Recently an image has been bandied around on social media of a 'mom bod' - a supposedly realistic body image of today's motherhood. Whilst there is no denying that the mum in question is definitely brave for putting herself out there and should not be criticised for trying to change the outlook of what is the 'ideal' figure, however I have to question those platforms who have shared this idea of what characterises a real mum-tum. Yes this lady has certainly earnt her tiger stripes and saggy tummy, however in my opinion her very svelte figure and clearly-defined abs do not elicit shouts of joy nor encourage me to embrace my own well-rounded and muffin-topped postpartum physique. Quite the opposite.
For all the good intentions this image has, I have to wonder where is the true representation of a 'normal' mum figure. Where is the mum who looks in the mirror and doesn't recognise herself anymore? The mum who now has to understand all over again what clothes work for her body, as what used to certainly doesn't any more? What about the mum who has gone up several dress sizes and cannot afford a whole new wardrobe so is either still making the most of her maternity jeans, or just donning leggings and baggy tops in an effort to cover herself and her c-section scar? And where is the mum who looks at herself in the mirror in shame at what she has become, yet is trying to teach her impressionable young daughter about body confidence and how that has to come from within. Where are those mums and shouldn't they be represented?
For years we have witnessed mum shaming, with new mums being splashed all over the covers of OK! Magazine and the like, questioned for not instantly snapping back to the svelte size 4 they once were and diet plans being put forward the instant they deliver. Brands such as The Body Shop and Dove have tried to counter-attack these nonsensical theories with campaigns featuring women of all shapes and sizes, but there is no doubt in my mind society still does not back the mums of today and the amazing and yet intense alteration our figures go through as we grow and nurture those tiny beings.
Personally I am going through my own battles, and I have not felt in control of my figure since Jack was born nearly four years ago. I have tried every fad diet from juicing to clean eating, endeavoured to walk more often (I have chronic fatigue and so cannot really exercise) and just tried to simply accept it. None of which have worked, and then when I am presented with this image of a 'normal' mum I quite frankly want to punch her in the face. Nothing personal of course. I would kill to have bounced back to my size six figure, to fit back into the piles of jeans I stored at the bottom of my wardrobe in the hope/delusion that one day they WILL fit, and images like this do nothing but make me feel like a big fat failure. Pun intended.
So, to all you ladies out there who feel like crap about their newly found figure, I'm here to tell you - me too! And that's ok. Because guess what? We built a frickin' person in there! A real-life has-you-up-every-two-hours, leave-fingermarks-all-over-your-clean-windows but my-God-I-bloody-love-em person. And to everyone out there who wants to see a real mum tum - here you are. I hate it, I'm mortified to look in the mirror at myself, but nevertheless it's me, and it's real.