Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I never imagined how hard it would be to get my body back after childbirth'
Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill has said she underestimated how difficult it would be to return to form after she welcomed her son Reggie in 2014.
The athlete’s journey to Rio was almost drawn to a close earlier this year as she battled a series of injuries, but the runner went on to claim the silver medal in the heptathlon on Sunday.
The British athlete (30) and mum-of-one said it took her a year to return to form and physique after giving birth to Reggie in summer 2014, and said she didn’t imagine pregnancy would take such a toll on her body.
“When you have your first child and you’re pregnant, most mums don’t really think about how much their body will change,” Ennis-Hill told The Telegraph.
“I could never have imagined how hard it would be. You think 'I’ll have a baby, it’ll be fine and he’ll just lie there quietly while I train’. But it’s never like that.”
Although her career and goals placed a pressure on Ennis-Hill to return to the track, the athlete said there is too much pressure on women to return to their pre-baby weight.
“It doesn’t happen overnight. I was an athlete before I had Reggie so my body did get back quicker than your average woman. It’s important for women to know you don’t have to get back to your tiny figure or whatever you were before in a matter of weeks.”
“My body is my job so I had to get back. But it’s whatever makes you happy, and your first priority is your baby at that time.”
The mum revealed that she is looking forward to getting back to the UK to spend time with Reggie and her husband Andy, who did not accompany her to Rio.
“Being away from Reggie is one of the hardest things. I just want to give him a massive hug. I can’t wait to get home and show him this medal. I’ve spoken to him literally every day on FaceTime to see how he’s getting on at home. He knows what I’m doing and watches me compete. I couldn’t wait to be here, but at the same time I was just thinking I want it to come and go because I don’t want to be away.”