Body After Baby?

Who magazine. I say who cares?

I’m so sick of these Body After Baby shots.  Puhlease!  They take the most unflattering photograph they can find, then arrange a shoot for the most flattering shoot in a bikini possible, and trumpet loudly from the front cover “How I got my body back after baby”.

If I wasn’t a subscriber (talk about half the size issues – subscribing means it’s half the cover price!), I wouldn’t have bought this issue in sheer protest.  I make no comment about Kourtney Kardashian because I don’t have an opinion on her and I haven’t read the article.  I just don’t care.

But I do care about women and respect and motherhood.  Just how stupid do magazines think women are?  We know you put on weight when you carry a baby.  We know your body doesn’t snap back automatically as soon as the baby’s out.  We know it takes bloody hard work.  We know all about Photoshop, flattering lighting, professional hair and makeup and body contouring faux tanning.  We know the tricks, dudes.

Most of us don’t care.  There will be a point, which comes later for some than others, when we decide we need to “do something” and “get fit”, but for most of us, we are more than happy to spend a few months (at the very least a few weeks) cocooning with this new magical person who has changed our lives.  We establish feeding routines, and try and establish sleeping routines – for us and the baby.  We do our best to get out of our pyjamas before lunchtime.  Hell, we do our best to actually eat lunch.

I put on 11kgs of baby weight, and I had gestational diabetes and oedema to deal with too, plus SPD, meaning my exercise options were restricted.  I also put on 5kgs of IVF weight in two weeks, just trying to get pregnant.  Hormones are hell.  I went up a dress size in two weeks.

40-weeks0008 resize

So, how did I lose my baby weight?  Well, to start off with, I gave birth to a 10 pound (4.5 kg) baby.  That kinda helped.  A bit more weight disappeared when I was able to start pushing the pram – post Caesearan and drug allergies didn’t help for a while.  I went for daily walks and incidental exercise like climbing the stairs.  I was back in my jeans the week I came home from hospital.

The IVF weight, however?  The 5kgs I put on in two weeks has never really gone.  When I was first diagnosed with a chronic illness seven years ago, I went on a very strict anti-inflammatory diet and lost a lot of weight and got back to the size 8-10 I spent most of my 20s being, but it just wasn’t sustainable.  I’m a very happily curvaceous size 12 hourglass now but I try not to get hung up on size tags.  I have everything in my wardrobe from a size 8 and S to 14 and XL and they all seem to fit.  I’m perfectly OK with being a size bigger in my 30s, as I head into my 40s, than I was in my 20s.

After seven years of chronic illness, I’m clawing my way back to health.  I’m regaining the strength and muscle tone which was lost from years of being movement restricted.  I don’t diet – ever – but I do implement lifestyle changes if I notice that my favourite jeans are a bit tight, say.  Life is to be lived and celebrated and enjoyed.  I know that it wouldn’t be that difficult for me to be a size 8 again.  But … I don’t want to.  I love being a size 12.  I think a bit of plump in the face is cheaper than Botox too!  I’m fully embracing being an hourglass.  I’m not 25, I’m nearly 40, recovering from a chronic illness with dodgy hormones to boot.  I try to live a life of moderation, by starting the day off with a good protein-filled breakfast so I can enjoy a little afternoon treat.

Just me – happy and aiming for strong and healthy

Luckily, I’m a smart girl, if I do say so myself, and I know the tricks magazines (and celebrities and their managers) employ to make the photos look the best.  What makes me sad is how many people know all this, yet it still infiltrates their thinking to the point that “getting body back after baby” is a constant source of discussion and an automatic assumption that it is very high on a new mother’s priority list.

Even if I was lucky enough to be able to afford around the clock help such as personal trainers, nutritionists, chefs and baby nurses, I would still take the time to enjoy and cocoon and relax and learn and grow.  Food delivered on request and my house cleaned would be fantabulous though!

I’m not judging people who get their bodies back quickly, and I know there are some people out there who literally do just snap back.  Usually incredibly fit and / or younger women, and props to them.  I just don’t think it is necessary to display bikini shots on the front page of magazines that aren’t titles like “Bikini Babes” or swimwear catalogues.  My diatribe doesn’t come from a place of jealousy or envy.  It comes from a place of I DON’T CARE.  It comes from respect for women, for motherhood, for just enjoying this special time in our lives – I wish magazines would respect us too.

Kimba Likes // a style blog with a fun family twist! @kimbalikes

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  • Lisa Barton-Collins - 2 February 2013 - 12.12 pm

    Well said, and so true! You are beautiful, inside and out. xxReplyCancel

  • Emily - 1 February 2013 - 11.07 pm

    I gotta firstly I LOVE the All Blacks baby suit!! It took me a year after having my 3rd to finally get my shite together and say enough is enough! I don’t even read those magazines as they’re full of crap – although good for a perve at times. My body shape has changed after having 3 in 3.5 years but so has my attitude towards my body – and for the better! Emily@ Have a laugh on meReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 7 February 2013 - 7.44 am

      The Welshman brought that back from an Auckland business trip and I got it for Xmas. Isn’t it divine! A teddy bear wears it now x I think that’s the perfect summation – my body shape has changed but so has my attitude. My life mantra!ReplyCancel

  • EssentiallyJess - 1 February 2013 - 8.50 pm

    Here here! I’m the first to admit I don’t have a healthy body image, and i really struggled post baby because I compared myself.
    It’s taken 2 and a half years after baby number 4, but I’m finally feeling really good about myself nowReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 7 February 2013 - 7.45 am

      That is awesome to hear, Jess. And by the way, anyone who bumdances in shorts in front of a camera? Pretty confident, I’d say!ReplyCancel

  • Declutterbug - 1 February 2013 - 8.36 pm

    I think you look fab.
    I would love to say I don’t care about my post baby body, but I do… Sadly I care and cringe about the ‘twin skin’ I have been left with after my last two were born. Nothing but surgery will make it go away and I can’t stand looking at it. The weight I don’t mind.. I am fine with my title bit of pudge 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 7 February 2013 - 7.48 am

      Why, thank you! Yeah, there are definitely bits I don’t love, but that’s what good knickers and dressing well are for – disguising the bits I don’t love! My tummy is my bete noire – I had IVF, coming dangerously close to overstim, then a twin pregnancy where I sadly lost one in the first trimester, and an EnormoBaby and EnormoBoobs. It got stretched and stretched!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Hardy Brown - 1 February 2013 - 7.56 pm

    What a great heart-felt post, I love your candour and wisdom. Although my body did snap back when I had my first child almost 16 years ago, there didn’t seem to be the pressure then – ‘yummy mummies’ just didn’t exist. You just got on with the job of looking after the baby. However, by the time I had my son in my late 30’s things had changed, and I was more aware of the whole image thing. Like you, I couldn’t really exercise in the second pregnancy which made a difference, along with the fact I was 7 years older. Anyway, I think you’ve got a wonderfully healthy attitude and I really enjoy your posts xReplyCancel

  • Larks - 1 February 2013 - 6.48 pm

    It especially annoys when it’s someone like Kourtney Kardashian. Because I know exactly how she lost 20 kgs… personal trainers, dieticians, nannies, the drive to lose weight that must come with a ‘career’ based largely around your appearance. I don’t see anything wrong with that and I’m happy for her and everything but none of that is at all relevant to my life. The headline may as well read, “Tiger Woods: How he got good at golf again.”
    And I love your point about how women know all the tricks about angles and photoshop. While I am not particularly interested in Kourtney Kardashian I would be interested to read an article entitled, “Kourtney Kardashian: Top lighting, posing, and photo editing tips.” That would at least have the advantage of being genuine.ReplyCancel

  • Grace - 1 February 2013 - 6.06 pm

    Those mags are a bunch of BS. On the front page there’s Kourtney Kardashian in her post baby bikini body (Photoshopped, of course) then inside are pages and pages of the before (plump and healthy) and after (skeletal thin) shots of all these celebrities. They can’t make up their mind for what they stand for because they stand for nothing. Just trying to sell copies.ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 7 February 2013 - 7.50 am

      Exactly. They try to differentiate themselves from the market, but they’re just the same. They use papped pictures (not quite as bad as some of the other ones), they spout about body tolerance but then I think every Who for weeks and weeks has had diets, bodies, bikinis etc on the cover.ReplyCancel

  • mumabulous - 31 January 2013 - 9.58 pm

    If these mags are anything to go by celebrities dont do anything but gain and lose weight. You look fantastic and I am so glad to hear that after years of struggle you’ve got your health back. That is the most important thing.
    BTW – Baby boyo is super cute.ReplyCancel

    • Kim-Marie Williams - 7 February 2013 - 7.51 am

      Thank you, Mumabulous. It is super awesome! And my gods, yes he is. I could eat him up! xReplyCancel

  • B - 31 January 2013 - 6.27 pm

    This is GREAT! So true….

    Boy oh boy, would I love a sit down and have a long chat with you. I bet a lot of our journey has been similar…. It must have been – we wear the same perfume and everything!ReplyCancel

  • CCCMummy - 31 January 2013 - 10.53 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! so great and so true. It was the last thing on my mind after having a baby, I would much rather spend time with bub then working out and im happy with my body, its changed size and shape but im proud of it and what it achieved!
    Thank you for posting! you look fab by the way 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Norlin Mustapha - 31 January 2013 - 10.22 am

    YES! I don’t care either because who cares if you can wear a bikini after birth? Not like I would even if I did have that body. Love this post Kimba. My body didn’t “snap” back into pre-preg after I gave birth to Miss 11, & having a MIL who pointed that out just doesn’t help either, nor having a SIL whose body DID snap back. And that sort of contributed to a lot of my body hang ups. I did lose it all but that’s because I had to go on a strict diet of no gluten, no dairy, no soy, because Miss 11 had severe allergies & I was breastfeeding.

    Showing us photos of bikini bodies after having babies just makes those who haven’t had kids feel more insecure about their bodies. Not us because we know the reality. I’m just waiting for someone to dare ( a celeb of course) show their body a week after giving birth. The REALITY without going on silly diets. But then again, I’ll be waiting for pigs to fly.ReplyCancel

  • Melinda @ Shop Me Chic - 31 January 2013 - 8.06 am

    I completely get this, I don’t care either! I’m a bit of a Kourtney Kardashian fan (no secret there!) and I will snap up any magazine that has an article with her photographed with her kids or talking about motherhood but “how I lost 20kg” plastered across a bikini shot doesn’t drum up any interest from me.

    I was lucky that my body snapped back quite quickly after both boys (I’m guessing that’s an age thing) and while it was nice to put on my old jeans or wear something different to the clothes that I’d worn on rotation for the past 9 months, I didn’t really care either! I was too busy getting to know the little people I had brought into the world.

    I would love to see a photo of a post pregnancy celebrity on the cover of a magazine with a title like “I’m spending time getting to know the new love in my life, the weight can wait!’ReplyCancel

  • Rachel from Redcliffe Style - 31 January 2013 - 7.56 am

    Great post!! I don’t care either. Rachel xxReplyCancel

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