How to Dress Again: Mum-Bod Edition
Show of hands how many of us have cried at the sight of our new bodies after the birth of our babies? My hand is most definitely up.
After the birth of my baby, just the thought of attending social events or family gatherings overwhelmed me with so much anxiety it would take me hours to even attempt getting ready. Dressing my new body was straight up depressing. I would consume myself with so much stress that I would reduce myself to tears. My body was not what it used to be before giving birth and every piece of clothing that I owned reminded me of that.
It would have been much easier to think of an excuse to get me out of the invitation rather than telling the truth that "hey, so sorry I can't make it tonight, my new body looks like shit in everything I've tried on. Maybe next time".
I came across a blog recently and this line got me: “for now, I’m in a transitional stage: no longer pregnant but not yet my old self” and that's exactly how I felt.
Though my weight pretty much “bounced back” to pre-baby within a few months, my body most definitely did not. When I say I cried at the sight of my body I don’t mean to sound conceited but What.A.Shit.Show. My flat stomach (in hindsight, that i took for granted) was now replaced with a shrivelled layer of loose skin, flubber and red stretch marks (what feels like) longer than the Nile River.
I found learning to accept my new mum-bod to be the most difficult adjustment to Motherhood. I couldn’t tell you how many times I cried before getting dressed. Being surrounded by beautiful dresses hanging in my wardrobe knowing damn well they’ll never fit me like they used to was my very own Hell on Earth. No longer would they work to accentuate my curves or enhance my figure, instead they would suffocate me in all the wrong places and only amplify my anxiety-ridden flaws.
In some ways, I actually felt like I'd lost part of my identity. For years I used my body to represent my brand, my business, and to model my clothing range. My business was my life, it's what excited me everyday and without my body as I knew it, I was lost. Not only had I lost my confidence but I gained major anxiety in everything I wore which made me despise my new body ten fold. If I didn't get my A into G my then- mentality probably would have ruined me- and my business.
One day, during a break down while deciding what to wear, I realised that I needed to heal. My birthing experience was traumatic. I was a first time mum. I just had major surgery. And I wasn't used to sitting still. I'd been through a lot of changes in such a short time I hadn't really processed how much my life had changed. I realised I had been too busy rushing my recovery and trying to get back into my old life, the old me.... that I forgot...my old life didn't really exist anymore.
during my healing period I realised I was grieving. Grieving for my old self. I also realised that, that was okay- having a baby is life changing and I was fully within my right to miss ME. I was allowed to cry, I was allowed to vent but I was not allowed to let my self stay there.
Once my body had recovered I decided it was time to accept that some part of me had gone and it was time to welcome the new version of my self that took her place. Culling my wardrobe and re-inventing my style was the first step in accepting the new me.
I spent a whole day dedicated to trying on every piece of clothing I owned in front of a full length mirror. If it didn't make me feel in any way fabulous about myself then 'in the pile' it went. I created three seperate piles: Keep, Donate and Sell. With the money I made from selling my clothes I was able to create a brand new wardrobe with pieces that actually made me feel excited about getting dressed in the morning.
Slowly but surely I reminded myself that MY body is a Temple and Mama, so is yours. It housed our baby, nourished our baby, protected our baby and delivered our baby. We have so much more to appreciate about our bodies than to continue taking stabs at it. The fastest way to healing is acceptance. My body will never be the same again and I'm finally okay with it because I am so much more than just my body and so are you.
You owe it to yourself to find your confidence again Mama, because I’m betting ‘your people’ are missing you- but not as much as you miss yourself x
How To Dress Again
If you've been invited to a special event but the way your new body looks is stopping you then you've come to the right place. Listed below are my top three styles to flatter our new Mum Bod and to hopefully help you feel more confident.
#1 My absolute number one pick is a BANDAGE Dress.
A Bandage Dress is a fitted dress made from thick, stretchy material, created in layers. The design acts to support in shaping the figure rather than covering it up. Just imagine wearing the most comfortable Shape Wear all day long (with nothing else). That’s how a bandage dress feels- It hugs the body, holds everything in and gently accentuates curves by flattening the stomach to offer the impression of an hour glass figure (even if you don’t actually have one). Our Rowena Dress is the perfect example of a Bandage Dress. And not only is it Bandage, it also has a bonus Sheer Tulle wrapped around the arms and body to deflect attention from ‘mum-bod belly’. This dress is a must have for Mama’s on the mission to feel like a million bucks at their next social gathering.
#2 Boho / Flowy Maxi Dresses
These particular style of dresses are good because they are low maintenance. The dress is already a statement piece whether or not you wear heels or flats, or if you choose to accessorise or not. Basically the second you put it on, you’re good to go. Another benefit of Maxi / Boho is that the flowy skirt adds an illusion of height and elongates the torso, no matter your stature. Height adds an impression of a ‘slimmer build’ and this illusion of height occurs when the 'skirt' starts from directly under the bust and not at the hip. (The flowy skirt is also great at disguising mum-bod hips and tummy if that’s what you’re self conscious of). Our Saints & Secrets Dress is a prime example of a Boho Maxi Dress that would suitable for all special events.
#3 Front Drape Dress
The biggest advantage of wearing a dress with a front drape is that it helps to combat the appearance of ‘mum-pouch’ by distracting and intercepting the focal point. Most cotton dresses that offer a drape are usually loose fitting around the stomach but tighter around the hips and thighs which is a bonus. It works to shape your outer silhouette without compromising the front. Our Shona Joy Dress is a fitted example. This dress is made from a very soft, light-weight cotton and is comfortable against the skin.
I hope these suggestions could help you in re-inventing your style and offer you ideas on what to wear for your next event. Remember you are not alone and your feelings are valid - I See you, I Feel You, I Am You so be kind to yourself because you're worth it x
(If you have any stories, advice or tips to share to other struggling mama’s we would love to hear from you. DM us at nicora_boutique on Instagram)
If you need a bit of help in understanding 'how to dress for your shape' I found this blog helpful: https://gabriellearruda.com/how-to-determine-your-body-shape/
Or for Styling tips and advice this is helpful too: https://gabriellearruda.com/how-to-dress-better-female-body-shape/
Title page photocred: Pinterest/postpartummombody