Katie's story: body image after pregnancy
My post pregnancy body image is two sides of the same coin. Throughout pregnancy I both loved the shape of my bump and embraced the changes to my body with excitement and awe; and felt frustrated with the physical sacrifices I was making.
Not recognising the changes in my body
I enjoy taking part in Triathlons and this was something I had to put on hold for most of my pregnancy. It was a sudden change of identity and I almost felt like a Russian doll when I looked in the mirror and saw my unrecognisable body.
1.10.17 and my beautiful baby girl arrived
Giving birth certainly is incredible and although I felt immensely proud of what my body had achieved, I also had quite a traumatic birth with a drawn-out physical recovery. It meant that I put on a lot more weight and the feeling of the Russian doll became amplified – like my real body was lost somewhere about four dolls in!
That coupled with sleep deprivation, leaking boobs and no pelvic floor muscles making exercise not only difficult but often embarrassing made me feel disconnected with my own body.
Having said that I was still able to appreciate what an incredible experience breast feeding was and also quite enjoyed sitting around with other mums and our beautiful squishy bundles eating lots of cake.
Feeling empowered in my new identity as a mum
The first few months of motherhood was a blur and I emerged out of the new baby fog with a new sense of self and my identity as a mum made me incredibly empowered and proud of my body and myself.
I was able to return to triathlons within 9 months of birth which seemed like forever to me at the time but in hindsight it was another incredible achievement my body managed.
My body image is more about its abilities than how it looks
For me my body image is more about its abilities than the way it looks, keeping fit and feeling strong makes my mental health more balanced. I’m not immune to the social pressures women feel around their bodies but for me setting fitness goals rather than weight goals is how I keep negative thoughts from controlling the way I feel about my body image.
Practical tips to improve how you think and feel about your body
- Find the best way that works for you to stay active.