I’ll admit it. I have Insta-Envy sometimes. A lot of the time, if I’m honest. Let me explain…
Before getting pregnant, my body was nothing to write home about shall we say. I’ve lost weight and gained again. I’ve been tanned and then pale. I sometimes had hairy legs and sometimes smooth. More often that not though, there was stubble hehe. But the one thing that mattered was that I had control of my body. I could lose the flubber if I really wanted to. I could be as preened as a peacock if I chose not to be so lazy most of the time. I never looked at another woman and wanted to look like her, even when I really wasn’t comfortable in my skin. During pregnancy that all changed. I lost the control. My body was no longer just mine. I saw past it though, even at the size of a small whale/elephant/double decker bus because I knew that my body was performing miracles. This mass of skin, fat and organs was growing an entire human being and keeping him alive daily. My body was nourishing another body and I supposed that a few extra pounds were okay, a small, no pun intended, price to pay to get our son here safely.
Not long after The Boy arrived I faced the mirror. I wanted to see what the aftermath of having a baby looked like. I wish someone had warned me not to bother. To me, my already out of shape body looked even worse. A massive but deflated belly covered in tiger stripes aka stretch marks that seemed to be engraved into my skin like tribal markings. The dreaded but inevitable C-Section Pouch was there and present, my upper arms were larger, my thighs were wider and even more worrying was the roll of fat on my back. Where had this come from? It wasn’t there in pregnancy. This is so fucked up, is all I remember thinking. ‘Give yourself time’ they said ‘you’ll get your body back in a few months’. I didn’t want this second hand, worn out body though, I wanted my old body back. I wanted to wear my jeans again and not elasticated jeans with no buttons like a toddler. I wanted to feel like myself again. Surely that was a small reward to pay for creating a human?
So where does the envy come in you’re wondering? Well what does a new mum do during endless feeds and recovery time? She browses the Gram, obvs. She looks at celeb mums, blogger mums, new mums, multiple children mums. She looks at their pages filled with perfect hair and micro bladed brows, a black silk negligée with delicate jewellery to accessorise. Homes that have actual defined rooms instead of everywhere being covered with some kind of baby related paraphernalia. She looks at the mums that have gotten their body back in 3 weeks, the ones who have had glamorous nights out already, the ones who seem to really have their shit together. These mums are everywhere, making us mere mortals feel kind of shitty about our own lives. I felt crap about myself and then I felt crap for J. If I was lusting to be like these unobtainable women and wondering how they did it then surely she did too?
Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all about how I look. I’m perfectly happy with preferring carbs to kale and being too lazy to shave my legs everyday. Insta-envy comes in other forms too. It comes in the shape of the mum with three under three who has managed to start her own business, learn a new language and take up pilates all whilst on maternity leave. It comes in the shape of the mum who travelled to 10 countries in 10 weeks with a baby on her back all before she returned to work a mere 6 months after giving birth. What was I going to do with my maternity leave? What could I learn? What would I accomplish? Yes, my hands are full with a newborn but that’s clearly no excuse, they’ve done it. Surely I could too. I must not waste this time at all.
So, 10 weeks later where am I at? Well I’ve dropped the Green Eyed Monster out. I’ve kicked her to the side and said no more! No more will we lust after a life that isn’t ours, no more will we hate the body we now have, no more will we pressure ourselves to be better. Because I’ve learned quite quickly that my son is more important than me right now and no, I’m not 100% happy with this new body that I’m in but I am grateful for what it has done and I understand more now that I need to be patient to see change. I’ve reminded myself that Instagram isn’t real life, at least not my real life and that behind most of these photos is a team of people, some awesome lighting and angles but underneath it all at the end of the day, there’s just another mother trying to keep afloat in the whirlpool that is Motherhood.
Peace and Love.