Four mums on tackling the baby weight (Page 2)
Wonder if you'll ever get back in your pre-baby jeans? Four mums share how they tackled the baby weight, meet our mums:
How did you feel physically the first few days after giving birth?
BONNIE: Like I'd been hit by a truck.
ABIGAIL: Yes! Or a double decker bus.
KIRSTY: I didn't expect to feel quite so allover traumatised by it, actually.
ABIGAIL: It was like, if you had never ever done exercise before, someone taking you to a week-long boot camp.
Boobs or belly? Which bits of your body did you feel different about after giving birth?
ABIGAIL: The sack that was my stomach! It felt like an empty bag of groceries. It got better fairly quickly, but it was SO odd how jelly-like it felt. Such a strange empty feeling.
BONNIE: Boobs. I think the boob thing takes over as soon as your baby is born.
KIRSTY: The worst thing was getting used to my boobs after breastfeeding. They need some therapy. I think I'll pop over to Switzerland in a few years!
BONNIE: They say you can choose between your breasts and your stomach don't they? If you breastfeed, it helps you lose the weight on your stomach, but you lose your boobs.
Did your weight or shape have the same significance for you after becoming a mum?
BONNIE: More, I think. It's partly an ego thing, because when people say, 'Wow, you've just had a baby? You look amazing,' that makes you feel good.
KIRSTY: Yes, actually I remember more people commenting on my shape after I'd had Milo than when I was pregnant.
ABIGAIL: I think your old body shape and weight is a big part of your pre-baby identity, especially as a first-time mum. When you have a child, you have your identity slightly taken away from you, and if you also don't have your figure, that's a double whammy. If you can get it back, then that's a big part of your old package. So how important was it for you to regain your pre-baby body quickly?
BONNIE: It was important. You want to get into your old jeans!
KIRSTY: It was really important for me, I was so pleased after my eight week check when they said I could exercise again. I wanted to get my old self back.
Did you make an effort to exercise?
CAROLINE: I haven't had time to think about it yet! I get out and about and walk with the buggy. In the next three months I'll do more. Just to tone up a bit.
KIRSTY: I went to Buggy Fit eight weeks after giving birth, but I think the woman running it was a bit horrified by me going so soon! And then I started doing exercise DVDs and started Pilates after about 12 weeks. That had really helped my stomach muscles when I was pregnant, so I wanted to carry on with that.
BONNIE: I did yoga, which I also did when I was pregnant, and I walked a lot with the buggy. Now I do power yoga.
ABIGAIL: I did pregnancy yoga throughout, and I think that helped. I only did a couple of Buggy Fit classes and decided it wasn't really for me. I do Pilates twice a week now. Did any of you go on a diet?
KIRSTY: I did the 5:2 diet for about three months, and lost more than the baby weight. I have ended up lighter than I was before.
BONNIE I didn't diet.
ABIGAIL: I don't calorie count, but I do find now, with all the routines and so on, that I end up forgetting to eat.
BONNIE: I sometimes end up eating my three year old's leftovers and that'll be my dinner!
After giving birth, did your weight change gradually, or was it a quicker process than you expected?
KIRSTY: The weight came off faster than I expected it would. Within a week I had lost a stone, but obviously that was mostly baby and water. By 12 weeks I had lost most of the weight I had gained. It took me longer to feel fit again though, I felt quite baggy.
BONNIE: The weight came off fairly quickly, and I do think breastfeeding helps that. I'm a different shape now, though. I'm a lot curvier than I was pre-baby and I actually prefer it. I feel sexier in clothes now.
CAROLINE: The weight has gone already – it's a combination of breastfeeding and stress!
ABIGAIL: My weight came off quite quickly. I guess I was conscious of getting out and about and moving around a lot.
Do you think there is a high expectation that women should get back their pre-baby bodies – and quickly?
KIRSTY: Oh yeah, definitely.
BONNIE: God, that's a massive thing in magazines isn't it, all the celebrities? Losing the baby weight is seemingly the first thing they want to do – they have to be stick thin within two weeks of giving birth.
ABIGAIL: I saw an article on Clare Danes after she'd had her baby, and how she managed to lose all her baby weight within four weeks or something because of filming Homeland. But I don't have access to personal trainers.
BONNIE: Or the time, or money!
CAROLINE: There's no expectation from friends and family – but from a society perspective there is, absolutely.
Are there aspects of motherhood which make it hard to keep a healthy lifestyle?
CAROLINE: Time, or lack of it.
KIRSTY: It's so hard to find time for yourself.
ABIGAIL: I used to be able to do three or four exercise classes a week before having a baby; now there's no way.
BONNIE: I think I do more exercise now, without realising. But it's harder with food. I've been known to just eat cheese for lunch.
ABIGAIL: I had four rice cakes with Vegemite for lunch yesterday.
How has pregnancy and motherhood affected your relationship with your body?
ABIGAIL: I anticipated a real shift in how I felt about my body, but I'm more concerned with my baby, to be honest. You do realise your body's resilience is unbelievable.
BONNIE: That's definitely true. You have a respect for it.
KIRSTY: I look at my body in a different way, knowing it has given me a child. Also, you feel special when you're pregnant, don't you?
CAROLINE: I still miss my bump sometimes.
KIRSTY: I think we're lucky as women to be able to experience pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding. It's a privilege. We have amazing bodies and we should be proud of them. I know we don't always feel that way.
BONNIE: Yeah, but I'm not sure if I'll ever wear a bikini again. I might have made that transition from bikini to swimsuit. I haven't been on holiday yet and had to face the decision.
PIP: One word: tankini!
So, here's the big question – is everyone back in their old jeans?
Interviews Pip Jones Photography Hannah Maule-Ffinch