When I think of the word ‘mum’ I imagine a woman with a ‘mum-tum’, stretch marks and joking with her other mummy friends about how her size 10 jeans no longer fit. A stereotype of what we’re made to think, forgive me. To most women, all of those things after you have a baby does usually knock your confidence and you’re found being envious towards other mothers who lost all of their baby weight within 2 weeks, don’t have a single stretch mark and was able to fit back into their jeans within the same month of giving birth.
Body confidence is something I think to be pretty important in a woman’s life and without it, you become self-conscious and judgmental towards your own body which carried and grew a baby for a whole 9 months. Of course, our bodies aren’t going to be perfect. But with the society we live in, magazines full of perfectly toned celebrities a week after giving birth, their bodies completely airbrushed and not a stretch mark in sight – we’re bound to be a little self-conscious.
If you don’t already know, I gave birth to Alfie when I was just 17 years old. I was judged by family, friends and even strangers for bearing a child at such a young age. Little did I know the judgement would continue even after I gave birth to him. Of course, I had the ‘HOW OLD IS SHE!?’ remarks, and a few stares from different people. I did look young, I was young, but it’s the judgement from that which made me think… Do I even look like a mum?
With both of my children, I didn’t get many stretch marks (bar a few on my rear end!), I lost all of my baby weight within the first two weeks and during the first week, if I wasn’t lounging in my pyjamas, I was wearing my size 8 jeans. After Holly, so many people would try and give me compliments by saying ” wow, you look so good! ” .. ” where’s all the weight gone?! ” and the one which has stuck with me the most… ” you don’t even look like you’ve had a baby! “.
To most, that comment would’ve been such a compliment – you’ve slipped back into your pre-pregnancy jeans and not looking as if you’d had a baby just two weeks prior. But to me, it did kind of upset me thinking that despite my sleep deprivation, my dark under-eye circles, my scruffy mum bun and leaking boobs, I didn’t even look like I’d had a baby. I didn’t look like a mum.
When I’d be in mid conversation with a stranger in a supermarket, I’d mention Holly and Alfie and the shock on their faces was surprising. “Sorry, how old are you? you don’t even look like a mum!” I felt as though the title of ‘mother’ had been ripped away – if I don’t look like a mum, it doesn’t count. If I don’t have stretch marks, it doesn’t count. If I don’t rock a badass mum-tum, it doesn’t count.
While some people only wish they could have a physique like mine, my only wish after having Holly was to try and keep the weight on. ” I wish I looked as though I’d never had a baby! “, I could never comprehend how that was even in the slightest a good thing. Over the years, I have become jealous towards other women who carry a little weight, who are able to moan about the diet they’re finding hard or needing to find a new body cream to help fade their stretch marks.
As if the comments I received during pregnancy weren’t enough ” You’re so tiny, are you sure you’re even pregnant?! ” which quite honestly made me feel like crap, I was then made to (unintentionally I’m sure) feel less of a mother just because I didn’t ‘look’ like one.
The next time you make a comment to another mother regarding her weight, face, or the fact she doesn’t look your stereotypical mum. Please consider that whilst you may think the comments you make are compliments, they may not be seen like that.
To the mothers, who look less ‘motherly’ than some, at least we’ll still be confused for our children’s older sister by the time we hit our 40’s.