to previous years. The reality of not training but more importantly, my post natal body really hit me. I finished the race with awful pain in my hips (which I do now get after I run), and just really feeling very low. I felt like I had finally accepted how different my body is now, and that I can’t do what I used to do.

After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, squeezing myself into my jeans, covering up with baggy jumpers, I realised why I was feeling like this. Yes, I have put on weight since having Freya, but it’s not that makes me feel so low about my body, it’s the lack of exercise. It is not about weight, but the way your body feels. When I exercise I feel so much happier about my body, because I know I am looking after it. So, this week, if you follow my stories you will know I have gotten back into more regular exercise and mainly running (with the running buggy) as this is what is easiest with Freya. Already I feel better, I may not have dropped a dress size or lost weight, but knowing that I am exercising – even if this is a power walk with the buggy, I feel better about myself. So, if you are struggling and feeling in a slump, I encourage you to just do something, no matter how small. It could be a 10 minute power walk around the block with the buggy. Getting outside, fresh air, it really does make the world of difference, and you might find it gives you more energy !

This post was inspired by a book that I just adore… The Sketchy Muma .

This is a book of sketches by Anna Lewis, from pregnancy through to Birth and then beyond. I was bought this book when Freya was very young and I was struggling with the Baby Blues. And wow did this help me. It is so funny and uplifting, but with a deeper meaning behind the sketches. As I looked through the book and still do┬ánow, every sketch just means so much, and on days when I was low it was reassuring to know, I wasnt the only one who felt this way. When I felt alone, I realised I really wasn’t. Far from it. So for any parents out there, take a look…. I know you’ll love it.

(Not an AD, just a super fan).

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