Dealing with baby belly: Jackie shares her personal journey.

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Baby belly- wow, what a trip! I’ve recently been contacted by a few women who’ve said that they are sick of people asking them when their bub is due. I’m talking about women who’ve already had their bub either months ago or nearly two years ago.
The topic of baby belly is so real for me. It actually brings back a lot of raw emotion and I feel so much for anyone having to go through this.
Two days after my twins were born, I was feeling pretty good. I got up, had a shower and told my husband, Rewi, I would go and get us a tea. So off I went, walking down the hall in the hospital. I was feeling great about myself.
As I turned into the coffee lounge, a midwife turned to me and asked when I was due to have my bub. It was like a stab to my heart. That’s probably a little melodramatic, but you get the idea! Here I was, post birth, with baby belly. Not babies. One of the other midwives overheard and knowing that I’d just given birth to twins she quickly corrected the other midwife. But by that time the damage had been done. I went back to my room with head bowed and felt horrible about myself.
I shared this story with Rewi and my mum. They said I was doing great and I looked fantastic, but deep down I knew that the midwife didn’t lie about what she saw. I still looked very pregnant. The baby belly wasn’t about to budge.
Fast forward two to three month and I went to a pharmacy to get a few things. I had only my eldest son with me at that time as mum was looking after the twins while they slept in the car. I was having a great day.
I stepped up to the counter with a big smile and the pharmacy assistant said, “Congratulations. When are you due?”
I was totally gutted. Again, one of the other assistants overheard and knew I’d just recently given birth and corrected the story. The damage had been done. I slumped back in the car. The curse of baby belly rides again.
When I had my check-up with my obstetrician, he explained to me that due to the size of my twins. My poor tummy muscles had to stretch over a metre. That’s huge. My poor tummy.
He told me that it took nine months for my muscles to expand that far and therefore I should expect it to take at least that to come back. Logically, that made sense. Emotionally though, my heart was breaking.
Would my tummy ever be able to recover? Would people continue to think I was pregnant until the day I die? Where was the body I knew?
That thought process may seem like a total overreaction, but when you are in that situation, it really is awful. How you look and how you believe you appear to others is always on the back of your mind.
I had a chat to Becky about what I was experiencing and she was so encouraging to me. She lifted my spirits and  said the magic words I needed – “you will get through this”.
I needed to give myself some time, give myself some love and put in a little work. I could totally make my body my own again. So that what I did.
I mentally prepared myself that my “recovery” would take some time, I prepared myself emotionally by loving my current body and being grateful for being able to give birth to three beautiful boys. And then I put in a little work on that baby belly.
I was so blessed in meeting Becky who helped me in prescribing the exercises to really whittle my waistline and get me back into shape. My obstetrician was right. It didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen!
My 8cm separation is now almost non-existent and I no longer have the obvious baby belly I once had. Now, I feel totally amazing and overwhelmed when people say they can’t believe I’ve had 3 children. It’s a huge change from months earlier when people thought I was still pregnant. I really never thought I was vain, but it’s funny how a few innocent comments can niggle at your self esteem and make even those of us that didn’t think we cared about what others thought, really give a damn!
You might be sitting there thinking, well that’s great, but how does that help me? Well, you just need to give yourself some time, give yourself some love and put in a little work and you can totally make your body your own again. If you are now saying, “but it’s been two years and I’m still not back in shape”, ask yourself this:
Have you really given yourself a chance and put in the time to work on making your body your own again? Answer that honestly.
If you want to do something about it, you can. Make the decision, decide what you want and make a plan on how to achieve it. Make small changes, take small steps. When you have a goal, when you have a plan, anything is possible.
Share your story, share your journey with us. If you need support or if you’d like to hear more about my story and my personal journey please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

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