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Steph Claire Smith on the dangers of postpartum weight loss

The mother of one and Kic co-founder says it’s high time we kicked ‚bounce back‘ culture to the kerb.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve had a baby, you’re no doubt aware of the pressure on mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy weight.

I find it so strange that society rallies around pregnant women in such a supportive way, but then once your baby’s born, they don’t want to celebrate your body – for literally creating and birthing a human – they want you to ‚bounce back‘.

Recent research found that 81 per cent of mothers felt the pressure to bounce back after their baby was born. That’s 4 out of 5 mums. A statistic that makes me so upset and angry, but honestly, it does not surprise me in the slightest. 

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But why is it a bad thing to look like a mum? Why is there this need to erase what we’ve gone through, to hide what it takes to be a parent? It makes me so frustrated. 

To any mums, please know you’re not alone. It’s not your fault that you feel as though you need to change your incredible body. At a time when you’re already at your most vulnerable, navigating a completely new world, the pressure to erase the physical and emotional changes to your body needs to stop. 

My boobs have changed, my clothes fit differently and I’ve even got hairs on my bum – something that I’ve never had before! Some women’s bodies change more, some change less, it all depends on our pregnancy, our genetics and our postpartum experience. Everybody is unique. We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other. 

It’s time we quit trying to change our bodies to fit how society wants us to look like, and choose to embrace, nurture and celebrate the incredible things it can do. I now have so much respect not just for my body, but for women’s bodies in general, that I’m just done with looking at it in judgement. It doesn’t mean that every day I feel amazing in my own skin, but I’m so much quicker at squashing those negative thoughts. I’ve realised there’s so much more to life, and my son, Harvey, has opened my eyes to that.

Every mother deserves to feel seen, supported and strong. Making time for yourself as a mum, to move your body in a way that’s right for you, is such an empowering feeling. When we move our bodies, it shouldn’t be about changing the way we look, we should be focusing on the amazing mental health benefits we can unleash. Which let’s be real, is much needed for us busy, tired mums.

Whenever you do feel up to moving your body, I encourage you to tune inwards and do what feels right for you, rather than looking at what others are doing, whether that’s on social media or even within your mum’s group. 

If you’re looking for guidance in returning to exercise safely, at your own pace, without judgement and no before and afters, I encourage you to look into KICBUMP. No matter where you are on your journey, our experts and community are here to support you. 

It’s time to share the message for all mums to embrace and appreciate their new bodies. Because it’s not about how you look – it’s about how you feel.

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