Is there really such a thing as a Mumbod? I mean, we all have Bods don't we? Whether it's a Mumbod, Dadbod, or even a Non-Parentbod, we all worry about what people think.
My wife Holly recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Atlas, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 9oz, and as well as changing our lives forever, it also changed her body. Due to complications from 38 weeks, it was recommended that we have a Caesarean section, so after spending a few uncomfortable nights in hospital, we took our first (very sore) steps into the unknown world of parenting.
You can watch our birth story below, which shows the physical and emotional journey we took when our birth plan didn't quite go to plan.
A woman's body changes so much during and after pregnancy, as does the associated emotional impact during the various stages. This, coupled with PND and anxiety, as well as 'mum guilt' and unrealistic body stereotyping in the media, makes the already incredibly difficult task of becoming a mum, even more overwhelming.
We have been told by the media for so long what is beautiful, what is sexy and what we should strive to achieve... and personally I think, 'f*ck that'. Unfortunately, it also appears that other mums are now passing judgement too, even shaming others if they don't meet those 'airbrushed' expectations.
Holly recently shared a picture online showing her post-partum belly and C-Section scar and it received mixed reviews. Most were supportive of the 'brave statement' which showed the realities of a Mumbod post C-Section, whereas others were appalled at sharing such a 'raw' image. One person even comparing her beautiful striped belly to a 'mudslide' - what?
Wobbly, wrinkly, stretched or saggy - Mumbods definitely do exist - and we need to celebrate them. A Mumbod is an incredible gift, that you should be proud to have to earned. After such an incredible transformation women are understandably more aware of their body than at any other time in their adult lives.
With support from partners and more realistic expectations of what a Mumbod looks like, the beauty of motherhood would become normalised again and there would be less pressure to 'bounce back'. Let's face it, my Dadbod isn't exactly billboard ready at the moment. Parenting is tough, who needs the added pressure?
If you've had a baby (and dads this includes you too), you know how difficult those first days, weeks and months can be. I may not have physically had a baby, but I have certainly been involved in the process, from conception, through sleeping on hospital floors, to never sleeping again - and during this time I was in full on survival mode. My job was to keep my wife and baby alive at all costs, eating whenever and whatever I could with one free hand, whilst holding a baby in the other (the whole time covered in sick... or poo).
I must admit that, because of this, my abs were never particularly at the the front of my mind, but for some reason, whilst the Dadbod has become a statement of masculinity, mums are still body shamed for looking perfectly natural after having a baby.
I for one have become more attracted to my wife because of the connection we have made throughout the process and am incredibly proud of what her body endured and continues to endure on her motherhood journey. I'm also pretty happy for my wife to exchange the gift of life for a few extra wobbles here and there - but to be honest I don't even notice them.
We only get one body and we need to learn to embrace it. We should love our bodies, they can do incredible things for us - like help us climb mountains or sail across oceans and perhaps more amazingly, they can have babies. So If you want to work out twice a day, that's fine, or if you want to indulge a little more, then that is also up to you, as long as you are happy. Unfortunately we're not always that happy are we?
So if you do want to claim back your former body, I also support that. Exercise and healthy eating can not only help your body to recover, but it can also be really beneficial to overall well-being - it can increase your energy levels, help you meet new people and improve your confidence. The gym isn't the only option either... check out our "Baby Yoga and Climbing Vlog" for some inspiration.
The most important thing about your Mumbod shouldn't be how it looks, but more importantly, how it makes you feel. Be proud mummas, your body is amazing and you are doing a great job.
- Nomadi Daddy
HuffPost UK Parents is running a week-long focus on 'Mumbod' to empower mums and mums-to-be to feel confident about their bodies pre- and post-baby. We are launching a section on the site that focuses on all aspects of mums' bodies and highlights the amazing things they are capable of. We'd also love to hear your stories. To blog for Mumbod, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up to date with features, blogs and videos on the topic, follow the hashtag #MyMumbod.