As Mothercare launches its body proud campaign to empower new mums, blogger and new mum Jax Buckland questions whether new mums really are proud of their bodies.
The Mothercare campaign is fantastic – pictures of real mums holding their newborn babies and showing their postpartum bodies. Most have stretch marks, loose skin and extra weight from their pregnancy. They are proud to show the journey their body has gone through and the scars they have acquired from carrying life into this world and I admire them.
My son is five months old and I can barely look in the mirror. I meet up every Thursday with my NCT friends and guaranteed, we’ll talk about our bodies, things we don’t like and the new purchases we’ve made to cover up – baggy jumpers, long dresses and strategically placed scarves to help hide our tummies.
My husband keeps telling me that guys don’t care about stretch marks and a few extra pounds. They are just in awe of what we’ve been through and what we have produced in nine months. I want to believe him but a big part of me doesn’t.
There’s a lot of pressure for modern mums to bounce back quickly. Social media has fuelled this with women sharing stories of them being back in the gym just weeks after giving birth and others loosing all of their pregnancy weight and loving their bodies again. But there’s a lot of people out their that don’t even want their partner to see them naked, never mind sharing a picture with a proud hashtag.
The backlash some people get in the modern day is awful – keyboard warriors sharing hurtful comments of fat shaming, scar shaming, pointing out flaws, imperfections and skin tones. How are we supposed to be proud of ourselves and be brave enough to share a picture if we’re being constantly criticised?
I feel genuinely sorry for people like Kate Middleton and soon-to-be mum Meghan Markle who have to be dressed up, full face of make up on, hair done and in a pair of heels posing outside the hospital just hours after giving birth to smile for the press. They are going to be tired, sore, probably have swollen feet and want to sit in their pyjamas cuddling their newborns, not posing for photo shoots.
It’s sad that new mums don’t always love their bodies after giving birth as they have just performed a miracle. But in a way, I can understand why – we are saying goodbye to the body we once had and don’t have much time to embrace a new one. It’s all we’ve known our entire lives and most of us feel comfortable in that body and know everything about it. We have our favourite outfits, special pair of jeans, the back up top we always feel great in but after having a baby, many of us can’t fit into our old clothes again!
The Mothercare campaign is telling us that change is OK, good even. We are adding a story to our skin – a tale of life. Stretch marks after having a baby are more like tiger stripes. Skin can loose its elasticity and become saggy. Boobs can drop and/ or become smaller and lose shape. For me, the real change needs to come from society where we accept women are different shapes and sizes – not just Insta perfect people. Maybe then we will have the confidence to love and be proud of our mummy bodies.
Well done to Mothercare for taking this on!
About the author:
Jax Buckland is a new mum and a new blogger based in the north west, writing as Mummy in Manchester. She has been inspired by Mothercare’s new body confidence campaign but is questioning how many new mums really do love their changing bodies. Catch up with Jax on social media Twitter and Instagram.
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