While many moms may fret about their "post-baby bodies" and how everything is just a bit different after having children than before, a new study is suggesting that moms are actually more comfortable with their bodies than women who have never had children. The pressure women feel to have a "perfect body" has been amplified by celebrity and social media over the years, but it seems that women are more comfortable embracing their shape after they have children than they are before.
The study was conducted by Professor Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University and academics from the Sapienza University of Rome and published in the journal Body Image. The study linked how a woman feels about her body with her own dissatisfaction with the size of her breasts suggesting that breast size plays a large role in how women perceive their bodies. Somewhat surprisingly this correlation was only seen between women who have never had children. Researchers feel these results suggest that women who are mothers are simply more comfortable in their skin than those who have never had children.
In the study, 484 Italian women were surveyed about how they felt about their breasts, and whether they were dissatisfied with them and whether they wished they were larger. About half of the subjects surveyed were mothers while the other half didn't have children. What researchers discovered was that 69% of the non-mothers surveyed reported being dissatisfied with their breasts, with 44% of them wishing they had larger breasts.
The study states this shows a "significant link between perfectionistic self-presentation, which involves the desire to present oneself as flawless in the eyes of others, and dissatisfaction with breast size," but only with women who didn't have children. Swami also stated that the results were similar to another survey done of women in the UK.
“Our findings suggest that motherhood may help to decouple the link between perfectionistic self-presentation and breast size dissatisfaction," Swami stated. “There are a number of potential reasons why the association between perfectionistic self-presentation and breast size dissatisfaction was significant only amongst non-mothers. There is the fact that becoming a mother naturally results in changes to the appearance of the breasts, particularly in terms of their size," Swami added.
The Professor then went on to suggest that perhaps motherhood simply changes how a woman views her breasts, especially after having experienced breastfeeding. “But perhaps the most relevant is that becoming a mother – and particularly the experience of breastfeeding – may focus women’s attention on breast functionality as opposed to focusing on the aesthetics of breasts and the body.”
So while it may feel like women are constantly worried about "bouncing back after baby" and getting their "post-baby bodies" back, it seems that women are actually growing to be more comfortable with their bodies after having children.