Taryn Brumfitt loves her post-pregnancy body

You might feel pressure to bounce back to your pre-baby body, but you’ll be happier and healthier if you cut yourself some slack.

Mum-of-three Taryn Brumfitt recalls the pressure she felt five years ago after she’d just given birth to her third child, Mikaela. “I was surrounded by imagery that said you should bounce back to what you looked like before having children,” she says. “I had stretch marks, loose skin and fat in areas I hadn’t seen fat before. I was embarrassed by my body and it was hard to be intimate with my husband.”

Dieting and going to the gym didn’t work, so she saw a plastic surgeon to discuss a breast augmentation and tummy tuck. “A couple of weeks later, I was watching Mikaela play and I had an epiphany – I thought, ‘How am I going to teach her to love her body if I can’t love myself?’ It was a turning point.”

Brumfitt then founded the Body Image Movement, an organisation that’s working to overhaul society’s ideals of beauty, and she has some powerful advice for other new mums. We’re bombarded by so many messages telling us that looking toned brings happiness, but Brumfitt says it’s important to remember our bodies do a lot more than just look good.

Shift your perspective

“My body is healthy and I am able to do anything I want to do,” 

It’s basic biology that your body has to adapt in order to grow and give birth to a baby, and expecting some changes can help you keep a realistic view and stay positive. “By the time I’d finished breastfeeding, my boobs had breastfed over 4000 meals – of course they were going to look different,” Brumfitt says.

Most of us won’t go from body concern to body celebration overnight, so Brumfitt advises taking baby steps towards body confidence. For her, that meant banning herself from pinching her tummy or saying nasty things into the mirror. “My body is healthy and I am able to do anything I want to do,” she says. “I had to tap into a place of gratitude and perspective about my issues of loathing my body.”

mother hugging baby

Nourish yourself

Fuelling your body with nourishing foods will give you energy to tackle being a mum.

Just because you’re saying no to crash dieting and extreme exercise regimens does not mean you’ve got a free ticket for unhealthy habits. Fuelling your body with nourishing foods will give you energy to tackle being a mum.

“All mums should eat a wide variety of foods every day to give their body the energy it needs to look after their kids,” says accredited Bupa dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo. “This includes plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole-grain foods, lean meat, fish, chicken, legumes and reduced-fat dairy.”

As D’Angelo says: “Stick with Mother Nature’s best and drink water throughout the day. Try to get your activity levels up by playing with bub and getting back to exercise when you feel ready – start gentle and ease your way back. Not only will you have more stable energy and moods, but you’ll start to see your healthier body emerge.”
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