Please Stop Telling Me To Love My Mum Tum

Please Stop Telling Me To Love My Mum Tum
18 May 2017

I've lost count of the number I've times in recent weeks that I've read posts by mums on social media about why I should love my mummy tummy.

Here's the thing. I don't love mine. I don't even think we're *supposed* to love them, and such talk can put pressure on those of us who don't exactly adore our post-baby bodies.

It's a bold, empowering, admirable thing to make your peace with your body post-baby. Proclaiming to love your mum tum is one in the eye for the endless objectification and body-shaming that the world subjects us to. And that's great – good body image is obviously never a bad thing.

But.

If you *don't* feel brilliant about your belly after giving birth, it can feel as though you're in some way letting down the sisterhood. (Yeah, yeah, I get that no-one can 'make' me feel anything and that I am ultimately responsible for my own feelings. Not really true, though.)

Because every time I see a mum proudly clutching her postpartum spare tyre or declaring that she loves her stretch marks because they're battle scars that display the amazing accomplishments of her body, I feel a tiny bit despairing.

I'm not saying you shouldn't love your mum tum and if you want to make that statement loud and proud on social media then good for you – I really mean that.

But spare a thought for those of us who, for whatever reasons, are never going to feel that way about ourselves. It could be due to an eating disorder, a stillbirth, an emergency caesarean or a traumatic delivery – the details barely matter but my point is that it's also ok *not* to love your post-baby body.

It's ok to feel quietly mortified when you notice that your mum tum makes contact with a part of the mattress that the rest of you doesn't when you lie on your side in bed at night. It's ok that you're a little bit sad that there are some clothes you'll never wear again because they cling too tightly to the lumpy bits that you never had to worry about before. And it's ok to frankly feel a tad dismayed that your body looks like it's been to hell and back and will never quite be the same again.

That said, I love Rebekah Vardy's recent post-pregnancy shoot which she used to speak out against the pressure put on mums to spring back into shape, and urged new mums to remember that perfection isn't real and imperfection is beautiful.

She's right, but that doesn't mean I have to love the "wrinkly skin, stretch marks and deflated once perky boobs" that motherhood has left me with - yes, I can learn to live with them and be grateful for a body that could conceive and bear a child.

But you don't have to 'love' what you see in the mirror in order to accept it. On the spectrum of how you feel about your baby after giving birth, there isn't just 'self-loathing' and 'loving my mum tum' – there are a million other possible ways to feel. You can feel a little grumpy about it – that doesn't make you a monster or the vainest mum to walk the earth.

Obviously I'm not saying self-loathing is ok – if you feel really repulsed by your reflection then please, seek help in coming to terms with what you see. But don't hide way feeling like you're a freak because you don't much fancy Instagramming your extra inches or sharing your stretch marks all over Facebook, either.

In the end, we all deal with our post-baby bodies in our own way, but there shouldn't be pressure on us to love them – that's as much a heavy burden for some as the pressure to 'get your body back' after giving birth that started this mum tum loving in the first place.

So please, world, stop telling me to love my mum tum. I'm reserving all my loving for the little lives whose creation completely upended me – body, mind and soul. That doesn't mean I cherish them any less than the mum who adores her post-baby imperfections.

Do I have to 'love' that irritating wrinkle that has appeared between the bridge of my nose and my eyebrow, too? Of course not. Now I'm not about to put a paper bag over my head because of it, but it is ok to tolerate things about your appearance without feeling like you also have to be proud of them. I'm proud of my babies. The saggy belly they vacated is just the price I paid to get them – and it was so, so worth it.

88 comments

  • Emma P.

    I hate my belly since having my daughter x

    • Emma F.

      And me. I wish i could cut the pouch off. Its vile. X

  • Kelly D.

    Ahhh , it is what it is :kissing_closed_eyes:

  • Louisa C.

    I'm fine with mine to be honest. It created my daughter and that just amazes me! Not so happy with the bags under my eyes and grey hairs though lol

  • Ellen M.

    Mum tum? Ffs I've got Mum body :joy::joy:

  • Toni K.

    I hate mine! Mainly because it's a lot bigger than it was before I had my daughter so even if I were to lose weight, I'd still have a wobbly apron and it just doesn't resemble what I looked like before. I used to feel ok about myself but not any more. It doesn't look like the me that I feel I still am, so it bothers me a lot!

  • Steph R.

    My body carried my daughter and is carrying my second daughter, do I care about stretch marks? No, do I care if it's flat and toned? No, I am grateful that I can carry a child and that is what is important, I am sure there are plenty of women who would welcome a flabby belly and some stretch marks just to be able to have a baby, look at the bigger picture and don't be so shallow

    • Claire B.

      Would you say that an anorexic person Steph? The sooner we stop belittling those with body image issues and telling them they're shallow the better. I've had three children and I got horrendous stretch marks with my eldest. I hated my body and did everything I could to cover it up. It didn't feel like my body anymore. I'd still get rid of them now if I could, although I've become less bothered as I've gotten older. Try not to trivialise other's struggles.

    • guest

      What's an anorexic person got to do with it, I suffered with anorexia as a young teenager and then I went for counselling and the woman told me if I didn't start eating my periods would stop and could make me infertile I gradually started to eat again and got better, I looked at the bigger picture, we are talking about our body's after a baby not eating disorders, so that's kind of irrelevant, I have stretch marks they're horrible does anyone see them? no, just my partner and he doesn't care so why should I care, I think to publicly moan about having stretch marks when some women would give an arm and a leg for a baby is insensitive and having suffered two miscarriages last year myself I do look at the bigger picture and that is having a baby is more important than what my stomach looks like end of sorry if u don't like that

    • Claire B.

      My stretch marks have nothing to do with other's loss. Don't assume I haven't suffered loss myself. What's insensitive is to trivialise and belittle other's feelings because "it could be worse", all that does is play down other people's struggles. Good for you if you don't care what your stomach looks like, some people do, and some people struggle with their body image and confidence, they can no more help that than someone who, as per my example, is anorexic, or who is depressed, they're all things you can't necessarily change just by saying "it shouldn't bother you." For some women it does, very much.

    • guest

      I'm not saying it shouldn't bother women I never said that but sometimes people do need to realise how lucky they are and again look at the bigger picture, I think publicly moaning about it is just insensitive that's my opinion, there's plenty of things people can do to help improve their body's if it bothers them so much, sitting moaning on Facebook isn't one of them, its posts like this that probably make people feel worse society is all about how people look what size they are etc it's bull sh*t

    • Claire B.

      Talking about how you feel can be very cathartic to people. It's when we start saying to people that it's wrong to feel a certain way, or to express those feelings, that it becomes damaging.

    • Bethany U.

      A lot of things are insensitive but there is still valid feelings people can't change. Saying people should keep quiet because others have bigger problems is nasty. I don't particularly like my stomach since having my son. The son that I gave birth to that was diagnosed with a life limiting illness also. You don't see me banging on about how insensitive it is despite a lot of trouble and worries I have also alongside struggling to get pregnant again. I see a hell of a lot of insensitive post and things on fb but it's life and a matter of opinions and others struggles. It's not for me to say well shut up everything going on with me is worse

    • Steph R.

      Doctors and therapists come to mind and private chat rooms especially for these types of things?

    • Claire B.

      Ahh, so we should all hide our feelings away in private so as not to make others uncomfortable? Or we can talk about things openly and honestly, sending the message that it's ok to feel that way, and to talk about it if we need to.

    • guest

      Again I didn't say that did I NO what u two are doing is taking everything I am saying and taking it out of context and starting a whole new argument with it, there's people who go thru things a thousand times worse than what I did I'm just explaining my point of view, did I tell anyone to shut up? NO Didn't realise I wasn't entitled to an opinion without being f**king scrutinised for it, when I look things I look at the bigger picture and realise there's worse things in the world that what I'm feeling or disliking about myself or whatever, end of that's it, do I like my body hell no can't stand it do I moan about it on facebook? Nope

    • Steph R.

      No doesn't make me uncomfortable I just think there's better places to discuss things like this

    • Bethany U.

      Good for you but pretty sure saying don't moan about it is the equivalent to telling someone to shut up about it? There's no need to be cold hearted it doesn't affect you personally someone sharing this does it. Nothing ever came of not raising awareness about things. This obviously affects some people greatly and it's going to be a hard life telling people their problems aren't relevant to what others face because someone's always going to be going through worse

    • Claire B.

      And that's fine if you want to discuss them there. But if others want to discuss them publicly that's fine too. When you comment publicly on social media of course you're opening your opinion up to scrutiny.

  • Debbie H.

    I'm 6 weeks on from a cesarian (tomorrow) and I'm feeling ok. I gained 17lbs and had lost 19lbs when weighed 3 weeks after. I'm sad that my stomach is flabby but then, it is up to me to exercise and rectify that. I'm not going to feel bad about it though. ..the end result was worth it!

  • Lisa C.

    i was bigger before having my son anways but now i feel its saggy ect but well i try not to let it get me down as i housed my son in this body and exerices could probably tone me up but haven't got the time my sons nearly 4 and ive recently took it upon me to loose weight so far lost 2 stone still another 2 to go. i don't like my body but im so lucky to have my boy x

  • Claire M.

    I do dislike my stomach not for the stretch marks but for my kangaroo pouch and the fact I still look pregnant im hoping in time it does "deflate" haha but after 5 im not holding out much hope and will continue to use it as a cushioned shelf :-) x

  • Nicky A.

    It gets me down proud to have my kids but sometimes when you see what looking back at you in a mirror no matter how hard to diet, exercise ect and your muffin tops still there it's hard to stay positive around your children who thing your just perfect to them

  • Helen M.

    I can grab it. The skin just won't tighten although I can feel the muscle under. I plan to get it surgically fixed (as well as the small prolapse!) After I'm finished having children.

  • Tricia W.

    I weigh less than when I fell pregnant with my first. Some days I don't mind em some day i don't like em. My youngest asked if they hurt (stretch marks) he then said sorry :cry: I said they ment you were getting bigger healthy and stronger to come out and see us so mummy likes she got them :relaxed:

  • Ashley G.

    I've had 3 kids and big babies at that. I was a size 8-10 and after my babies I've worked hard and got back to an 8 however I have really saggy belly skin and bad stretch marks which gets me down as I know there is nothing more I can do about them. And unfortunately my perky B's pre pregnancy went to G's at 1 point with each baby are now a very sad empty looking A's and tbh I would deal with my belly if I didn't have to look at these too everyday :pensive:

  • Jill R.

    Didn't go flabby didn't get one stretch mark.....thought I was doing well then a documentary said older mums don't get stretch marks across the tummy :disappointed:

  • Michelle A.

    I'm very mixed, after 2 emergency c section I have a real overhang, as my second opening was hip to hip :slight_frown: I'm slightly above average size, but hate my belly, but then look at my boys and think if I didn't have this, I wouldn't have them, or for that matter my husband wouldn't have any of us, so I'm mixed, but mainly because I never look or feel sexy anymore for my lovely husband x

    • Joanna H.

      I agree. Emergency c section followed by elective (overdue and not able to be induced) huge hip to hip first. Second tiny scar but hangs down. Would I want perfect body and no kids? No. Will I wear a bikini. no

    • Rebecca S.

      Same here! 2 emergency c sections and a lovely kangaroo pouch!! :scream: on the plus side two amazing children. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

    • Becky G.

      I had 2 c sections too!! I have a kangaroo pouch, been doing slimming world for 7 months now n lost 3st11lb so far! I'm 3 sizes smaller, look nice n slim with clothes on, but still have my mummy tummy. Yes it's shrinking but I know it's never going to fully disappear! It doesn't bother me as much and it doesn't bother my hubby as we have 2 lovely kids!

    • Gemma P.

      I've had 3 c-sections I'm a size 6-8 and I still have the over hang from sections. I hate it :cry:

    • Barry P.

      everything about you is beautiful, you have no reason to worry about your scar because you are perfect x x x x x x

  • Sam P.

    I've had two sections, the first was an emergency so I was basically butchered, the second was planned and the doctor did an amazing job to tidy up the scar I had, so much so it's almost invisible, I don't have stretch marks luckily but I have the pouch, I'm here, my daughter is alive, I can't complain really!

  • Louise G.

    Disgusted with mine but then again barely have to see it as no mirrors in my house apart from a bathroom mirror

  • Gemma D.

    Feel about your body whatever you like. It's ok to love it or loathe it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and all that!) :)

  • Janet H.

    I'm never going to love it but after 4 progressively bigger babies it's going nowhere. So, I'm getting used to it. Slowly. I'm a lot more upset about the other souvenirs pregnancy left my body with! :wink:

  • Gillian J.

    I dislike mine. 4 kids later. Weight gain from meds and not having a perfect diet. Looked in to having vazer surgery on it but my muscles have gone. Can't justify an operation for vanity. Have body dysmorphia but hubby loves my rank as I call it.... Choice of 5k surgery or hot tub... The bubbles in the glass of champers in the garden in the evening sat in warm water being massaged won...:relaxed:xGx

  • Claire-louise P.

    Hahah we been talking about ours at exercise class tonight I've had 4 kids I've got a pouch I said Britney Spears is so toned but still has one it's just something I get from being stretched to max over and over again I'm still skinny just gotta pouch going on

  • Beth H.

    definitely worth a read :slight_smile:

  • Rowan D.

    I don't really feel either way. I feel just as strongly about my tummy as my leg!

  • Kirsty D.

    Mines always been abit flabby n rounded so pretty Much the same as it's always been couldn't care either way x

  • Carol M.

    My belly is the same as before. No marks or anything. Just a bit of a slightly different shape due to c section. I'm a 14 so not skinny but my wee line reminds me that I carried a child. It's an honour badge and I'm proud of it :)

  • Kayleigh O.

    I have 3 girls and admit i used to hate mine with a passion! Id feel disgusted when i looked in the mirror but now, i dont give a crap! I am who i am, i love my food and why the hell should i diet or try to change just so i feel better about what other people think?? My other half loves me for who i am and what other people think about me doesnt even matter and i dont feel like i need to change a thing! So i feel happy with myself at the minute :blush:

  • Cara G.

    I hate mine, doesn't mean I hate my children. Yes it was their home for 9 months that kept them safe which is a lovely squishy thought but I now have to live with it, adjusting to my new body/figure and clothes I can no longer wear or don't suit me. I lost a small but of my identity with each child I had and as much as I love my children more and more each day it will take me longer to accept my mum tum and I will probably never love it!!

  • Michelle H.

    I hate mine after 3 children 2 being sections bt then i look at my stretch marks n kids n think im lucky to have them both as some women cant. :sparkling_heart:

  • Leanne F.

    I hate my c section muffin top. Horrible. But it also got my son out safe x

  • Jenny W.

    After having my children I'm definitely left with a "mum tum" but I'm greatful for the fact I was able to do something amazing. Carrying my babies :baby::baby:. There are a lot of women who unfortunately can't carry/ have babies and would jump at the chance to have this amazing experience. Be proud of what your body has done :muscle::muscle:. We have brought beautiful humans into the world. Be proud :clap::clap: xx

    • Collette D.

      were All proud of your errrmm "mum tum" and that fact that u went through what u did to have you BEAUTIFUL children, work it girl xxxx

  • Jacqui E.

    It's funny, it's taken me to have my children to realise I don't actually mind my body. It will never ever be perfect and I hate my veins with a passion! But my body has produced 3 beautiful children and as long as I'm fit and healthy (and can fit in some jeans) I'm happy X X

  • Kelly E.

    Can't say I love mine but it's apart of me! It's not as though I could have done anything different I had 3 quite big babies. My belly is just a consequence of me being a mum. My children are my world so it's just who I am!

  • Melanie M.

    I hate mine! I had no confidence before and felt fat and ugly but try to look nice but now I don't see the point It's not going to happen. My confidence is even worse!

    • Michelle M.

      Your comment is the saddest one I've read so far. Have a look around you hun, nobody not one of us is perfect everyone trying to mask something. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I had a look at your profile out of nosiness I guess to see this hideous person you see. I promise you I was disappointed you are very pretty. So what if not every part of you is perfect. Nobody else is either. You know how I'm telling the truth? because if you were this ugly monster you describe I wouldn't have commented back to you. I would have scrolled on through the comments agreeing. Chin up hun don't be so down on yourself :blush: x

  • Leanne C.

    I had our second baby 11 weeks ago and just want to look like the old me again Doesnt matter how much weight I lose I still have that skin and stretch marks covering my belly :angry::angry:

  • Sarah O.

    Proud of it , I've conceived and carried my babies in there for 9 months and longer in some cases, for a woman that never thought she would have children it's pretty dam amazing

  • Rebecca J.

    My body's changed from having my little man and him being an emergency c section, but he's almost 2 now and it's taken me this long to not care so much and embrace what my body has done and how it now looks. We've just been abroad recently and every mum around the kids pool had a slight mum tum, or cellulite or stretch marks and I looked at them all and gave a silent "hell yeah!". Even size 8/10 ladies! We've all delivered babies and our body's have done this wonderful thing, that only some ladies can dream of :cry: I never look at another mum's body and think; wow, what an overhang or how many stretch marks, we all have wonderful children and have our flaws to deal with and mum tums to look after and that's okay :kissing_heart:x

  • Lisa M.

    Mines disgusting. My gp even said it needed a tummy tuck. After 5 pregnancies and 4 babies, it's not in good shape. But it's life, it's carried my babes, I have to be proud of it :blue_heart:

  • Emma M.

    After 2 emergencies and 1 elective c-section I am left with my mum yum and truly don't like it. I'm so glad to see this post up as I feel awful saying I don't like it as all I hear is "you made babies and they're healthy" Yes I did and I am very grateful to be blessed with them, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy with what's happened to my body! Oh and ready feeling, yes it's best for them but again not for our once youthful bodies!!! :joy:

  • Leona R.

    My daughter turned 5 this week and I'm still fat saggy and overhangy

    I doubt that will ever change I'm not lucky enough to have been one of the mums that Bounced back straight away

  • Cress T.

    I hate mine, lost all the weight after my son but 3 misscariages has confused my tired body and I gained weight each time. Now I have a muffin top that wasn't earned and can't be shifted (I love food) if it was because of my son I wouldn't mind as much x

  • Stacey C.

    Well being a first time mum im super proud of my c section scar im gald that my child was born safe and sound. Its all mental my partner finds me more attractive now, but then ive never had a perfect model like body to begin with which makes it easier to accept my body as it is now. Xxx

  • Car H.

    My children were so big that my tummy isn't the best. Wouldn't say I'm proud of it x

  • Katie T.

    I miss my previous lovely flat tummy. But if I could change something? It's my boobs or butt that would get lifted first!

  • Beth W.

    I hate mine. I'm only 24 and it's sad I won't be or feel comfortable enough to wear a swimming costume anymore. Yes it's worth it but still doesn't stop me from hating what I see. Let's put it down to celebs making everything look like an unrealist goal for those of us that don't have the ways and means to change what we don't like

  • Lauren M.

    I absolutely hate my mum tum! I was always a trim size 8/10 and now I'm squidgy. I love my son and wouldn't change having him, I adored being pregnant and can't wait to do it again, I didn't put on masses of weight and I did generally bounce back. But I have this tum that I detest, the other problem is that because I'm a 8/10 whenever I speak about being unhappy about my tum everyone says 'don't be silly, look at you, I'm a size 14' so I suppress it, back to the running and target exercise and when I'm feeling blue about it - cuddles with my boy who doesn't care one bit!!!!

  • Emma F.

    I cant stand mine it makes me feel sick.

  • Rachel P.

    I really like this too x

  • Sophie R.

    Other people seem to care more than me for some reason which I find slightly amusing :yum: I have a beautiful daughter and that's all that matters to me xx

  • Linzi L.

    I hate mine and I get sick of these articles telling me I should love it. I love what my body has done, it's truly amazing, but I wish I hadn't been left with the confidence zapper that is this stomach! I doesn't rule me but if I had a magic wand it'd be gone!!

  • Tessa M.

    I love mine, it's my arse and thighs I have a problem with :see_no_evil:

  • Vicky S.

    Finally someone speaks out about this! So many people telling us we're wrong to feel this way! The fact is whatever shape and size you were before, you're different now and that can be hard to come to terms with. We would all rather have our children and this body than no children and our old body I'm sure but to say we can't feel upset by our body now is totally damaging.

  • Sarah P.

    A lot of women can't have babies so I am proud of mine. I gave life to two amazing boys and if that disgusts people then that's their problem not mine.

  • Courtney C.

    Hate my stomach huge over hang always had a flat stomach before having kids it's horrible I'm uncomfortable in from of my partner and in bikinis or anything loosing weight doesn't help think it makes it look worse it's depressing :weary: but I wouldn't change my little people for the world :blue_heart::heartpulse::blue_heart:

  • Gayle D.

    Hate mine with the fire of a thousand suns!!! But then again I was never one for showing off my midriff before and spanx are an amazing invention. Finally concluded that as long as Im healthy and strong then Im happy, whatever shape my body settles at....including the mum tum...:blush::blush:

  • Tracey K.

    Hate it but I am too lazy to do anything about it. I suppose I should be happy that I can still fit into a size 10 after 4 kids but defo feel crap at having so many wobbly bits.

  • Megan P.

    Mine ain't pretty and never will be but I love it!!!! I would give more than the appearance of my stomach for my kids.

  • Melissa F.

    Didn't like it. Therefore I did something about it. A lot of time and hardwork and it's in pretty good shape now. If I don't like something, do something to change it.

  • Chantelle M.

    I hate my post baby body , even after 4 years X it created the best thing to ever happen to me, but I am a shell of the person I was before hand, I eat healthy I exercise, I'm a size 8 but underneath my clothes is the body of an old woman, I'm only 28 and am saving for surgery X I can't live my whole life hating myself x

  • Zoe C.

    I hate mine. My tummy used to be one of my best features and I am utterly devastated with the way it looks now; I have what I call the "sunken soufflé effect", that is to say a skin that is intensely crumpled-looking, because it expanded too quickly and the weight just fell back off me very soon after birth. I understand that it may cause discomfort to others during discussions and that they may then feel pressure to say something positive, but I just feel as though I'm being robbed of my right to grieve my sexy midriff of yesteryear. It's as though it is a frivolous, self-indulgent luxury to have nothing more important to worry about. Also, there is an assumption that, by expressing this regret, one is overlooking the life-changing joy of having given birth. Finally, I hope that my husband and I will remain together until the end of days but, if for whatever reason we are not, I don't think I could ever let another person be intimate with me. I'm really, genuinely glad that other people can look at their postpartum bodies positively: it's done an amazing thing, tiger stripes etc., but I don't like that I am expected to feel the same.

  • Sandie P.

    Agreed! I get sick of people saying you should be grateful for them scars etc. Obviously I adore my children but u shouldn't have to defend the fact I dislike my tummy x

  • Becci H.

    Id like to say it's proof I gave life as it's precious, but no! Let's cut the bullshit and start a mass fundraiser - tummy tucks for all!! :joy::joy:

  • Kayleigh W.

    I'm 21 and hate my stomach now used to love Bikinis and two piece outfits but now I feel not confident to. Love my kids to bits and worth it all but miss my stomach before and have quite a few stretch marks as was a size 10 and quite big babies x

  • Lisa T.

    I :heart: this post. So true and like I've written it myself :disappointed:

  • Katy T.

    Wouldn't change my 'Mummy body' as it gave me my precious daughter! BUT I do not love my new shape, or body/size - so I agree with this article :kissing_heart: and hurrah for magic pull me in knickers!!

  • Helen B.

    So you moan you don't like your mum tum, someone attempts to say something positive about it to try and make you feel better and gets slated. Why bring it up in the first place? Confused . com

  • Corinna S.

    Hate my bodhi belly as I call it my last son 4 kids in total but this belly won't go 1 yr on :weary:

  • Joanna C.

    I hated mine so much after the birth of the twins (weighing 7.7lb EACH. along with two sacs etc) Along with the tennis ball hernia sticking right out the middle I paid 5k to get it all fixed up. Feel so much happier now and confident was 5k well spent.

  • Kimbypip

    loath my mumtum, hate that people ask if I'm pregnant again. Dr says deal with it you had a huge baby by emergency c section. So thankful for my lb, but still don't like the result on my body xx if that makes me vain so be it, I'm vain. But at the moment I do all I can to cover up and feel sick when see myself

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