I used to think being postnatal had an end to it, like you went back to “normal” after about a year or two of giving birth. But I, like many, are wrong in thinking that you stop being postnatal after a period of time. Once you have had a baby you are postnatal FOREVER!
I would like to start by saying that this is not a bad thing. Firstly look at what you have created, grown, and brought into this world. Your body is AMAZING and we need to give ourselves credit for that. Yes you are going to be a bit more squishy round the middle, wider through the hips and your breasts would have no doubt changed in shape, size, and droopiness, but this is all due to what your body has been through, or going through, so try and embrace it!
Some of the main changes that your body will go through during and after child birth includes:
- Your pelvic floor – whether you have had a vaginal or caesarean birth your pelvic floor has carried the weight of your baby and may be stretched or damaged in some way. Visiting a Woman’s Health Physio and following their guidance on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will ensure that you can continue to live life to the fullest with your little one.
- Your breasts – chances are your breast grew during pregnancy and if you breastfeed, you would have experienced growing and shrinking with each feed. After what they go through with all the sucking, tugging and biting (if you’re unlucky) it’s no wonder that the ligaments end up stretched and don’t often tighten again, resulting in droopy breasts. But how amazing that you were able to feed your baby from your body, so do yourself a favour and buy comfortable, well-fitted bras to help support the girls after all they have been through.
- Your vagina – the size of your baby, whether or not you did pelvic floor exercises during your pregnancy, the circumstances of the birth/s (like how long you pushed for, whether there were instruments used, tearing or an episiotomy), and how many deliveries you have had, your vagina is bound to look and feel different and stay that way to some degree.
- Your body – will most likely become wider to make room for your growing baby, your ribs will expand and your hips will widen to make it easier for your baby to exit the birth canal and for some women this will be a permanent change. You will gain weight during your pregnancy, most being the weight of your growing baby but the extra weight is also your body storing fat getting ready to make breast milk for when your baby is born. There is no need to “lose weight” after giving birth, if you are eating a balanced diet and moving your body a little each day with a gently walk or light exercise, you will gradually return to an ideal weight for your body type.
Being postnatal is truly an honour and if you have the privilege, I urge you to give yourself ample time to recover with the help of gentle exercises and movement, don’t rush to “get your body back” because there is no such thing! Work with this new incredible body that you have (remember the one that just birth a human being!) and let’s face it, if you were to never have kids, your body is still going to change and droop over time and would you still have something beyond amazing to show for it!?
Be kind to yourself and take care beautiful Mumma x