How to handle Body Dysmorphia After Having a Baby

I’ve suffered with body dysmorphia for as long as I can remember. Just writing that here in such a public place is such a big deal you don’t even know. Since being small I’ve worried about my weight and had people commenting my whole life about whether I was too skinny or too fat for their liking.

Yeah that’s right, people commenting on MY body. I’ve always steered clear of any kind of negativity about anyone else’s body, but mine has been subject to people’s opinions my whole life.
I’ve been everything from a size 6 which they said was too small for my 5 foot 8 frame and size 14, which they said didn’t suit me. I worked out through most of my adult life but my nutrition wasn’t the best and I liked a good night out, complete with wine and takeaway, a bit too often. But, I was healthy and the matter should never have been a source of public discussion. For me, I just wanted to find my confidence, a place where I didn’t worry about my tummy sticking out or those jeans not fitting properly. To decide to go out at a moment’s notice and know that no matter what outfit I put on I would rock it…

Eventually I found my balance and ate well 80% of the time and enjoyed treats in moderation. I exercised regularly, in small stints 5 x a week and I reached a state of body confidence I’d only dreamed of. I was happy, mostly, with my physique. I was strong, not skinny, toned and not scared to eat the pizza or the cake. Body positivity was the aim of the game for me, not a size, not a number on the scales, just content with my lot.

When we decided to try for a baby, it was something I wanted more than anything. Certainly more than a ‘beach body’. But it still crossed my mind that it would mean changes to my body. A body I had only a few years before grew to be content with. I carried on working out throughout my entire pregnancy, even up to the day I gave birth, just moderating slightly to account for the bump and came out of my first pregnancy largely unscathed. My tummy muscles had remained to a degree and the rest of my frame had not altered much. Then the raging appetite that comes with breastfeeding took hold and I just could not shift the last 10 pounds or so of baby weight.

Nine months later I fell pregnant again and whilst I exercised during the first weeks of this pregnancy, I was too busy caring for the Little Inspiration, who was just a baby herself still. I was freelancing around nap times, then we started the house renovations and every last ounce of energy was taken up. When I wasn’t caring for baby, the house or my husband I was sleeping, for self preservation. I was exhausted.

We had no kitchen for three months, my home was a building site and eating good food and exercising was not an option. Although I put on less weight this pregnancy, my muscle tone had gone and I felt unsupple and out of balance. Now having two babies to care for I have even less time to cook or go to the gym so my body image issues are resurfacing. I do not feel content or confident. 

During the day when I’m out with my babies I can just about ignore my appearance and justify it by the fact that I clearly have a lot on my plate. I dread having to put on real clothes, face a mirror or go out into the world without my children.

This is CRAZY. I should not be feeling this down on myself. Fine, my body shape has changed but I don’t actually weigh any more than I did pre this pregnancy. Yes he was a bigger baby and yes this has made my tummy stretch but the message here is about accepting the miracle us women can perform and silencing that negative inner voice which is actually an echo of all those times someone has put my body down.

I will always look in the mirror and see someone who is two sizes larger than they really are and expect more of myself. I don’t think you can break a habit of a lifetime. But I try to take a step back, a deep breath, roll my shoulders back and pull my tummy in and face the world with a confident look in my eyes.

I was gifted a Bellefit postnatal corset to try to give me extra confidence. It does more than just make clothes look better though, it also helps to knit your stomach muscles back together. Muscles that every mum knows endure so much. Dia stasis recti is a real problem most mums face postnatally and anything that can provide some support with binding them back together is a blessing.

It arrived a few weeks after birth but ideally it should be from days after labour to get the fastest results. As it came from the States I’d say put your order in at 36 weeks in order to get it in time. It definitely does pull everything in and is far more supportive than a normal corset. It doesn’t roll over or leave unsightly lumps. I don’t care much for the knicker style and would rather it didn’t have a gusset, but it is easy to undo so not a hindrance. I’m also someone who kind of likes to be loose and free so although it is not uncomfortable at all, it naturally can feel a bit more restrictive so it takes some getting used to.

I’ll be honest I tried to remember to put it on in the madness that is looking after two babies – but if I manage to shower, dress and put make up on most days I’m winning – so my results may take longer but I’m ok with that. 

I will get back to the gym eventually, I will find time to prepare healthy foods and cut the snacks. But for now I will hold my babies close, throw them in the air and be the mummy that plays. I’m not adverse to faking it until I make it so for now I wearing my Bellefit corset to help to hold my tummy muscles in and support my back through this tender period where I’m recovering from two back to back pregnancies and a body and life altering experience.

This is a gifted product but all opinions are honest and my own. 

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