Yummy mummy tag a bummer
Looking in the mirror after having two children is a humbling experience.
Men, I suggest if you prefer your women perfect then don't read on. Mothers, I suspect the following description will be very familiar.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding has left my formerly average breasts looking an utter (udder?) disgrace. Imagine two mini pink cupcakes (each topped with marzipan flowers which we'll pretend are my nipples).
Hold the cupcakes on their sides and watch the icing droop and petals slide in bizarre directions.
What used to be my unremarkable belly button now resembles a fault line. I try not to look down at it as it can smile back up at me. My two and four-year old spend inordinate amounts of time sticking their fingers in it and pretending their digits have been eaten.
Then there's the bottom droop. Now, I have a relatively small bottom but no matter how many squats I do the cheeks just want to wobble and point south. Just the other day my eldest commented: "Mummy, your bottom is too big for your knickers."
After my second child was born I felt a huge pressure, self-inflicted of course, to reclaim my old body. Before my children I was slim but during both pregnancies I gained close to 20kg with each. Some friends dropped their pregnancy weight so quickly and looked fantastic. Whereas my baby fat was holding on for the ride.
The Internet is saturated with ''yummy mummy'' images of celebrities remarkably pinging back to their former slim selves within months after birth. My sensible self told me these were ridiculously extreme examples but I still desperately wanted to squeeze back into my skinny jeans. I had fallen into the yummy mummy trap.
After I stopped breastfeeding my second baby I started a get-fit regime that included regular pilates and training for two half-marathons. My goal was to reclaim my former body. I completed the half-marathons and lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle.
I was really happy with what I'd achieved and, yes, the skinny jeans were spray painted on again. I felt more healthy than I had in a long time and the regular exercise was great for giving me the energy and peace of mind to cope as a busy mum of two.
But a part of me still frowned when I looked in the mirror. My old body was not staring back at me. No amount of running or yoga was going to bring back the breasts, the bum or the tummy I had before children.
At this point I had two options: be miserable in my own skin or accept that babies changed my body. At that point I adopted a whole new perspective on body image.
When I think back to my 20s my body was, no doubt, at its best but I'm embarrassed at the amount of energy I spent sweating over lumps and bumps that just weren't there. When I should have been frolicking around happily in a bikini in summer, most of the time I could only bring myself to wear shorts and a tank-top. To hide the invisible lumps and bumps of course.
Now I actually do have lumps and bumps but my view is the body I have right now is the body I like. My body is always going to be a bit better than the one I'll have in five or 10 years' time. So I'm going to keep liking the body I'm in and my advice to all new mums is to love yours too. I've stopped reading the nonsense online stories of post-pregnancy super-skinny celebrities (most of the time).
I laugh when my daughters excavate for my belly button, I ignore the droopy boobs and when my eldest makes comments about my bottom I simply give it a shake and watch her eyes pop. And this summer I will be, finally, running around in that bikini - lumps, bumps and all. That is a real yummy mummy.
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