Post Baby Body? Post Baby Sex? 7 New Mums Share Their True Feelings
Don’t quote me on these percentages, but could we possibly estimate that 8 out of 10 women aren’t huge fans of their post baby body? And although it’s termed post baby, those issues perhaps begin to manifest during pregnancy: weight gain, stretch marks, skin colorations, swellings and so much more. It’s not all gloom though. Some people are excited about the weight, and of course many love the pregnancy glow!
As a first time mum the not-so-pretty aspects and body changes can be a bit upsetting, but many times it’s pushed to back because of the anticipation of the baby! So when the baby arrives and many months later the body hasn’t “snapped back” to its previous form - the emotions begin to come to the fore and a new mum’s perception of her body could possibly affect intimate relationships with her partner.
In this post, seven first time mums share how they felt about their post baby body, how this affected intimacy with their partners and their choice of post-baby contraceptives!
It’s so hard to put into words how my post baby body made me feel. But one thing I know is that I didn’t like the stretch marks on my abdomen! To think that I had them at 33 weeks - so close to the end. Ugh! But then I love the booty I got from the pregnancy. Thankful for little (or maybe big?) wins at least!
Seven months in and honestly, I can’t say I have snapped back, but people who see me say I have. I recall the first week of resumption at work, a female admin staff in my office came over to touch my waist to be sure I wasn’t wearing a girdle,waist clincher, postpartum belt - or whatever else it is called. Also, my mother-in-law keeps talking about how I don’t have “baby tummy”.
I never really thought about how my spouse viewed my new body. But I decided to ask him, and here was his response “I haven’t seen your body any other way: although I’d like it if you can lose a little weight”. So there we have it I guess.
Post baby sex? That took three whole months! I honestly don’t know. I thought I was ready but in hindsight, I was not. It’s been a bit tricky sorting any form of contraceptives. I keep planning to, but I have not gotten round to it. I’m sure the research reports I have read are not helping me in taking a decision. The one thing I do know is that I don’t want to add any weight as a result of contraceptives!
I had my baby via a cesarean section and within two days, my belly had reduced drastically. I could still feel the little bulge, but it wasn't so noticeable to everyone else. I breastfed my daughter exclusively for the first 6 months, and maybe this helped as my body kept re-adjusting. I’m currently back to my normal, moderate size- the body size I had before pregnancy. And so to everyone, it looks like I have fully snapped back. And I guess that’s how it looks on the outside.
But within me, I can feel a lot of changes. My breasts do not feel the same; they seem to have sagged a bit. I am still struggling with how they currently look. Sometimes, I think I over used the breast pumps while breastfeeding. Literally, I pumped 4-5 times everyday for 6 months! I most certainly won't be doing this again - and I’m gradually learning to accept my new body.
Because I could feel the heaviness of my breasts with milk and the pain from the C-section, it took me a while to get back under the sheets. A while, being about four weeks. In fact, after taking care of the baby and stressing so much, I always had little or no energy for intimacy. I was also coping with the changes of being a mum; it was a lot to take in.
My husband really doesn't mind that my body looks different, he only checks the mark on my belly from the C-section to know if it has fully healed. We laugh from time to time about how my boobs have dropped. I’ve chosen not to use any contraceptive medication/device because it took a while to have my daughter and I don’t want any drug/device that would tamper with my reproductive parts. I am thinking about it now and I would most likely get one after having my second child.
Getting my body to snap back has been a struggle, and I’m not there yet. It’s still a journey and I’m still working on it. I remember coming back from the hospital and seeing my body, I wasn’t so impressed. I thought to myself “why is my stomach so black?”, “why is it still so big?” “Why am I fatter than before?”
Along the line, I began to lose the weight and I lost quite a bit of weight in three months. I then went ahead to employ the services of a fitness coach. I did that for like two months but I wasn’t losing any weight so I just backed out. I told myself “I think I’m at the point where I’m going to accept my new body and work towards where I want to be”. This came from being the girl who was so confident about her body wearing shorts happily, to this person who wouldn’t even want to dress up in front of her husband. It hasn’t been easy but now I’ve gotten my confidence back.
My husband never really said anything negative about my body. He’s been so supportive. He bought me all (and is even still buying me) all sorts of waist belts and tummy tuckers! I think that was his own way of saying “we’re in this together; anything you want me to buy that would take you back to your former self, I would buy for you and help you out”
I wanted to use the Mirena IUD. I was even supposed to go back to the doctor to get it fixed four months after I had my baby. But after I did my research and asked some of my older friends what contraceptives they used, they all advised that it was better to do the withdrawal method or use condoms. I had to talk to my husband and then we decided to use the latter - so far, so good!
Despite my new body and just having a baby, I really wanted to get back to our regular intimacy fairly quickly - but my husband wasn’t having it! At first I felt bad, wondering if it was because of my new body, my stomach or my added weight gain. But in truth it was based on two things: first, but he was scared I’d be hurt and rather importantly, he didn’t want us having another baby too soon seeing as my period started six weeks after I had my baby! So, it took us a good six months with the first time being a bit of a struggle really - but right now, it’s all good and we’re back to normal!
My post baby body makes me feel a number of things! On the one hand I feel like superwoman for carrying and giving birth to another human being. But, on the other hand I know I would actually pay to have a little nip and tuck done to remove the pouch and the bulge on my belly that bothers me so much. Not to mention the stretch marks! It is honestly a constant battle between feeling proud of myself and thanking God for this gift and saying to myself “should you really eat that donut?”
I was always a curvy girl before having my son and I have definitely lost my baby weight, as most of it was water retention - but I wouldn’t say I have snapped back fully. With my pregnancy I not only looked like the size of a house but also like I was carrying one too (the doctors induced me in the end as I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia). I didn’t have to do much at all to lose most of it, I think exclusively breast feeding in the beginning helped a lot.
My husband loves my body, mum pouch included, and actually says that I’m sexier for carrying our child! I waited 6 weeks to have sex after having my son and it felt so weird. Let’s just say things were a lot tighter down there than I had expected. I am currently using natural family planning as a form of contraception as hormonal methods do not work for me. I get grouchy, irritable, bloated, get darker... the list is endless and I personally don’t think it’s worth the stress!
I recently self diagnosed myself for this condition called Diastasis Recti, where your abdominal muscles stretch during pregnancy but don’t go back to its original state, causing a bulge in the middle of your tummy. After months and months of feeling like I still looked pregnant and wondering why my belly didn’t go down like all my friends who even had babies after me, it was kind of a relief to know that it’s because of the condition and not anything that I was specifically doing. Now I am aware of it, I can do the right exercises and breathing to try and close the gap and get my stomach back to being “on fleek”!
I was a size 8 before I got pregnant and by the time I was due, I was a 10 up and 12 down. So yes, my post baby body made me feel chubby (ok, read that as fat!). Two weeks after baby came, I lost a considerable amount of weight. It's been 5 months now but nothing much has changed since then. I was finally able to fit into one of my old pairs of jeans about 3 weeks ago. I was so delighted! Interestingly my husband loves my new body and is not looking forward to any weight loss regimen for me. He is particularly happy that chubby body equals fuller bossom. Oh goodness, that makes me so shy!
I was terribly terrified by the idea of post baby sex because I had an episiotomy. I talked to my husband and he tried his best to allay my fears. We waited for 6 weeks after delivery before we tried. I remember I actually bled the first two times we tried. It was painful and tough for me to even get into it. Things got better with time and I can now say I've gotten my groove back. Insert wide grin. I've been too scared to have an IUD inserted up there so we've basically stuck to other non invasive options: such as the traditional calendar method and condoms - which we’ve explored with quite a bit in terms of the various options. That’s necessary for a bit of spice and fun!
After I had my baby, I lost a lot of weight pretty much immediately, I honestly felt so good! On my first day back at work, a few months later, I went in a jumpsuit, so fly right? it was almost as if I was conscioulsy passing a message to my colleagues “like, y’all that thought I was ugly, back at you!”. I remember an intern who started work after I got pregnant and only knew my dark, pimpled, blown out self, was so surprised!
Anyway, by 3 months my baby’s milk demand doubled. I panicked and started eating. The result: my weight went up to the 93kg, from 81kg. My parents came visiting said to me “you are so fat! You need to lose all these weight”. I cried!
Then I signed up with a weight loss coach and lost almost 10kg.
With all of this, I really wasn’t in the mood for any form of spousal intimacy. I kept giving excuses. “Oh I still feel so tender”; “I don’t want the episiotomy to rip apart”. But my husband is such a gentleman, he’d really just hold my hand and say “it’ll be okay”. Well, guess who got her groove back after 4 months? Yes, me!
I’m very sceptical about pills. My doctor sent me a prescription already, but he also said that I couldn’t miss it and I had to take it at exactly the same time. Why? For a new mum who probably forgets to shower, I think that’s too much responsibility. So for now, I’m free styling and doing a bit more research.
To be honest, I didn’t exactly expect a quick snapback because I wasn’t exercising during my pregnancy. This was for my own sanity, as it was a high risk pregnancy. I did try to take regular daily walks to stay active.
So I wasn’t really shocked by my post baby body. I sometimes tease my husband that his baby has made me way more chubby. In response, he always laughs and says I’m really not. Call it vanity, but that kinda makes me feel good.
Contrary to what they say about breastfeeding and no monthly period, I got mine back at about seven weeks. So it’s been quite easy to know my fertile days, and we’ve just stuck to natural family planning. And I probably didn’t need to bother too much, as it was a very long time before we finally got around to post baby sex. Long time, as in about seven months. It’s still a hit or miss sometimes as baby is always up in our business! It helps that my husband and I both understand each other very well and work around it.
If you’re a new mum, I really think you should just take it easy on yourself. Your body has been through a whole lot and everything will fall in its place eventually!
That last sentence from Kosi seems like a good place to wrap it up. I could relate to bits and pieces of this so much! Interestingly enough, I think I had a pretty decent snap back. I was actually quite surprised at how quickly my tummy went down and how I could fit into my clothes. If I wanted, I could have shown side by side photos like some people tend to do on social media - but I honestly didn’t see any need particularly as not everyone might have similar situation. But whether I blame it on breastfeeding or just my good ol’ love for food, I seem to have gained it all, and even more! Sigh sigh.
And can you feel how careful these mums kind of sound about having a second baby so soon but still so nervous about contraceptives? I remember at my 6 week health visitor appointment, she said something about many new mums getting pregnant just about this time as it’s such a fertile period. She dumped a truck load of leaflets about contraceptives into my hands - many of which I’m yet to read. Why can’t these things just be so simple?
Anyway, how did your post baby body make you feel. If you’re a second time mum, does it get better next time around? What was your experience with intimacy and contraceptives? Please share!