Women who “look better after baby” spill the beans

 

It’s a sad fact that 65% of women with young kids claim to be unhappy about their bodies, and feel less confident as a result.

As one woman explained:

“Getting rid of the baby weight is hard, and no one really warns you about the massive change to your body post-baby.”

Rightfully, this issue is given a lot of focus in the press, and online, where images of un-photoshopped bodies are welcomed – and increasingly being demanded – as they make us recognise and understand what’s ‘normal’.

 

What real mummy tummies look like

As a testament, this article on what real mummy tummies look like was one of the most popular on Fox in Flats over the last couple of months, and one of my personal favourites, due to the overwhelming number of people who said it had made them feel more confident about wearing a bikini this summer, realistic stretch marks and all.

But wouldn’t it be great if more of us were happy about our bodies?

What would need to happen for this to occur?

What changes might we need to make?

And is it ever possible to be really happy about your body post-baby?

Or is this just one of those elusive fantasies played out inside the pages of glossy magazines?

 

Delving deeper into the Fox in Flats research on Motherhood and Fashion, it seems we may have stumbled across a resource that can help, as there are in fact a group of women who are really happy with their bodies after having kids.

20% of women claim to “look better now than they did before the baby.”

The comments from these mothers revealed that they feel empowered, strong, healthy and pretty damn good about themselves.

As one stated:

“I feel like Superwoman.”

 

So, in a mission to garner some tips and ideas for how we can all feel that little bit happier about our bodies, I rounded up a bunch of these women and, over a skim flat white, got them to spill their secrets on how, and why, they reckon they look ‘better after baby.’

 

9  things they did that really made a difference

 

1. Learn about nutrition.

“When I first discovered I was pregnant, I spent time finding out exactly what I should be eating to ensure my baby would be nourished as much as possible, and changed my eating habits completely. Turned out that eating the right things for him also made a big difference to my body, and for the better.”

Rachel

 

2. Getting equipped.

“I bought a Mountain Buggy which was designed as an all-terrain jogging pram. I’d take my baby jogging with me. And when I had my second child, I bought a second-hand twin-seater from eBay so I could take them both. They loved getting outdoors and it gave me the freedom to keep running.”

Cath

 

3. Doin’ it for the kids.

“I had a lightbulb moment when I realised I had to do everything in my power to be healthy and stick around for Bella. So I started classes at the gym (she went into the crèche) and watched what I ate. She motivates me to look after myself.”

Bec

 

4. Fuel up in the morning.

“I’d have a huge breakfast including a couple of boiled eggs. The protein in the eggs kept me feeling fuller for longer, so I was less likely to grab a sweet treat on the run for morning tea.”

Jo

 

5. Grazing on good.

“I found it hard to find the time to sit down and eat, so had plenty of quick healthy snacks ready to go: almonds, dried apricots, rice crackers, and yoghurt. It kept my energy levels up so I was able to take her for long walks in the pram.”

Tracey

 

6. Water, water everywhere!

“I always made sure I drank loads of water to stay hydrated (especially while breastfeeding!). I’d fill a bunch of water bottles at the start of the day and aim to work my way through them. Keeping hydrated stopped me snacking unnecessarily, and all those trips to the loo kept me on the run ;)

Lisa

 

7. Avoid the treat table.

“In my mother’s group it became a tradition for us to bring treats to share – cakes, biscuits, chocolates. I’d bring a healthier option – like a fruit platter, and I’d limit myself on the cup cakes. I know how I can pack on weight if I indulge, so I was careful not to dig in.”

Jenny

 

8. Total change of lifestyle.

“Before having Jack, I was working stupid hours, and was pretty much chained to my desk. But since I’ve been on maternity leave, and subsequently started freelancing, my general health and well-being have gone off the scale. I now eat and drink more sensibly, and as I don’t drive, we walk everywhere. I am about 12 kilos less than I was when I first got pregnant.”

Kelly

 

9. Accepting my flaws.

“My looks are far from perfect – but I still think they’re better than before I had kids. My boobs are less pert, my tummy is more wobbly, and I’ve aged. Yet, getting outside and active with the kids has made me fitter and stronger than ever before, and I’m proud of that. So I just focus on the positive parts, and those parts are better than before I had kids.”

Rae

 

I am Superwoman, yes I am!”

This song by Alicia Keys always makes me feel uplifted and empowered, and reminds me of how awesome we are as women. And one of the best things about women is the way we can all band together to help one another.

Imagine if we could all band together with loads of tips to help all of us feel better and look better?

Imagine if, next time we take the survey, there is an increase in the number of women who feel good about their bodies?

Imagine if there is an increase in a feeling of confidence toward our bodies?

Imagine if the number of women who think they ‘look better after baby’ increased?

Imagine if that were you?

 

 

What tips can you share for looking and feeling great after you have kids? 

And how do you feel about your body after having kids?


baby hanger1 DIY Disco Helmet via Leather Tuscaderos long lost cousin

 

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Comments

  • http://twitter.com/eatplaybond Erin Smith

    I was quite active before I fell pregnant and I am convinced that it helped me to have a smooth pregnancy and labour, I also got back to my pre-baby shape pretty quickly. After having Skye I did absolutely no exercise apart from the occasional walk until she was around 7 months old because I was concerned that too much too soon would impact on breastfeeding, plus I was just too damn tired.
    Despite being fit and healthy before baby I was never confident with my body, after having Skye I am happy with my body for what it has done as well as how it looks, I even linked up with the I Heart My Body campaign late last year
    http://eatplaybond.blogspot.com.au/search/label/I%20Heart%20My%20Body%202011

    • Anonymous

      yay! Good for you – and I love that campaign. x

  • http://www.baublesbubblesbags.com/blog Norlin

    Well, I quit smoking when I fell pregnant and haven’t had one since. It has made a great impact on my skin, health and I probably smell better too! LOL! Seriously though, watching what I eat has also helped & not to mention picking up after them – great exercise I tell you, without having to join a gym!

    • Anonymous

      Oh yes, its amazing the positive impact giving up the ciggies can have to your skin! And picking up after kids – GREAT exercise!

  • Jade BellyDance

    I look better and worse since having kids!

  • http://thebirdiesbower.wordpress.com/ Teegstar

    LOVE this article! My bub is only 5 months old and I’ve still got a bit to go to get back to my former shape (or an approximation of it!) but I have been so amazed at what the human body is capable of through the process of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. I have such respect for my body now I see what it can do. 

    From a style perspective, I don’t know if I look better after baby, but I have noticed that when I do have a reason to dress up, I put a bit more thought and effort in to my look than I would have pre-baby, because I want to make the most of those times!

    • Anonymous

      Oh thanks Teegstar!
      It really is incredible what our bodies can do. 
      I totally get what you mean about nights out – it’s become a real production for me and I look forward to it as it’s not several times a weekend like it used to be – ha ha ha! 
      Hey, and they say it takes “as long as you put on the weight to take it off” – but obviously it can be shorter, or longer depending on the individual. xA

  • http://jadebellydance.com/ Jade

    opps didn’t mean to hit the post key yet – I look better and worse since having kids! My skin got worse, my boobs better, my sense of style improved. I took up belly dancing to have some ‘me time’ , got obsessed and have learnt so much. My self-esteem improved, my stomach looks great, child birth got easier and I now have a love for sparkly things and wear less men’s clothing! I guess having kids made me think – “Well I ‘m not getting younger, best make the most of what I have got”.

    • Anonymous

      Jade, that’s so inspiring. I think ensuring that we make time for ourselves – and be good to ourselves –  makes for a happier person. 
      And realising you’re getting older is a good motivator for appreciating what we’ve got. 
      I laugh when I look at photos of my wedding day – 11 years ago – and see that gorgeous “flush of youth” – the unlined skin etc. And at the time I didnt realise. Now, I’ve got lined skin, but appreciate myself so much more. xA

  • http://www.sandragale.blogspot.com/ Sandra Gale

    It’s great to read about women who are happy with their bodies. My weight hasn’t changed too much, but my shape has changed. I don’t know if I look better post-child, but I certainly know that as I have gotten older I feel better and more confident about who I am and how I dress, and I think I look better as I get older, which is more important than whether I actually do look better or not.

    • Anonymous

      That’s an EXCELLENT point Sandra. Feeling better and more confident is the key. xA

  • http://www.themummyautobiography.com Miss Pink

    I lost a fair bit of weight after having Bluey. I wasn’t breastfeeding him when I lost the weight either, and i wasn’t excersising or watching what I ate. I guess I am one of those rare rare people. My body while it isn’t better in all area’s overall it’s better than it was pre-kids. My boobs are much bigger than they were before having kids, although saggier and stretchier. My stomache isn’t as flat, but I am much more slim than pre-children.
    I don’t have much self love, but I do acknowledge that yes, my body does look better.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Miss Pink – what, if anything have you done differently since you have had kids? Have you changed your lifestyle at all? 
      And to the ‘self-love’ point…. xA

      • http://www.themummyautobiography.com Miss Pink

        Wow thank you Andrea! I am not sure I do anything to make a difference. I am less active physically than I was pre-children (I used to go camping and on hikes at least once a month). My eating habit’s really haven’t changed. I do get quite a lot less sleep, but after I had Bluey it was still the same.
        I don’t have any iron deficency’s or anything like that. It’s really quite strange.
        So my lifestlye has changed, but everything points to my body reacting in a different way.

        • http://twitter.com/tattoomummy tattoomummy

           I did the same thing… I eat a bit better now, but not much. My grandfather was a beanpole and the doctors think that having a baby has just kicked my metabolism back into gear, they did tests because I lost so much weight so quickly.

  • Accidentallentil

    Great article! I actually just wrote about how I ended up lighter post pregnancy than I was before…but that was 100% due to having fulltime morning sickness for the whole pregnancy. We joked that i would put on all the weight once I’d HAD bub, and once I gave birth I did eat like a horse, but i kept the weight off…I reckon it was due to breastfeeding, stressing out, and also spending many hours a day walking to get bub to sleep!

    I feel really confident about my body post bub, even if my boobs will never be the same. I think you can;t help but respect your body after it managed to create AND birth a bub!

     (see my little post about morning sickness my blog here: http://accidentallentil.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/4-things-i-didnt-expect-about-morning.html

  • AJ

    I’m on a “get healthy, get fit, lose weight” mission right now… It’s amazing how good food and great exercise can make such a big difference to the way you feel and look!

    I was one of those “I just don’t have time blah blah blah with two young girls….” people – but then I decided (along with the support of my hubby) to JUST F**KEN DO IT!!! I’m loving it and have so far lost 2.4kg (with the help of Michelle Bridges book)… I’m feeling awesome – only a few more Kgs to go and I’ll be back to the weight I was when I got married 8 years ago!!!

    • FoxInFlats

      High fives sister! x

  • http://twitter.com/tattoomummy tattoomummy

     Stop trying to follow the trends and dress the way the makes you happy. Getting dressed every morning should be fun.

    And believing in yourself is a big one… how are we meant to teachour kids to love who they are if we don;’t love who we are?

    • FoxInFlats

      GREAT points here! x

  • Sarah Malla

    It took me until after my little girl’s 1st birthday to kick myself into gear and do something about the pregnancy weight (I gained 25kg all up during my pregnancy, and held on to 15 of those post birth). After that I did Michelle Bridge’s program, joined a group of amazing women in an exercise group and have completely changed my lifestyle, and so am now heaps leaner than I was pre-pregnancy. I look better, without a doubt! Also have loads of energy for playing, find exercise fun (who’d have thought?!) and have about a million times more self confidence. I think that it’s just not a journey I would have taken if I hadn’t had a baby.

    • FoxInFlats

      Wow that’s so inspiring! Thankyou for sharing.

  • Fi @ My Mummy Daze

    I love this post Andrea. I think I’ve learned to respect my body a lot more since having kids and don’t take it for granted. I’ve realised that I took for granted the body I had as a younger woman because I didn’t have to work at it. Now I have to actively exercise and eat good food very consciously to achieve a body I’m confident with. If only I appreciated my trim & taut bod back then while I had it! Fi xxx

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Fi,
      Oh the things we wish we knew when we were younger!

      I also think that having kids makes you more conscious about your long term health too so we can stick around for our little ones. That’s a great motivator more me!
      X A

  • Rachelle

    Love this post! I think I look better now than I did before I had my son. I gained a healthy 15 kilos while pregnant but was back to my pre pregnancy size 6 within four months. And although I was really pleasantly surprised at how easily I got back to my original size it’s actually not why I think I look better because the boobs are definitely not as perky (but they have fed a very hungry little boy) and the hips are little wider. i look after myself better these days and it shows. I less crap, drink water and have dragged my sneakers out of the closet. I’m really motivated to give my son good habits from the get go my husbands family has really struggled with obesity and has had to change as an adult and its so much harder! I love the lose the baby weight website for good healthy recipes and I have learned so much about nutrition since being pregnant. The Thai place is no longer a go to for us and we are both healthier for it and want to give our son the best spring board! I think it’s all down to how you feel not how you look it shines from the inside out :)

    • FoxInFlats

      “I think it’s all down to how you feel not how you look it shines from the inside out :)” ABSOLUTELY! And it’s such a great thing to give our children good habits. That’s what it’s all about, right? xA

  • Sharon

    I’ve had three children in under 4 years. After my first two I exercised frequently, including walking whenever I could with the pram. It took me approx 12 mths to lose my weight each time. After my third I maintained my previous level if exercise but instead focused more on my calorie intake. Using this method I dropped my weight within 4 months and managed to even get below my first pre pregnancy weight. I am a big believer on drinking lots of water too to avoid snacking unnecessarily. I feel great considering what my body has been through these past years.

    • FoxInFlats

      Wow – good on you! Yes, food really has the largest impact on our shape in so many ways. A

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