Get rid of that grandma girdle and move over Nancy Gantz. The times have a-changed… and so it seems has our pre-pregnant form.
I remember visiting a friend in hospital. She was the first of us to have a baby. I recall entering her hospital suite to see her feeding her beautiful new babe. So wonderful and such a marvel. My eyes glanced over her full breasts and rested at her VERY full abdomen. I was horrified. I simply had no idea why her tummy was so big. I mean, her baby was no longer housed there. Why did she still look pregnant?
I did everything I could to force my eyes above her abdominal line and re-establish my gaze of admiration and joy. Really, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and ask someone in-the-know what the heck was going on for that poor woman!
Little did I know that a baby bump doesn’t disappear just because you don’t have a baby in it. Most of us go into pregnancy being relatively aware of this, but once you’ve had your bub, and you stare at yourself in that mirror for the first time, your new form can be confronting.
We’re told by the more ‘hippy’ types to embrace our new form with all it’s battle scars, and that it was all worth it. Well, of course it was worth it, but it is still a sacrifice, and one that we have to get used to (but gradually, perhaps). And how many of us are honestly able to do this? If you can, you’re a bigger woman than me, and I congratulate and affirm you. But, if you’re a little more like the rest of us, you might be wrestling to feel good about your body right now.
It can take a while to get your body back on track, after birth. Exercise and diet will always be your best bets at getting back into shape, but if you’re after a quick-fix for those new jiggles and swathes, shapewear might just be your new bestie.
So, what is shapewear? Shapewear is a garment worn under clothing, that temporarily alters the wearer’s shape, for a more ‘clothing-friendly’ one. Perhaps something closer to your pre-pregnant shape(?)
A client of mine, Sally, says ‘I have this pouch and it doesn’t matter what I wear, nothing seems to look very nice. In fact, I’m still more comfortable in my maternity clothes, five months on’.
Most women profess something like Sally. They want to feel confident in their bodies but they just don’t seem to be getting to exercise, like they thought they would. Worse yet, as the pregnancy weight starts to shed, many complain that their skin just seems to get saggier, which of course doesn’t seem to improve their cause.
A lot of pressure is put on our bodies during pregnancy. The weight of our growing baby, our own general weight gain (might have been those Tim Tams) and the extra blood and fluid in our bodies is a strain on our abdominal muscles and our skin elasticity. Whilst we can re-claim a lot of our former shape, this can take time and effort which many of us busy mums don’t have immediate time for.
Jess is small in stature and held three good-sized babies. She’s always been a confident dresser but she tells me even though she’s back to her pre-pregnant size (some of us just dream), that her skin is loose and doesn’t look good under her pre-baby wardrobe. She has a special occasion coming up, a fundraiser for a charity she’s involved with. She’s concerned what she can possibly wear that will hide this excess skin, and that she’ll feel good in.
Shapewear is all about instant lifting and shaping (and a little bit of hiding). There is an array of styles to choose from. If your bum and thighs are your bugbear… check out some recovery shorts. or you might prefer a fuller coverage and lift with a full shaper. Either way, take a look at some of these considerations when seeking out these little beauties.
Bum, thigh and tum tweakers - and they really are just that.
These shapers need to consider the following:
- An extra-high waistband The waistband should go well above your waist. Otherwise, you can just end up with deeper love-handles. And let’s face it, love handles are not very loved at all really.
- Double-compression fabricThe fabric should have double-compression at the abdominal area, to really smooth out that sexy silhouette you DO have.
- Separate panelsIt should have separated panels to shape your thighs, lift your hips and flatten your tum.
If you’re after the full-package (sounds like cosmetic surgery, doesn’t it). A full recovery shaper is what you’re looking for. It should have the following:
- Consideration given to the breastfeeder
You can get the bust cross-over varieties of these shapers, which allow you to pull aside the fabric to feed, or you can go for the under-bust shaper, and wear it with a well-fitted feeding bra.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and skip this vital feature and end up having to feed stark-naked in a public toilet.
- Made with anti-bacterial properties in mind
That warm, moist environment surrounding your breasts is a perfect bacterial-breeding-ground. Look for a shaper with anti-bacterial properties in its fabric and don’t settle for anything less.
Breast infections like Mastitis are a horror and really not worth it. Trust me, you’ll get more pleasure spending your money on a good, sexy anti-bacterial shaper, than on antibiotics and Drs bills.
Don’t go crazy. Whatever you choose has to be safe! These garments mustn’t be so compression-giving that they compromise your milk production (or give you indigestion!), this would be taking the desire for a hot-bod a bit too far.
Fabric should be high-strength and lightweight and again, breathable. This will provide all the superior support and comfort, whilst producing some insanely instant results.
They should be comfortable enough to wear all day. Really. Don’t settle.
If your garment is designed with soft elastic panels, this will prevent roll-ups and those delightful muffin tops.
Mums! Whilst it’s fabulous to not be too distracted at our seeming ‘imperfections’ and to embrace our new form… there are plenty of opportunities to do this. But, if you need a little kick-start-pick-me-up, seriously… check these cheats out. They’re winners. You won't regret rockin’ that outfit at your next party. Or, simply wear them every day. In fact, my kids are waking for school, and I’m about to pop mine on now.
Mum of six fabulous kids and foster-mum to numerous others. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counsellor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate and an encourager of all mums out there giving it their best crack!