The postpartum aesthetic identity crisis

Winter sun

Never in my life have I felt less like 'me', than the day I came home from hospital after just having a baby. It's not like the movies, where the mother has a healthy glow, hair tied up in a perfect bun, and a miraculously flat stomach. No one actually told me how long it does take for your pregnant belly to go back to (almost) normal size. Right after the baby is born, you STILL look (and pretty much feel) 9 months pregnant. I guess I had an idea in my head of coming home from hospital, slipping back into my size 10's and just getting on with things. Spoiler alert - I was wrong.

Lifestyle blogger

Jacket - Monki // T-shirt dress - Asos // Belt - Primark (old) // Bag* - Ruby Shoo // Shoes* - Ruby Shoo

My body felt absolutely alien to me on that Saturday night when we left the hospital and headed home as a family of 3. Physically, I felt sick with the aftermath of the morphine along with the other cocktail of tablets I'd got given in a doggy bag to take home. I felt like I couldn't retain any information in my head whatsoever, I had to get Pete to set alarms on my phone for what pills I was to take and when. All my brain had room for was this new little person, suddenly earthside 3 weeks earlier than he was supposed to be (I had developed pre-eclampsia) How to feed him, how often to feed him, how to change him and hold him and everything else which you'd think I'd have felt prepared for after 8 months of pregnancy, always knowing that this was going to be the final outcome.

French bulldog

I'd had a c section, which never really crossed my mind as "major surgery" (I know, I'm silly, I try not to think about the reality of these things - even the word surgery fills me with fear) I was scared to cough, or laugh, or sneeze, as it hurt SO much, and my walk was reduced to a shuffle. I got a shower when we got home from the hospital, changed into fresh pj's and I don't think I wore normal clothes again until about 10 days later. Even at that, normal clothes meant I was actually just back into my maternity jeans and leggings, and everything I'd been wearing while I was heavily pregnant. The contents of my wardrobe looked and felt like they belonged to a different person. I felt like a different person. Physically shattered, mentally exhausted, a body which was no longer pregnant but didn't feel like my own. I wore the same clothes on rotation, out of comfort and what felt practical, but also because thinking up an 'outfit' wasn't even on my radar. Just the thought of it was SO far out my comfort zone.

Outfit details

Slowly but surely, I started to build my confidence back up and think about things apart from Reuben. That may sound really odd/mean, but I'll try my best to explain. Our routine began to gain momentum, we got out and about more, comfortable with feeding and changing and general baby logistics, and a tiny voice inside my head was saying 'Hey Ayden, how are you doing?'. Thinking about yourself is a big thing after you've had a baby, because really all you've been thinking about in every second of every waking moment before then is your baby. Even friends and family who come to see you, they ask how the baby is, but less often do they ask how you are (I mean, how you REALLY are) My answer, to myself, sorta went like yeah, I'm fine... but I would really like my nails done.

Outfit photos

Routine and life with Reuben was great, and all of our basic needs were being met (sleep, food, cuddles, etc) So once we got a hang of that I felt like I had the brain capacity again to blow dry my hair and pop some makeup on. Getting my nails done may not be the most revolutionary thing you have ever heard, and it might even sound vain, but to a new mum it really is something. Claiming back little bits of your identity, your aesthetic, and just being able to do something for yourself.


Some fresh nail varnish becomes stepping stone to a trip to the hairdressers, which becomes an eyebrow wax and a generous slathering of fake tan. Your stomach starts to shrink, and your scar starts to fade. You sort of feel like a butterfly, reborn. A distant version of yourself but with a new purpose in life. Multi tasking by keeping a little human happy and healthy, but also by starting to claim back little pieces of your own identity, which in turn helps to keep yourself happy and healthy too. You emerge from that fuzzy newborn haze (which feels never ending) getting the hang of things more and more each day. Reuben will be a year old in a couple of weeks time, and I can confidently say it has taken this long for me to feel like myself again. I'm hardly fashionista of the year btw, I still pick clothes based on 1. What I liked when I was sixteen, 2. Does it have pockets? and 3. Is it comfy (ie can I pull those knickers/trousers/skirt up above my belly button and also chase around a crawling toddler)

So, you're not gonna catch anyone street style snapping this Mama above, but I am starting to find my love and confidence for clothes again. Hopefully this will continue, and I can start to share more outfit pictures on here as I begin to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit more when it comes to fashion (as long as it's got pockets)

*Items marked with an asterisk were kindly gifted to me

1 comment:

  1. I remember having the thought that as soon as I gave birth my body would pop back to how it was pre-baby. I was SO wrong. It was a struggle every single day for quite some time to come to terms with my new body. Sure, I was able to lose the weight eventually. But my hips are wider, I have some stretch marks, and now age is slowly starting to show up in the beginnings of crows feet and gray hair. However, I have come to terms with this is me and I need to continue caring for this body and showing it love ♥