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How to make peace with your post-baby jelly-belly

By August 3, 2015December 1st, 2020Health & Wellness5 min read
Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa

I remember the day that I knew something wasn’t quite right with my tummy. I had just had a hot shower and the area around my belly button region was so blotchy and red and just felt like jelly. I knew something was wrong, being 12 weeks postpartum and still looking 4 months pregnant. I had always had a super flat tummy, and although I had a big baby of 4,1 kg’s, my tummy should’ve been flatter by now.

I turned to google as I usually do for everything and I came across a Youtube video that showed you how to self check for diastasis recti – I did the test and when I felt how large my tummy gap was, I burst into tears. I felt completely broken! I felt like I had been sewn back together all wrong and that I was going to look like that forever.

Oh the tears…

The fact that I burst into tears shouldn’t have surprised me though, at that stage of my new mommy journey I would cry for just about anything. A good friend reminded me that it had taken me 9 months for my tummy to get that big, so I should allow at least 9 months for it to go back to “normal”.

I don’t really know why I had this idea in my mind that my tummy would ever go back to normal. I suppose it’s the photos we see of all these celebs who are back in their bikini’s in no time, relaxing on the beach with their little bundles of joy and their six packs and their thigh gaps… grrrrr. B*tches. Of course we forget to take into account that most of them probably have full time housekeepers, nanny’s, hair stylists, personal trainers and chefs. Double b*tches.

Thankfully, nothing is permanent. Including pregnancy. (Shoo, thank goodness for that!) And including feeling depressed about what your body looks like after you’ve gone through a pregnancy. I’ve been working very hard on trying to get my tummy ‘back to normal’ for these past few months with the help of Denise (the lady from the previous video). I must say that I can see a huge difference since I’ve been going to her classes, however I’ve started to come to terms with the fact that life, as well as my body, will just never be the same as it was before baby. And THAT’S OKAY!

We place so much pressure on ourselves to try and be what society wants us to be, with regards to birthing our babies in a certain way, feeding them in a certain way, getting them into a routine, and fitting back into our pre-preggy clothes again. Why do we do this? Because of what we think other people think we should be doing! So we’re judging ourselves based on what we think other people are judging us for. Haha, isn’t that confusing?

Proud to be real

I stumbled across a shared post on facebook yesterday about Mom of 3, Rachel Hollis, who shared a photo of her bikini body with a message to fellow Moms about how she takes pride in her stretch marks – and for the first time I thought to myself – THAT is what the magazines should be showing. REAL WOMAN, with REAL BODIES. (See pic below)

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa

Credit: @MsRachelHollis/TheChicSite

Isn’t she an inspiration? And she looks beautiful. And happy.

“I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini,” Rachel wrote on Facebook. “I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy… (which is something I didn’t even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it.”

Preach it sister!

I’m not quite sure if I’ll be bold enough to hop back into my bikini again this summer (I’m secretly hoping one pieces are going to come back into fashion…) but I do know that I already feel 100 times better than I felt when I was 3 months post-birth.

So this post is for any mama’s who are feeling a little down and out about what they look like after baby – please remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE – there are millions of us who felt exactly the same way and there are things you can do to help bring back your muscle tone and bring back the confident you. (She’s still alive, I promise!)

I’ll be chatting to Denise in the near future to ask her to share some of her best tips with you for getting your pre-preggy confidence back.

Ubuntu Baba Baby Carriers | South Africa

Shannon McLaughlin

Shannon is the Founder of Ubuntu Baba baby carriers. She is passionate about helping new parents adjust to 'life with baby' through the art of babywearing and talking about the reality of motherhood in the 21st century.


  • Ronny Kamon says:

    Hi Shannon,

    This was a lovely post and I must say I felt really encouraged after I read it. You should know that you are not alone in this fight and I’m glad you are doing something about it. I am curious about the type of exercises that you do in your classes and their impact. I hope you write something about it soon.

  • Bianca says:

    Great post Shannon! We are too hard on ourselves and moan when indeed we should be joyful. I too, have diastasis recti and now with a third pregnancy, the bulge is bigger than before. I hope to be accepting my jelly belly after I give birth. I was quite shocked first time around. It’s all about perspective. We should focus on the beautiful journey with our new squish and less on superficial appearances. Thanks for a sober article on the reality of post birth bodies.

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