Women know how to thrive under pressure.
Throw us 10 tasks to get done today and we get them squared away by midday and move on to tomorrow’s to do list.
We are a formidable force to be reckoned with when it comes to withstanding the heat.
Perhaps this is why it is our sex that bears the children. Because there is no time in my life that I have faced so much pressure than when I had kids.
The pressure comes rushing at you from all angles. It creeps in from before the baby has even arrived with your birth plan and what pain relief you choose. We are urged to do it the natural way with as little drugs as possible.
Then once baby is here the pressure ratchets up a notch. Now we’re pressured to breastfeed, and keep the biscuits and tea flowing as a steady stream of visitors takes over our home.
We’re under pressure to get the baby into a routine, to get them sleeping though, but to also get out the house as much as possible.
George and Amal papped
It’s a tough time, we have a lot on our mind and some days its hard not to crack. Why then does the term “post-baby body” even exist?
By it’s very nature it just makes women feel bad. Why should we even be thinking about our waistlines and thighs when we’ve got a small, vulnerable human being to keep alive?
I’ve been inspired to rant on this topic by the latest pictures of Amal and George Clooney.
There have been several paparazzi shots of the couple, who welcomed twins two months ago, enjoying a break at their home in Lake Como, Italy.
Every story I’ve read has focussed on Amal’s weight and appearance. They describe her as “slender” and the Daily Mail said she “showcased her sensational physique just two months after giving birth”. The words slim, fit, shape, incredible and dozens of other similar phrases are scattered throughout hundreds of articles.
What irritates me is the way this reduces Amal’s recent achievements to what she looks like. Forget that she’s just had two beautiful babies, let’s focus on how flat her tummy is now they’re out of her.
This is an intelligent woman, she’s a barrister who fights against the worst human rights violations imaginable for goodness sake. I’m sure she’s not telling George: “These babies are ok, I suppose, but check out my abs? And have you seen my arse? Eight weeks, George, I look like this after just eight weeks!”
I find it such a shame that young girls and women who have self-esteem issues might read articles with this kind of language and think that’s the important thing to focus on after having a baby.
It’s a dangerous road to go down; pressuring mums to lose weight when they’re flat out trying to cope with sleep deprivation, feeding round the clock and keeping the house from falling down.
This is no attack on Amal or any other woman who loses their baby weight soon after giving birth. Some people don’t gain any extra weight at all apart from the baby and fluid during pregnancy.
We’re all different, that’s just the way it is. Some people can pile through a pizza and tub of Ben and Jerry’s without gaining a pound.
Others just have to think about opening the fridge door and it adds another inch to the waistline.
Yes Amal looks amazing, she clearly loves her labels and makes an effort when she’s out with her hubby – it is George Clooney after all.
If I had her budget I’m sure I would splash out on stunning clothes to enjoy a night out with my other half. I love getting dressed up for a night off from the kids, it makes me feel like an actual human being again.
I just don’t think her “post-baby body” is what she should be defined by when pictures of her are printed.
Weight loss shouldn’t be a mum’s goal
It’s setting the bar high for the millions of other women who see photographs of her and cannot help but compare. Women who have no idea how or why Amal has lost that baby weight, or just didn’t gain any at all. Frankly, it’s none of our business to know.
Diet should be about just one thing in those weeks and months after giving birth, and that’s nourishment. We need to keep up our calories so that we’re physically strong enough to cope with the pressure we are under.
Your body is awash with hormones making you feel lower than normal, the last thing you need is to look in the mirror and feel like a failure because your love handles are looking worse than ever.
Why then is it presented as some kind of ultimate goal, a sign of winning at motherhood, if you’ve “snapped back into shape” after giving birth?
My body has changed a lot over the last three years since having two kids. I have some stretch marks on my tummy, a permanent mum tum and as I write I’m quitting breastfeeding, so soon my boobs will be like a pair of spaniel ears.
I remember looking at myself naked shortly after having my second and being pretty freaked out. My belly was still quite big, but all floppy, I had a dark line running down the middle or it and my skin had gone a weird yellow shade from all the blood loss during delivery.
I shut my dressing gown and got back to looking after my baby. I’m not saying there aren’t moments when I sigh a bit at the sight of myself, but I don’t spend all day long thinking about it.
I don’t care
And do you know why? It’s because ultimately I just don’t care that much about it compared with the myriad of other s**t I have to deal with.
I don’t care that my body is changed forever, I don’t care that I will never be a size 6. What I care about is I’ve had two beautiful children who mean the world to me.
I don’t want to waste any more time thinking about my figure than the five seconds of the day that I glance at my belly and suck it in to see what I would look like with a few less pounds on the waist.
So I’m calling for an end to this constant barrage of headlines about “showcasing her post-baby body” and how she “stepped out proving she’s still a supermodel just two days after giving birth”.
Stop reducing new mums to what the scales are telling them, stop celebrating their figures and please just celebrate the fact they’ve had a healthy, happy baby.
The term “post-baby body” is my Room 101 nomination.
It may not be the exact reflection from three years ago, but this is still my body and I’m proud of it.