I Don't Need My Body Back, Just My Mind
I just want to say that the term “getting your body back” is offensive. It’s not like your body leaves you when you are pregnant, it’s just busy creating a human. And it doesn't matter how quickly you lose the weight, or find your abs -- you never end up with the same body you had before.
Pregnancy and birth are such natural and amazing things and yet a few weeks after the baby is born, the only thing we focus on is how is the baby sleeping; and how the mother looks. Guess what? The baby is not sleeping and new mommy has a pile of weird loose skin around her midriff.
Thanks to celebrities and the media, there is incredible emphasis on “getting your body back”, entire editions of magazines are devoted to the subject of Yummy Mummies. I know I don’t have to say it, but celebrities' entire careers are based on how they look, and they have entire teams of people working on them to get them back into shape, that and they also have Photoshop on their side. Not to mention the PR people who lie for them, and say the weight just fell off. It doesn't fall off, it is dieted and crunched off, and in some cases probably surgically removed. It creates incredibly unreal expectations for the rest of us. Check out this slide show for some before and afters, but only if you don't mind feeling a bit chunky.
Celebrities, don’t often admit that they have worked hard to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, in fact some of them claim that breastfeeding is as good as dieting and a personl trainer. And there does seem to be some evidence that breastfeeding does help the fat come off. But just like in most diet trends, breastfeeding does not slim everybody down.
I was breastfeeding Jenna but I started to slowly gain weight when she was about three months old. This was a little scary, but the truth is I was so busy with three kids and writing a book that I didn’t take it too seriously. I know that eating is a natural reaction to sleep deprivation, so I assumed that I was eating on the extra pounds. But when I told my doctor, she tested me for thyroid problems. And Ta Daah! I had a low thyroid, and a few weeks on the magic blue pill, the weight started to shed. Now, everytime I go up a few pounds I hope it is my thyroid, but it’s not. But is a common affliction post-baby, so call your doctor!
As someone who leans towards, ahem, curvy. I question this relatively new obsession with new mother’s post-baby body. Yes, women don’t look so great after a baby come out of them, they have weird bulges and stretch marks and look generally chubby and tired;. But that does not mean that we have to create some kind of industry around getting rid of women’s post-baby curves. I typed get your body back after baby into Google, and I got 18 pages of articles, all about the same thing.
After you have a baby, everything can seem to feel out of control. You don’t sleep, eat or work out, or even think like you used to. So for some women, controlling how they look through diet and exercise can give them a sense of being in control. And I don’t think there is a woman in the world who has hasn’t looked down at their squishy muffin top and felt demoralized. But instead of making women feel proud of what their body has done (created and fed a tiny person), the media obsession only makes women feel ashamed that they don’t look like Nicole Ritchie in a matter of weeks. If I was a sociologist I would guess that the fascination with women's post-partum bodies has something to do with society's uncomfort with pregnancy, birth and women's dual roles in the home and the workplace.
The truth is that it took 40 weeks to put that weight on, and for some people it will take that long to take it off. There are sane ways to do it, and there are insane ways and none of them will make you a better mother.