During my first lovely very-bump-sticking-out-there-pregnancy I was under the impression that although I would put on weight, I would pretty much go back to normal straight after. I didn't really know anyone who was already a parent and so post-pregnancy I expected my body would be the only thing that wouldn't have changed so drastically.
But of course it changed as drastically as life did. I had an emergency c-section with Fizz and being a size 14 (overweight for my height) I was left with an overhang. It took me quite a long time to get over how my body had changed. It depressed me to look at and I just hated the thought of not being able to get rid of it without surgery.
It was a conscious decision after a very honest discussion with my husband that I needed to change the way I thought about my body. I started running three times a week and working out with a trainer once every few weeks to keep me on track, so by the time I fell pregnant again I felt a lot better about my body. In fact I think in many ways my second pregnancy saved me from falling into body self-loathing.
At 24 weeks I went into hospital with my first bleed, every other week or so I was admitted for further bleeds and my son was born 4 weeks early (although he briefly attempted to be 5 weeks early). When he was in my not-so-rounded tummy he taught me so much.
His bump never really pinged out - although if you look at the photos they tell a different story. I was honest enough to post a bump shot with my trousers lowered under the overhang to show everyone that this is what my body really looked like during my second pregnancy.
You know what? I was proud. I was proud to show off a bump that was mine, that had grown one baby and was trying to keep another safely tucked up. After every discharge I felt relief that my body was doing the right thing and keeping my boy in until he was ready. It felt miraculous in a way.
And this is why I now refuse to feel ashamed of my postnatal body. It's not perfect, it may not spring back, but it's given me two healthy babies and hopefully a third. For that, this overhang/baby hammock needs to applauded. By me, and by you.