When Are You Due? Or Not…

 

It’s no secret that I have been blessed with four children. I’ve had four fairly sedate pregnancies, at times put on nearly half my body weight throughout a pregnancy and delivered large babies. I am also blessed, however, to have returned to my pre-pregnancy weight and fit into my old clothes. But I have a body image problem that I can’t shake.

You see, I still have a tummy that people mistake for a baby bump.

The more weight I lose post pregnancy, the more pronounced my stomach looks. Now, to be fair, my stomach still protrudes as a result of considerable muscle separation which resulted in a herniation. Yes, this may subside over time, but the reality is that another pregnancy will undo all the hard work in reuniting these muscles.

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When Are You Due? Or Not…

Each day I undertake exercises from my physiotherapist to bring these muscles back together so that all of my core muscles will function as they should. I continue to wear compression garments and will likely continue to do so for at least another six months as my physiotherapist tells me it generally takes around 12 months for the muscles to return to where they started, or at least very close to that point.

All of this would be fine except for one question I get asked a little too often: ‘When are you due?’

Now, I have to admit, this is a horrible feeling. And even more horrible is telling these people that I’m not pregnant and seeing their reactions. Sometimes I try to laugh it off and joke about how big my babies were.

At other times I just avoid correcting them. At Spotlight one day I was baby fabric shopping for a sister in law’s baby shower and in making conversation with me, the assistant was asking me what I was making and so on. At only 8 weeks after the delivery of my bub, I still looked quite pregnant and she naturally assumed I was making the baby things for me. Instead of correcting her, I answered her questions accurately, the baby was due in April and yes, we were all very excited. To this day she would have no idea that I was actually talking about my nephew and not my own baby.

I’ve had kids and adults alike ask me if I was pregnant when I wasn’t, sometimes even up to 12 months after the birth of our most recent baby. I’ve felt upset, confronted and embarrassed about the way I look and my stomach and I continue to have a love/hate relationship.

But why is it such an insult to be asked if we’re pregnant?

I mean, pregnancy is a beautiful condition, there is a life inside us, a growing child for us to nurture and love. Yes, my stomach protrudes, is covered in stretch marks and I long ago lost any belly button definition, but it has been home to four beautiful healthy babies who at times delight and frustrate us. It has grown and shrunk according to need but never failed to create a warm and comfortable – perhaps too comfortable as three were overdue – home for our unborn children.

It is also just as true that by the end of my pregnancies I can hardly drive, I have to sit with my legs apart (so unladylike), suffer lower back pain from carrying that huge stomach around, and I have to literally roll out of bed in the morning. I feel, and probably look, like a beached whale but hey, there’s a baby in there!

So maybe that’s the difference. When you’re pregnant you can explain away any body image problems with one condition and you likely care less because you are in the glow of pregnancy after all, but afterwards well, being asked if you’re pregnant feels as though other people consider you heavier than normal.

I mean, maybe they’re just asking me because I have that pregnancy glow?

Yeah…I didn’t think so either.

I do try not to make a big deal of it, especially not in front of my children, they really don’t need to pick up my body image insecurities and I often berate myself for being vain. I mean, at the end of the day I should be grateful, I should be thanking God for the blessing of children. If he hadn’t blessed me with children I’d probably not have this belly and that’s something to be thankful for, but whilst my tummy and I coexist, we certainly have a strained relationship.

I am determined not to let this question bother me anymore, and hope to one day overcome this insecurity, but in a world that focuses on the physical appearance more than inner beauty, it can be a real struggle at times.

Have you struggled with body image after the birth of your children? What did you do in order to overcome any insecurities?

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

Filed Under: BeautyFeaturedHealth & FitnessJust For Mum

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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  1. Genevieve says:

    I have the same problem. The rest of me is about the same as before I had children, but the abdomen is not, so I also get asked if I’m pregnant. Since I would very much like to be pregnant, there is extra sadness in my feelings about this, but I usually use it as an opportunity to say that and ask people to pray for me to conceive and carry the child to term. Although I don’t like it that my stomach sticks out more, I’m glad that people are interested in new babies and like having the chance to talk about wanting more children. it sometimes leads to interesting conversations.

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