Be gentle on yourself.

For those of you following me on Facebook, you may have been expecting this post to be about a kale and halloumi gozleme. Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about this mouth watering recipe, however I feel compelled to write about this topic first. Gozleme will be coming shortly, don’t you worry.

Since becoming a mum, I’m all too aware of the pressure we put on ourselves. To be the best we can possibly be. I read this post by fellow mumma, Emily Tomini which really resonated with me which is why I wanted to share my experience here.

Why is it that as mums we feel like we are not good enough?

For me, I put pressure on myself to please everyone. To be a wonderful mother, friend, family member, colleague, cook, employee and the list goes on. What happens when I don’t measure up to this expectation?

The mummy guilt is the worst. There are days where I feel like I’ve spent too much time working or baking. There are days when I feel like we’ve spent too long in the car, we haven’t spent enough time in the nursery playing, we haven’t read enough books or sung enough songs. I can’t seem to shake it. Every day, I could have been doing something better for my daughter.

I’m aware of this thought process and I’m slowly working on it. I’m taking time to nurture myself, to actively practice self care, to be gentle on myself. Some days its enough to have a happy baby, one who is fed, warm and loved. I achieve this every day, and yet there continues to be this negative voice in the back of my head.

Then there are the external pressures. The ones which lead to this internal pressure. Let’s flashback to my blog post of when I was 37 weeks pregnant and the topic of losing the baby weight was already raised. Before I had even given birth. Then fast forward to last night, where I was watching a controversial TV show about new mothers. Why I was watching this after they outrageously shamed breastfeeding in public, I’ll have no idea. Well actually I do. My babe wouldn’t sleep, my internet wasn’t working and this was really all my brain could muster to watch between the hours of 10pm and midnight. Again I was appalled with what I saw. These women had just given birth and were already exclaiming how quickly they wanted to get back into their exercise regime to focus on their hips, thighs and stomachs. They wanted to be ‘yummy mummies’.

Since becoming a mum, I’ve learnt to empathise with others more and take a non-judgemental approach to one’s parenting style. If this is what will make these women happy, that is wonderful. Each to their own. But it leaves me wondering what impact this has on the thousands of women at home watching this program.

Does this lead them to think that they aren’t good enough? That they need to focus on becoming a yummy mummy? Why was it necessary to mention how much weight they gained during pregnancy, how much they had lost since giving birth ‘x’ weeks ago and how many kilograms they had to lose until they were happy? I understand the producers of this show want this to be a controversial show but what about the repercussions of this behaviour?

It certainly made me think twice about where I am with my post natal body seven months down the track.

We already put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best. Why does our weight and our body need to come under more scrutiny?

You just gave birth to a tiny human. You created human life. There is nothing more amazing than this. It’s time to be gentle on yourself. To nurture yourself.

I know it’s easier said than done. For some there’s stretch marks, lose skin, sagging breasts and surgical scars just to name a few. It’s not easy. It’s not the body you have been living in for your whole life, it’s different. But it’s still you.

Interestingly, my self confidence with my body was the highest it’s ever been during pregnancy. Prior to pregnancy, and even post-pregnancy (if I am being truly honest), I’ve been hesitant to wear tight clothing which accentuated my body. However during pregnancy I embraced my curves, I loved showing off my bump. I didn’t think twice about my gestational weight gain and for that matter didn’t even weigh myself. I have no idea how much weight I gained during pregnancy. Nor is it relevant. My baby was tracking perfectly, therefore I was eating enough to sustain the both of us.

Then Emilia was born. To be honest I was amazed at how quickly my body recovered from pregnancy. But this still didn’t come without its challenges. When was it ok to stop wearing maternity clothing and start trying to fit into my old clothes? How would this make me feel when these clothes didn’t fit?

Upon reflection this seems ludicrous. I had just created human life and here I was disappointed I couldn’t fit into my skinny jeans ‘x’ weeks later.

What also struck me as being quite odd was the open reign people seemed to think they had about discussing my weight pre, during and post pregnancy.

I know they were said with good intentions. Comments such as ‘you must almost be back to your pre pregnancy weight’ etc. However, I wouldn’t dream of commenting on anybodies weight irrespective of whether they had just given birth.

I am so much more than my weight and my body. Why was this such a topic of conversation? Conversely, if I hadn’t bounced back so quickly. Would it be ok for others to comment on my weight?

When Emilia was six weeks old, I got the all clear from my obstetrician to return to exercise. Other than gentle walks I hadn’t been very active post birth, which is completely normal.

The second I had the all clear I booked myself into mum and bub Barre classes. This is a mixture of pilates and ballet. I had taken part in these classes during my pregnancy and loved them. But something had changed upon my return. I was pushing myself too hard and I wasn’t enjoying the classes. As a new mum, you are fatigued enough. This was not helpful.

I stopped going to these classes shortly after this realisation. I changed the intention of my training. I wanted to move my body to feel rejuvenated. I wanted to move my body and create a positive and nurturing environment for my babe. Thats when I started attending mum and bub Yoga and Kangatraining. I didn’t have to book in to these classes. I just attended these when I felt like it. If we had a rough night, it was ok to snuggle in the morning. It was ok that I wasn’t training. I was nurturing myself and my babe.

It’s only been the past week in which I have tried something different. I’m currently trialling a hot pilates and yoga studio. The intention of my training has slightly changed. I want to feel strong, so that I can have the stamina to keep up with my energetic babe. I want a space where I can feel in tune with my body, where I feel like I’m nurturing myself and having a bit of me time, without my gorgeous babe. I don’t attend these classes to lose the baby weight or tone up my tummy, hips or thighs. I attend these for me and so I can be the best mum to my little girl irrespective of the external and internal voices telling me otherwise.

Be gentle on yourself mummas. It’s a long and continuously evolving process. You deserve it.

Tessie xx

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