After having a baby many women put pressure on themselves to quickly return to their pre-pregnancy everything-in-the-right-place physique.  Oh sure, there’s that anomaly mom who gets her body “back” within a month and looks better than ever. But for most of us there’s a no returns policy. The ability to get our bodies back, a.k.a. squeeze into our old jeans without creating a jumbo muffin top, is a myth that many first-time moms subscribe to throughout pregnancy and even a few months post-partum. Just Google “get your pre-baby body back” and you’ll find thousands of how-tos and exercise regimes, followed by frustrated remarks from anxiety-stricken, overtired moms trying to no avail to lose their baby bellies. But the part you don’t hear about is that even if you do manage to return to your former weight, the weight inevitably “settles” differently.

For me, it’s been about 11months since I gave birth and I definitely don’t have my body back. In fact, I’m pretty sure I got someone else’s completely. My once voluptuous hourglass shape is now reminiscent of a Barbapapa, and still shape-shifting.

While nursing’s been good to me—I’ve been able to lose the 20lbs I gained during pregnancy plus the additional 20lbs I’d put on over the past few years—the body I have as a result is completely foreign. Not that I was overly eager to reclaim my old figure, it wasn’t perfect, but at least it was familiar. The one I got instead has a whole new set of challenges: my former chubby-but-round-butt has shrunk and sunk into the back of my thighs and despite the weight-loss I still can’t button any of my blouses.

Now, I can work with the smaller, somewhat concave bum and the slow-to-fade stretch marks, especially with the bonus of incredibly toned arms! But the boobs…oh, the boobs! Instead of round and perky, they’re oblong and now live closer to my belly button than my armpits. The only time in the last few months they looked even remotely sexy was after Meebs finished a growth spurt and I became so engorged they stuck straight out, hard and round. Unfortunately, they were so painful I could hardly move. And, God help my poor husband who was just trying to give me a sympathetic hug. Sorry, chum! I figure engorgement must be the female equivalent of a man with “blue balls” getting kicked in the groin.

And, I’m not getting my hopes up about ever fitting into my 34Ds again; even after I wean Meebs I’m pretty sure I’ll be condemned to my 34Gs. But I’m beginning to get to know this new body and how to make it work. I’m coming to terms with needing to “climb” into my bra and carefully aligning my nipples, where before I could quickly cover and clasp. I know I won’t be shopping in cutesy lingerie stores or wearing spaghetti-straps; but on the upside, I have increased protection around water with my over-sized onboard life-preservers.

Though, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter what my body looks like; I’ll always have hang-ups, we all do. But now I also have a little girl who, against the odds, I still hope will grow up with a healthy body image. She needs women in her life who love themselves and repect their bodies; so I figure I might as well become my own role model as well as Meebs’ and embrace the beauty, and humour, in my “imperfections”. So for me there’ll be no exchanges, no returns and definitely no regrets.