Any business owner is encouraged to think about what their personal beliefs and highest values are when they develop their company so that they can create a brand that is true and authentic to themselves.
My biggest personal and professional interests have always been around maternal and infant health, evolutionary medicine, therapeutic relationships, equality and inclusivity, public health and holistic ways of approaching healthcare. (Side note – by holistic I mean all encompassing rather than airy fairy).
I strongly believe in the importance of supporting women to become healthier, happier and more confident through whatever stage of their mothering journey they might be on.
I believe that this in turn impacts the next generation and creates healthier, happier children. Of course rooted in all of this is feminism, because how can I love and support women along this journey through a patriarchal world without having feminism at my core?!
So although some of my future blogs will cover other aspects of some of the values and beliefs noted above, these have been some of my recent mental ramblings that I have decided to try and navigate by putting finger to keyboard.
Let’s think first about diet culture. As women, no doubt we are familiar with the million different fad diets there have been through the ages… from the grapefruit diet to low fat, calorie counting to Atkins, intermittent fasting, keto, paleo, detoxes….the list goes on.
No matter which approach you take, the promise is always the same….lose weight using [insert method here] and you’ll be a better woman. As mothers, the ante is upped even further… there is a societal OBSESSION with losing baby weight. Fitting back into your pre-baby clothes, the media focusing on any mother in the public eye to see how her figure is doing, images of happy thin women smiling down at their babies, general UNREALISTIC expectations.
I personally have found that no one has eyed me up more or commented on how I look more than other women since I had a baby. Even myself, before I had Ida I always had a slight fascination with women’s post-baby bodies because it was a glimpse ahead into an unknown world.
I remember after I gave birth to her by emergency C-section after a gruelling 4 days in labour… I couldn’t bring myself to look in the mirror to inspect my battered body for about 3 days because I felt such an overpowering sense of dread and shame. Now, 13 months post baby I still have my ‘c-section pouch’ and my stripy belly full of stretch marks and that’s despite having lost weight.
This is why; when I work with women postnatally, I never focus on weight loss as one of my key areas for change because although I know many (most?!) mothers are VERY keen to lose weight, I don’t want them to put additional pressure on themselves and feed into that self perpetuating cycle of body shame, stress, emotional eating etc.
Thankfully, most of the approaches I advocate when I work with mothers do have a handy side effect which is weight loss if it is required but it comes naturally as part of the other processes we follow, and doesn’t involve putting additional strain on ourselves, because let’s face it, we have quite enough of that as mothers.
Of course most of what I have covered here applies to women who are fortunate enough to be in positions where they can worry about their figures and diet and there are many women who are in positions where those things are so far down the priority list that it would sound pompous and irrelevant to even mention them.
To those women I just wanted to give a quiet nod as I say goodnight. My feminism and my practice does include ALL mothers. More about that another time.