Motherhood is beautiful – celebrate the whole mum!

We were tagged by Nancy at Mumra blog to write about the challenges facing raising children to respect their natural image and bodies and not subscribe to an unrealistic ideals portrayed by mass media. I want to tackle the impossible message mums are frequently given by media about breastfeeding and their bodies.

Firstly I find the discussion of weight gain and weight loss during breastfeeding uncomfortable. It’s challenging enough coping with a newborn let alone to worry about what I look like. The most important thing here, is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This is proven to help with energy levels during breastfeeding and general well-being of a mum who has recently been pregnant and given birth. Yes, I was told about the possibility of weight loss by healthcare professionals if I breastfed but a healthy diet was also heavily stressed at the same time.

BreastfeedingI’ve been breastfeeding for 6 years now and I’ve been plump and thin …. pretty much depending on how much food and what type of food I’ve been eating. I have discovered that cake and chocolates can make me put on more weight than carrots and apples. Breastfeeding isn’t a diet pill – it doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you like and the weight will drop off. Like Chris Eubank the boxer once said when he was trying to go down a weight band for a fight. The only way to loose weight is to eat less and to eat healthily. It’s pretty simple.

Using nonsense terms such as ‘maternity mafia’ is just confusing scare tactics from publications that want to make money, nothing more. No one for a minute really thinks there’s a bunch of midwives and other mums going around forcing other women to have babies and then keep those babies alive with what mother nature gave us through our own bodies. And although there is a challenge to encourage a younger mum demographic to breastfeed, it’s never sold solely on the weight loss ‘carrot’ – especially when you consider all the other important benefits such as immunity building, lowering risks of cancer for mum and some studies show lower risk of childhood obesity. It comes a full circle!

The only shameful thing happening here is that these amazing mums who are all doing such an incredible thing in raising and caring for their children – are being criticised because of the natural changes that have occurred to their bodies through the transition to motherhood. They should be celebrated for the wonderful job they are doing in nurturing their children.

And once they’ve battled their way through the media circus around body image, parents have to consider how their children will perceive this as they become more aware of the world around them. The example is set at home, around my own body confidence. We should celebrate our image diversity and be proud. But also shouldn’t media interpretation be taught in schools, so they can decipher clearly the messages and subtext of publishers?

What parents do goes beyond the superficial – they are each of them a champion in my eyes. And if anyone dare criticise them for not being able to fit into a itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini – Shame on them!

Comment below your thoughts about this and how to raise kids in this increasingly confusing and aggressive world around body image. Join us on Twitter with #raisinggirls #raisingboys – tell us your hopes, fears about learning respect for their own and others’ body image.

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5 Comments on “Motherhood is beautiful – celebrate the whole mum!”

  1. The simplest way to teach our kids to love their bodies and respect what they have is to love ourselves and not care what others think. Tell yourself daily how fabulous you are, and believe it!

  2. The easiest way of teaching our kids to love themselves and respect and delight in what they have is to do it ourselves. Kids follow by example so keep telling yourself how fabulous you are. And believe it!

  3. Well said! I absolutely agree that medial interpretation should be taught in schools, so that children can analyse this stuff for themselves. I already explain to my 6-yr-old son, when he desperately wants a product that’s been hard-sold to him via ads in TV shows, that the companies want him to buy their stuff so they can make money, and that’s the only reason they have those ads. Ditto with the publications wanting a ‘sensational story’, and of course behind the scenes the formula companies who benefit from the suspicion around breastfeeding. I’ve often heard – even from a midwife, on one occasion – strong anger about so-called ‘Breastfeeding Nazi’s’, yet it remains true that the pressure to NOT breastfeed, or to stop after a short time, and to maintain a perfect figure, is a lot more oppressive. I feel very sad about the influence of the media objectification of women on our children and teens and think a lot of mentorship is needed around this. If children can grow up seeing breastfeeding as normal that would be great too!

    1. Thanks for your comments Morgan. Such a shame that women feel so ashamed of their bodies, especially as mothering is such an awe inspiring and powerful role.

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