My Perfect Instagram Post (partum body)

 

It Doesn’t Just Ping Back!

One early morning (as a working parent, getting my social media fix in the cold light of 4am has become the norm) I was flicking through Instagram, when I stopped scrolling. I went back to a post that had caught my tired eyes: a picture of a celebrity (the gorgeous Georgia Jones, to be exact) two weeks postpartum. Yet, this image hadn’t fallen victim to any of Instagram’s delightful filters – only my own quiet disbelief: here, in Georgia’s Instagram post, was a true reflection of a postpartum tummy. It was not an impossibly flat stomach with ZERO stretch marks that I had become accustomed to seeing, but one that could have been easily mistaken for a pregnant stomach. I was so relieved to see it. I saw Georgia later in an interview with Lorraine Kelly defending her Instagram postpartum post: “It doesn’t just ping back!”, Georgia admitted. “You’re not kidding…” I thought. (See Georgia’s interview on Lorainne here.)

Shock Horror! The Reality of the ‘Mummy Tummy’

When I was pregnant, I was practically sedentary because of my size. Swamped with the feeling of carrying a tiny human inside me, I was also swamped with pictures of celebrities who had recently had children. I’d read their experiences: a seemingly straight-forward birth, a remarkably unmarked body post-birth, and each of them blessed with an astonishing freedom to spend ‘quality time’ on themselves. The postpartum stomach I was used to seeing was a tummy that no longer looked like it was about to burst at any second. Clearly, I thought, banishing the ‘mummy tummy’ was achievable straight away – this must be exactly how it happens.

But here was Georgia Jones, proud of her stomach as it still bulged, sharing it with the whole world. I recalled the birth of my child, and remember how I looked down at my own body postpartum.  I was in shock; this was not how it was meant to be!  My body was a train wreck, a horror to behold. After nine months, how could I still look pregnant?  This was not the ideal I had been fed by the media. Yet, looking at my own swollen stomach, I had a reality check: I did not have childcare, I did not go to the gym every morning, I had not been eating healthy salads or drinking nutritious smoothies ‘on-the-go’. I did not have the time; I did not have the energy.

Too Much Information? Sharing the Perfectly Normal Postpartum Experience

My postpartum body was a product of a difficult labour and constant adjustments to caring for a newborn baby.  My body received no love and attention from me: my child did.  My body had been a home for my baby, and was now a source of their nourishment (even if it was a product of very little sleep!)  Of course, I had not just ‘pinged’ back to normal; this was now my normal, and  I was proud that I was still adjusting. I realised that my ‘new’ body should be celebrated: it was the vehicle for the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I accepted that I could make changes when I felt okay to do so, changes that were not determined by any magazine or my preconceived expectations. So, here’s to my perfect Instagram post (partum body) – and yours too!

Do you see Georgia’s post? Or do you have a similar experience? We’d love to hear from you! Follow us on Facebook & Twitter to get sharing!

The post-baby body continues to go viral! To hear more from women celebrating their postpartum bodies, why not check out Emily Marson’s Story and this fantastic blog!

 

Written by Jill, Nemo Swimming