It’s a human phenomenon many women would rather didn’t exist.
The mummy tummy.
That jiggly little (or large) bit of fat or loose skin that clings around the middle regardless of well intentioned efforts to shift it.
Fitness trainers love it: ‘Join me and lose your mummy tummy.’
And last week poor Zara Phillips was publically compared to the genetically blessed (if you think slim is a blessing) Princess Kate for her pronounced post baby mum tum whilst having fun at Ascot.
Speculation as to why she might look this way when other royals don’t has followed. Could she have abdominal separation? Could she just be carrying extra baby weight?
Stop. Stop. Stop.
I’m speaking out in defence of the mum tum.
Before giving birth to Isaac (now 4) I was anxious about my post pregnancy tummy. Would I ever get my smooth tummy back with a neat tummy button?
Isaac came, grew and was squeezed out – nearly nine pounds of him in my 5’ 3” frame. Miraculously I only got stretch marks in the last month of my pregnancy but my mum tum was born. A little bit of loose tummy skin and fat that had a mind of its own when I moved anywhere quickly.
Then came Naomi (now 16 months). By this time I was considered an ‘older’ mum. Pregnant at 36 and delivering at 37. My skin was older and therefore less elastic. My bump grew quickly, the stretch marks stretched some more and got stretch mark friends. The resulting mum tum was more loose skin that now resembled the more mature cast of Benidorm whenever I leant forwards.
But what of it? Why should I be ashamed of it? Admittedly I’m not overweight but I’m certainly not lean. My mum tum is a separate entitity with a life and a mind of it’s own. But I’m quite proud of it.
It’s my badge of honour.
Every roll, wrinkle, wiggle and jiggle is proof that I grew my beautiful babies. Proof that I was stretched just beyond my skin’s limit to grow two human beings. Proof that my soulmate (aka husband) and I were blessed beyond human understanding to conceive and have responsibility for two beautiful human beings on this earth.
My kids have learned that blowing raspberries on mummy’s tummy makes a much fruitier noise than blowing raspberries on daddy’s firm tummy.
It doesn’t stop me from doing anything. Yes I had a small abdominal separation but that’s almost fixed now and yes I carry more fat than is healthy for me around my middle since I eat more sugar than is good for me and struggle with anxiety over my kids and my work. But it’s me and it’s real and I don’t ask for your opinion on it.
Neither, I’m sure, does Zara Phillips.
Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist, writer and speaker. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at http://www.alittlefitter.com.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex. TWITTER: @fitschoolessex FACEBOOK: ccfitschool WEBSITE: www.fit-school.co.uk