I should probably start by admitting that, as I write this, with Elizabeth (now 12 weeks!) asleep on my lap, I am stealing bites of my husband’s sausage casserole dinner when he’s not looking.
So, with a mouth full of food, it is – perhaps – not surprising that I’ve got weighty issues on my mind.
If you glanced through the (astonishingly photo-shopped) pages of today’s celeb mags, you’d be forgiven for thinking that pregnancy was something that just came along and then went again, leaving your body utterly unchanged other than briefly having a little bump to put your hand over (whilst your mascara-ed partner stands behind you smiling proudly – you know the shot!) All that is left after nine months of growing and then giving birth to a baby, it would seem, is a slightly curtailed alcohol consumption and a keen interest in baby yoga.
It’s strange. It’s not been like that for me at all! With each pregnancy, I’ve spent the first 14 weeks fearful of talking in case I accidentally threw my lunch back up, then a week or so of feeling normal and, for a couple of hours, even radiant before my insatiable pregnancy appetite kicked in and my bottom gradually grew to a size that demanded its own postcode!
Then I would have a (at least for the last two) straight forward and thrilling labour (I know, I know, I’m weird!) before getting back on the snacking wagon as my insatiable breastfeeding appetite kicks in. Then slowly, slowly everything calms down. I stop wanting to gnaw on the kitchen table and slowly start to eat a bit less, move a bit more and – in time – I start to return to myself (albeit a rather softer, fuller version).
The pressure for women to ‘bounce back’ to their pre-pregnancy shape is crackers and dangerous! It’s unfair, unkind and unrealistic. These photo-shopped images of women looking picture perfect five minutes out of the delivery suite are at best laughable – pregnancy changes our bodies – even for a while – and so what?! We should wear our changing – and changed – shape as a mark of pride at the incredible thing that we have made – and throw our energies into nurturing and enjoying our beautiful babies – rather than punishing and starving our poor bodies back into someone else’s version of perfection.
Right. Rant over. Sorry.
Anyway, here we are. Twelve weeks post-partum. All doctors checks done and dusted and – for no other reason that the need to feel fitter again – I’m tentatively starting to move back into running. Don’t get me wrong, this is sloooooow progress, aided by an industrial strength sports bra (!) and my most motivating music playlist but, for now, for me, I’m enjoying it.