You’re a mother. 9 months pregnancy, followed by a childbirth and now, you’re holding your little angel in your arms. Completely new situation to you, new reality, new responsibilities and so many insecurities whether you can handle it or not. You’re a first-time mother with no experience with babies whatsoever. But you go with the flow, you manage to survive and your little one seems like she/he is surviving too. After few weeks you feel something is missing. You feel lonely, you feel bored, you feel like you’re doing same thing over and over again wondering whether your life would always look this way?
But you keep quiet. You don’t want to say it out loud worrying that people may judge you for being a bad mother. After all, you love your child to bits. Right?
But still, something is missing, and something is not feeling right…What’s missing is having some time for yourself, some ME time on your own. What’s not feeling right is you not feeling good in your own body, as come on, you’re not pregnant anymore but you still look like you’re. You want to start exercising and getting your body back. You want to be back doing the things you loved doing before having a baby and getting your life back. So, you start looking for ways on how to make it possible.
And then you start, slowly but surely and you begin feeling amazing again. You do your workout, you go to the gym, you take on running, you buy a jogging stroller and start training for a race. Your training schedule is quite demanding, you’re breastfeeding, not sleeping through the night and oftentimes you feel really tired. But you still enjoy it though. Physical activity makes you feel happy, that is you being in your zone, that is you doing what you love doing and that is your time when you can get rid of all the frustrations and challenges of motherhood. So, you stay disciplined, you stay committed, regardless how difficult it may be, how much you need to push yourself to be able to accomplish your goal.
And then results start showing up. You’re losing that baby weight. You start seeing that six pack again. You’ve completed that half-marathon or a marathon and your little one is with you on your picture with a medal. Only you know how challenging that was but also how needed that was for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. You feel on top of the world.
There’re people who look at you with respect, they support you and they cheer on you.
But also, there’re people who don’t. People who think that you’re selfish, that you’re a bad mother, that you lost your mind and that you need to be having a serious conversation with someone “sensible” who’s going to tell you how you SHOULD behave. And sadly, these people are often mothers themselves…
Because, let’s be honest…
This is not NORMAL to be completing a marathon months after having a baby.
This is not NORMAL to be running with a buggy.
This is not NORMAL to have a six pack quickly after giving birth.
This in not NORMAL to look great and feel amazing as opposed to be totally exhausted and drained.
What is NORMAL… is that as a mother you SHOULD/MUST behave in a certain way. Should and must made by society, culture, religion or someone’s opinion… as a mother you have all those obligations and you’re not allowed to think differently. You should look after the baby, you should look after the husband, you should look after the house, you should look after everyone around you but yourself. It’s a badge of honour to do everything on your own, not asking for help, pretending that you even enjoy it.
How dare you want to have time on your own when your baby needs you 24/7?
How dare you go out doing something that you want, that gives you pleasure when there’s that little human being relying on you?
How dare you fancy exercising and losing that baby weight when it’s normal and even expected to be overweight after having a child?
I’ve said this before and will repeat it over and over again – if you don’t look after yourself first, sooner or later you won’t be able to look after the ones around you. Why all airlines ask you to put your oxygen mask on first? That’s obvious, that is normal, and everyone is ok with that.
So why it’s not normal when mother wants to have some ME time?
Why it’s not normal when mother wants to go out for a run?
Why it’s not normal when mother wants to exercise, look good and feel great in her body?
Why it’s not normal when mother wants to follow her passion and go for her dreams?
Is she still not the same woman she was before she had a baby?
Has she changed as a person and has no life, no ambitions, no passions, no interests outside of being a mother anymore?
Is anyone asking daddy what happens to a baby when he’s working, when he’s playing football, training at the gym or when he’s going out with his peers? No, no one even questions it.
So, why people are having a go at a mother who has her passion, her dreams, her business, and who is organizing her life to make it work.
They don’t know how challenging that may be.
They don’t know how hard she’s been working to make her goal a reality.
They don’t know how much happier as a mother, as a woman and as a person she feels thanks to doing so.
This is insane that in XXI century we have a culture focusing so much on mother’s belly. First, when she gets pregnant, there’re comments whether she’s not too big or not too small, whether she would be able to lose that weight after or not. I love the way Anna from My Baby Care talks about it in her post: My Pregnancy Body Shaming Story. She stresses how one random comment can change the whole perception of a body for a new mum to be. And what consequences that may have. When that mother finally has her adorable baby, there’re comments whether she can train or not, whether she’s lost her baby weight too fast or not at all, whether she’s allowed to have a six pack or not, not yet. This is crazy. Why mother’s belly is such a hot topic? Can we not leave that mother alone, stop gossiping, stop making her feel guilty regardless of what she’s doing. It seems it’s never good enough. When she’s big – that’s wrong, when she’s small – that’s wrong, when she trains – that’s wrong, when she doesn’t – that’s wrong. Whatever she does – that’s wrong…really?
Although I’m far from idealising skinny model bodies pushed by the media, I’m also far from the opinion that it’s ok to be overweight when you just had your baby. That this is ok to have dirty hair, wearing maternity clothes long after giving birth, stop looking after yourself all together and feeling miserable. And then complaining with other mothers how hard motherhood is, gossiping about the one who is passing you by with a jogging stroller. No, I’m not ok with this at all.
I know how challenging motherhood can be, I know it’s a constant roller coaster when one minute you feel like a super hero, and the other crying your eyes out with powerlessness. I know it’s challenging to find time and energy.
I’m not saying that you HAVE TO be skinny, having six pack few weeks after giving birth or completing a marathon. However, you can if you want to, that it is possible. There’re mothers out there who make it possible. If you want to be one of them, take action. And if you don’t shut up and stop commenting on mothers who do take that action every single day. Maybe when she is exercising and sweating to burn that fat off, you’re sitting on the sofa with a box of ice creams, watching Netflix?
Respecting people is giving them a space to live how they want to live, to do what they want to do. There’s no one way of thinking, no one “right” way of motherhood. Mothers have the right to have big belly after having baby and mothers have the right to have muscular body and six pack as well. And they have the right to show it off, to wear those shorts, to post pictures about their races, to be proud of themselves, not guilty because someone may feel not good enough. They’ve been working hard to look the way they look or to accomplish their goals.
I really dream about the world where everyone gives mothers permission to look after themselves, after their needs, to make themselves a priority. Where it’s normal for mothers to look after their bodies because body is a temple. If you don’t look after your body, you’ll have nowhere to live. I really dream about the world where healthy, active and happy mothers are not being judged but respected for being role models for their children and motivation and inspirations to the ones around.
Are you with me?
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