Lynsey is a certified pre and postnatal trainer and body positivity advocate with 13 years experience working in the fitness industry. After becoming a mum, she decided to specialise in working with fellow parents working from a studio in Glasgow offering small group training to mums and mums-to-be.
Over to Lynsey-
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion when it comes to exercising during and after pregnancy but my mission is to fill the gaps and support women to feel healthy and happy after childbirth.
In a media-obsessed world with celebrity mums supposedly snapping straight back into shape after birth, new mums are feeling the pressure to regain their pre pregnancy bodies, more than ever.
This stifling pressure is damaging to both women’s physical and mental wellbeing, amplifying self-doubt at a vulnerable time plagued with sleep deprivation and haywire hormones. Their time should be spent bonding and caring for baby, as well as healing and caring for themselves, not hating their bodies and jumping onto the latest weight loss bandwagon the minute they’re back from hospital.
Below are my tips on how to accept your new and powerful body after baby.
1. Take a step back and just take in what your body has achieved. You have created, grown and nurtured a brand new person. For this to happen your body has had to stretch, organs have had to re-position themselves, ribs have moved and frankly your body might not ever be the same again. And, that’s OK. Then there is childbirth with many women going through hours of labour and some ending up with a C-Section. Remember stretch marks and scars are not shameful, they represent your child-bearing and giving journey.
2. Try to remove any accounts on social media that make you feel bad about your body. Even if these said accounts are promoting healthy habits and appear inspiration, if they make you feel bad, unfollow.
3. Focus on taking care of your body. Being a mother is hard work and takes energy. Restricting calories coupled with high energy exercise is going to deplete you pretty quickly. Try to make healthy food choices to help promote healing but if you want to eat a cake or some ice cream then do so. When you are ready to exercise again, make sure you find a trainer who is qualified to help you and who understands the post-baby body. Building strength and healing your pelvic floor and core is the priority so you can enjoy family-life, pain and symptom free. Opt for strength building over weight-loss, the latter will naturally come the more you move but take it slowly.
4. Wear clothes which fit. If you’re squeezing yourself into clothes that are too tight and make you feel physically uncomfortable, you will feel self-conscious and consumed by thoughts of your body all day long.
5. Remember our bodies are ever-changing. Your body goes through so much in your life, not just during pregnancy and believing you will get to your ideal size and stay there for life is setting yourself up for failure. Your body changes with the seasons of your life as well as on a daily basis. Periods and ovulation affect your body. Sleep patterns, how much you are moving, and getting older all have an impact on how your body looks. Wouldn’t it be freeing to just embrace each change as it comes along instead of trying to fit one ideal for life.
6. I ask my clients to ask themselves this question. How would you feel if your body didn’t change from the way it is right now? Would you live the rest of your life hiding your body? Would you be happy knowing you missed out on living your life to its full potential because someone else told you that it wasn’t OK to bear your skin because you were bigger? Or you didn’t see how amazing you are because you’d spent your life starving yourself and obsessing over food? Our bodies are just our tool to create the life we want and this can be achieved, whatever body shape or size. We must not allow the world to reduce us to our appearance. We are worth far more than that.
7. Lastly, you don’t have to love everything about your body to feel content. That’s just realistic. Instead, try to find neutral ways to think about the parts you don’t like. For example, I don’t love my tummy after having my third baby because I have little bit of an overhang were the incision was made for my C-Section and I find it uncomfortable when wearing certain trousers. When I feel self conscious about it, I think to myself this was home to my 3 children for 9 months. My scar is the reason my babies and I are alive and well.
Fat loss isn’t a bad goal to have but you must not let that consume you.
There is so much more to us than our bodies. You will not become a better mother if you get down to your pre baby weight. Don’t let the size or appearance of your body hold you back from living. We are deserving of love and nourishment, just as our babies are. Our bodies are not our legacies, our love and kindness, our work and contribution to the world and of course, how we raise the future: our children are what will leave our mark on this planet.