Pre-baby Hayley was always very body conscious. I’ve grown up around dancers, thrust in front of mirrors, usually wearing some form of lycra leotard paired with tight tights and comparison as second nature. So to say that the changes that happened to my body during pregnancy were hard for me to deal with is an understatement.
At 24 weeks I got my first stretch mark, and with it came that sinking feeling that you only really get when you’ve spent 24 weeks diligently scrubbing your belly with bio oil and then find a stretch mark staring you in the face. I knew it would be the first of many. My mum got stretch marks in her pregnancy, so it was always on the cards I guess.
As the weeks progressed, more and more popped up, and at one point I was diagnosed with Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (basically a horrifically itchy rash in your stretch marks), which made them much worse. At 30 weeks, I ballooned. That’s the only way I can describe it. I gained a lot of weight in water (and cake), and my figure completely changed.
Fast forward through an amazing home birth, a second degree tear and an operation to sew me back together, and there lies my new ‘mum bod.’
I hated it.
I looked around 16 weeks pregnant for a solid 8 months after having Lawson. It was only after I joined Slimming World in a desperate attempt to get my old body back that the weight started to shift.
These days, I’ve ditched the Slimming World diet (you can find out why here), I’m still not back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I still probably look about 13 weeks pregnant.
I’ve been imagining what I would look like if I weighed what I did before, whether my belly would still be wrinkly, whether my boobs would still sag. But here’s my issue with my pre-baby body. It housed a completely different person to who I am now. She was obsessed with weight, very conscious about what other people thought, and to put it in one word; bloody naive (OK two words).
I have evolved. And it only really makes sense that my body evolves with me.
So, although I may look at old photos and part of me longs to be that shape again, a bigger part of me is happy just the way I am. Because I know what my body has been through. And I respect my body on a whole new level, and I am proud of each and every stretch mark I have.
My wrinkly belly is a testament to the healthy growth of my baby. My saggy boobs are the story behind how I kept him alive in those early days. Why would I want to change my ‘mum bod’? A mum is exactly what I am, and there’s no way skinny will top that.