This past December we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. There is a lot to take on during that first year with a baby. One of the biggest pressures moms face is “bouncing back” after baby. Let me start by saying every woman is different. Pregnancy affects everyone differently, both mind and body. Whether you’ve experienced negative, positive, or both post pregnancy body situations; I want to take the pressure off of bouncing back.
Celebrities are out and about seven weeks after having a baby. Before leaving the hospital, magazines and entertainment news anchors speculate about a new celebrity mom’s baggy clothes and comment on how soon they will be bouncing back. Did you know it takes up to eight weeks for your uterus to shrink down back to original size? Your organs also have to find new places amongst the newly uninhabited torso. Seriously, your internal organs are squished within your body like a horrible Frankenstein movie. But sure let’s ask if she’s fitting into her pre-pregnancy jeans.
Honestly, you don’t have to be a celebrity to feel the pressure to lose weight and tone up. Everyday women feel the pressure. Whether you have acquaintances asking when you plan on working out again or maybe family suggesting you don’t eat this or that. With the societal pressures and comments from family and friends, it’s easy to feel body shamed. Just a few months ago my son pointed out that my stomach is still a bit big and I might have a baby in there again. Well kid, you’re half of the reason it looks this way. So zip it.
Now I’m a year in and not even close to my pre-pregnancy body. The thing is once you have your baby, once you recover and survive those first months you are still dedicating your body to your baby. Breastfeeding, pumping, and formula feeding are all draining your body to nourish this new one. Whether you produce the milk yourself or are preparing a bottle, that is your time and energy being spent on another person.
It’s about the baby and that she’s how it should be. I would love to see the focus come off of the women’s body and onto the baby. When you see a baby that’s seven weeks old compliment the new arm rolls they have. Notice they are growing so quickly that they fit in six month clothing already. Can that double chin get any cuter? That baby is healthy, happy and growing thanks to a woman’s body and BOTH of those bodies should be celebrated as is.
Then there is so much a mom goes through emotionally and mentally. I have to get control over random crying outburst (Watching This is Us DOES NOT help) and my post partum anxiety. Then, I have to start getting more than four hours of sleep at a time and living off of coffee. Then, I can worry about the size I’m wearing or maybe I choose to embrace it. We shouldn’t worry about getting back to the way we were before baby at all. We need to start creating a new path with the added little one in our life. If that means you still look four months pregnant for a while then so be it. Being healthy isn’t just about being physically fit.
One day the stars will align. You’ll have the time, energy, and motivation to get in shape. Until then back off of bouncing back and enjoy the squishiness of baby and you. The small baby stage is fleeting, so embrace your baby and worry about the rest later.