Postpartum Body Love

YOU CARRY SO MUCH LOVE IN YOUR HEART

GIVE SOME TO YOURSELF

We as women can be so hard on ourselves, but why?

I just want to take this moment to allow you to breathe, to soak in life, to look at your own body with fresh eyes. Let’s start to respect the postpartum period and really take the time to fully recover. Start appreciating our bodies, what we have achieved, created, nurtured. Life is so fast paced, busy, take time to appreciate the little things.

Look at your body with love, celebrate the lumps and bumps, the stretch marks, the looser skin. This is normal, this is postpartum. Be kinder to yourself, slow down, take real time to recover, ask for help, soak in your newborns goodness.

Show your children you love your body even if your not there yet, don’t hide away under layers, don’t moan about your body in front of them, don’t teach them to obsess over perceived imperfections. Let’s teach the next generation a positive narrative, let’s make a change.

A couple of months ago I asked for people to contact me with their honest opinions on their postpartum bodies. These four women who came to me bared all, to give back to women who are struggling with self-love, they put it perfectly, they highlight that not all our stories are the same but they have all come to one conclusion, one of self-love.

“My first baby was nearly 11 years ago. I was fascinated with my squidgy belly after she was born, it felt so strange to not be pregnant! I was upset about my stretch marks, but being so young it felt like a big deal. Overall I was so excited to be a Mum I didn’t pay that much attention to the other changes my body had gone through, but I knew I wanted another…I was pregnant again about 3 months later. Baby number 2 arrived and so did post natal depression. Not only was I dealing with this but also a complete and consuming self loathing. I hated my body, I developed extreme eating patterns to punish myself. Which continued the cycle of self loathing and it didn’t help my body in anyway! I came through it though and when the postnatal passed so did those feelings of self hate (there is light at the end of that tunnel). I had a big age gap before I had my 3rd child. This time round, yes I have jiggly bits, stretch marks, my boobs are ruined and I would love to be a bit slimmer, but there is nothing about my body that I hate. I’m grateful for my stretch marks as some people don’t get the chance to get those stretch marks. I’m a much stronger and confident person for having my babies and if my body has taken a bit of a battering for them, then that is completely fine with me.” Anonymous

LOVING YOURSELF IS THE GREATEST REVOLUTION

“I had twins nine months ago and I’m amazed at how my body grew those little loves and is now as strong and as fit as ever. Sure, my shape has changed and things are different but I’m so proud of how my body has given life and now gives me strength!! I have a new love and appreciation for all parts of my body now that I didn’t have before.” Anonymous

“After having my first baby (I have 3) I was suddenly in a place of disgust, for the body that was now left behind. Whilst growing the baby your body is changing but for me it seems worth it, because you can feel and connect with that little human inside. Once they are out, suddenly that dangling carrot is no longer there! Instead sleepless nights, sore nipples and your transition into parenthood is at the forefront. Days go by and showers become a luxury, yet we are consistently bombarded with “post baby bodies”! I felt as the months passed my excuses were running out to why I was still looking like this! I thought people would be thinking well she’s had the baby 6 months ago surely she should be up to exercising! Fast forward to baby number 2 and I had similar post baby feelings about my body, more acceptance though but definitely still not happy looking into a mirror. Then babe number three came along (4 months old) I’m so content with this post natal body, pure amazement of what it’s done, grown and fed my three beautiful babes. My children’s innocent comments of my “Roley Poley” tummy would have once shattered me, but not this time around. Nothing but appreciation for that roley poley belly! I do however on days long for the pre baby body I once had or perhaps it’s just the time off away doing something for me on my own. Realistically I know this body won’t ever be the same again and to be honest I’m not sure I want it to be!” Kayla

“I do love my body, but I miss being able to be selfish and spend time on myself. Like time to look after my body.

I feel like I’m a last thought and my body shows this.

I’m trying to treat my body like the incredible miracle it is and celebrate it more. I think self care helps us to remember to love yourself but who has time for this.”  Hannah

NEVER FORGET YOUR OWN WORTH

Thank you to the beautiful Karina who allowed me share her fresh postpartum body shot to highlight this post and how bloody beautiful the human body is ❤️

Sami xx

#BodyProudMums

If you haven’t already seen Mothercare’s Campaign #BodyProudMums then you need too! Thank you Mothercare for joining in with a conversation many of us have been having for some time now & starting a public media conversation about real women’s bodies. It’s about time!

Photos: Mothercare/Sophie Mayanne

When you have a baby the last thing you need to be doing is worrying about loosing weight but this is the situation most women find themselves in. We sadly live in a society where natural bodies are shamed and we are expected to hide our stretch marks in shame, bounce back to our pre-baby weight and not share our new bodies. Well this is something that needs to change.

Mothercare’s new campaign #BodyProudMums features 10 women celebrating the beauty of their post-both bodies, something which is sadly rarely portrayed in the media.

Photo: Mothercare/Sophie Mayanne

Is this enough? No. This is a conversation we need to keep going! We need to keep sharing images of our natural bodies, to keep showing other mothers to be proud of their new body, to embrace it, not to hide it in shame. We need to stop putting pressure on women to “bounce back”.

I personally have wasted the last 10 years of my life hating my body and hiding it away in shame. It wasn’t until my last pregnancy that I started to realise how amazing my body is, what it can achieve and how much it has been through. I’ve wasted all that energy, I’ve inflicted all that negativity on myself and why? Because I thought my body was ugly, that my skin should be smooth, that my stomach should be flat, that it should be like every body you see in the media that is deemed “beautiful”.

This is my why, this is why I work to empower other women to realise how beautiful they are. This is why I want to photograph you at your most vulnerable, to gift you with the realisation of how amazing and beautiful you are.

We need to continue this conversation, share these images, gift the next generation with the power of these images so they can continue the change and share for all these women that are hiding in shame, hide no more, embrace yourselves.

You are amazing.

Sami x