It has been referred to “the fit mum revolution!”. Blog posts, E books, and Instagram accounts of “fit mums” who have “bounced back” to their pre-pregnancy physique postpartum and are dedicated to showing other mums that they can do it too. Whilst I advocate for women engaging in exercise postpartum I can’t help but feel a little negative towards this so called “revolution” There are many positives to gain from engaging in a healthy and active lifestyle with a young family. Helping to prevent and treat postnatal depression, encouraging our children to exercise and get outdoors, and allowing parents some ‘me time’ are just a few. It is for these reasons that I love the ‘fit mum’ revolution. There are also some major negatives. Often these #fitmum Instagram accounts are full of photographs of young mums with ‘perfect’ physiques, their expensive ‘raw, organic, paleo’ foods and their ‘brand label only’ wardrobe. Photographs of women showing off their abs “9 weeks postpartum” rolling through the news feed. Whilst these women are quite inspirational, I fear what image they portray for ‘real’ Mums who adjusting to so much change in their life. Changes in their bodies, (both the ones that others can see along with the ones that they can’t!) , changes in sleep pattens, their relationship with their partners and a new relationship with their tiny new being. This seemingly ‘lavish’ lifestyle may be attainable for a select few, but what happened to keeping real for the rest of us?
Mums already put so much pressure on themselves. They want to be good mums, without ‘dropping the ball’ in other aspects of their lives. Do they really need to “bounce back into shape” on top of everything else? NO! So why is there so much focus on how we look postnatally? Being ‘thin’ does not equate to being fit, and having abs does not demonstrate strength. Not to mention, returning to some activities too quickly post baby can have negative consequences to Mums health. If you take a look at a recent postpartum photograph of myself, you can see that even without photoshop women can be ‘tricked’ into thinking their bodies should snap back into shape incredibly quickly postpartum. Photographs like the one on the right showing off ‘abs’ postnatally seem ridiculous to me. If you look like the person on the right does this make you a better mum? Does it make you happier?
I don’t condone women ‘letting themselves go’ (as society would term it) post babies. In fact I think it’s incredibly important that we encourage active and healthy lifestyles for women at all ages. However it needs to be about health, not what we look like! It feels like we have made little progress to inspire body confidence, rather than body loathing. Just last week I was looking for a magazine to settle down and read. Knowing that it will probably take me three moths to read (when I have the occasional few spare minutes), I wanted to make sure it was good! Searching through the headlines of multiple magazines unfortunately I was not shocked, but I was disappointed that in every single ‘women’s interest’ magazine was an article related to ‘how to lose weight’, and usually how to lose it fast!. Not only are they unrealistic, but more importantly they focus on ‘looking good’ as the main positive outcome. Investing in your health is a lifestyle and not a ‘fast fix’ to looking good.
If only we could stop encouraging women to exercise to look good, and focus on the health benefits that can be gained, that go well beyond what you look like! If only the #fitmum revolution could promote womens health, body confidence, and fit and healthy lifestyles for our families. It would actually be a ‘revolution’ if these so called role models stopped talking about weight loss, and started talking about health gains!
What are your thoughts on the fit mum revolution? Does it inspire you? Or does it leave you loathing your body? Let us know by leaving a comment here.