I felt it. Did you? I think we all have. Any comments on my body made me feel awful, and I was already saying negative things to myself.

Even when I got positive comments, it cemented this need to quickly be in shape post-baby for my following pregnancies. And even then, the compliments were often followed up by “for a Mum’”. “You look great for a Mum”, “You’re so fit, for a Mum”…… sigh.

Where does this pressure come from?

Social media, from our peers, celebrities, it’s everywhere. But I firmly believe that this pressure mainly comes from within. I know plenty of women who haven’t ‘bounced back’ post-baby and that is just fine – no one really cares, do they? So why do we let ourselves care? Why do we place so much pressure on ourselves? I think it’s time to stand tall and love your body for what it has created. And if anyone has a problem with that, well, that’s their problem!

Bouncing back implies pregnancy has only a negative impact on your body

This narrative needs to change. Why would we want to go back? We are so much more than we once were – we’ve housed a baby and now we spend many a waking moment caring for them. We have achieved so much. Why is going back desirable? Instead, we should focus on moving forward. Moving forward with our new life, new lifestyle and a new way of living. Looking after ourselves is even more important now, so that should be our focus.

Eating for Two during Pregnancy

I can’t write this article without mentioning this. I think this saying does a lot of damage to our energy levels during pregnancy and put’s even more pressure on us once the baby is born. This doesn’t mean we have to be healthy all the time, it just means we can continue to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle when pregnant. That doesn’t need to stop.

What should we focus on instead?

Instead of bouncing back, the focus fitness-wise should be on repairing and strengthening your body so that you can go about your day to day life more easily and so that you don’t have issues with leakage or back pain as time goes on. Repairing and strengthening your body well post-baby will give you many benefits in the long run. So many women rush back to HIIT or the gym, and we get it! We’ve done it before we knew better too. But you’ll be so grateful for taking the time to heal your body.

Kate Ivey is the owner, founder and trainer at DediKate, the online health and fitness community for busy women. DediKate focuses on fitness, fun and family to help women to build a long term healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

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