I have always dealt with self esteem issues, but growing up, I also had a problem with body image. In middle school, there were a few girls that loved to bully me and spread rumors that I was anorexic. I don’t understand why they said those things, as I wasn’t underweight and I loved to eat. However, it was hurtful and left me feeling very confused about how others perceived me. If only I could tell my 13-year-old self not to listen to those mean girls, I certainly would!
Before I got pregnant, I had a bit of an obsession with fitness. I would spend many hours every day at the gym working out and pushing myself to my fullest capacity every time. I was in the best shape of my life and was proud of the results that had come from all of my hard work; but as my baby and my belly grew, it was a little strange for me to watch my body transform so drastically in such a short period of time. I told myself repeatedly that once she was born, I would be right back at the gym again. Everyone was always so quick to tell me that the weight would melt right off and that I would be back to myself in no time. Let me just tell you that that is not the case. It didn’t help that I ended up needing to have a cesarean, either. That delayed my ability to start working out shortly after and also makes it more difficult to ‘bounce back’.
I felt that this needed to be shared because it’s not discussed enough. It’s upsetting when others are constantly telling you how you’ll fit back into your size 0 jeans just a couple of months after you give birth. In rare occasions, yes, that can happen. Just know that if it doesn’t, you’re not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. I understand that people have good intentions when telling you how good you look after just having a baby. Who doesn’t love a compliment, right? However, hearing people mention it many times or every time they see you can be a bit excessive. Perhaps it’s just me, but I almost feel more self conscious when someone keeps asking me if I’m down to my pre pregnancy weight yet or even just telling me I look good ‘for just having a baby’. Most women don’t feel amazing about themselves after giving birth and to continuously put emphasis on their physical appearance can be hurtful.
Is it possible to have a flat stomach and six pack again after giving birth? Absolutely! Does it happen as quickly and easily as some make it seem? Definitely not. It requires a lot of work and dedication. Honestly, the comments people would make while I was pregnant still puts so much pressure on me. It’s easy to be too hard on ourselves sometimes and all too easy to forget what amazing miracle our bodies just produced. I am still having a hard time adjusting, but each day it becomes a little bit easier. I may not ever have the same body that I did before my daughter was born and that’s okay. My new body has created life, grown and birthed another human being. My new body has fed and sustained this being for 5 months of her life so far. It is truly amazing what our bodies are capable of and I would never take it back for anything. I am beyond thankful that I was physically able to experience these things.
I am back to working out again and it’s not as easy as it used to be. Not only am I dealing with having no core strength and an incision that is still tender, but I have a shoulder and neck injury from a car accident years ago that has also flared up. I’m trying to find balance between getting back into shape without comparing my pre baby body to my post baby body. I am not only working out and trying to eat better for myself, but also for my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up obsessing over her figure or feeling like she needs to look a certain way, but I want to inspire her to live an altogether healthy lifestyle. It goes beyond fitness and the number on the scale. The things that we put into our bodies internally as well as externally have a huge impact on our health. We only get one body and it deserves to be treated well and with respect.
This body has given me a beautiful gift and I want to thank it in return. After everything it has gone through between pregnancy and a traumatic delivery, my body deserved to rest and recuperate. There is no shame in taking time to care for that sweet baby of yours and allow yourself to get back into the swing of things before starting a crazy diet or work out routine (and there is no shame in starting right away either- if you’re physically able). But don’t allow others’ words or opinions to consume you and put pressure on you. Mothers already have enough of that to put up with. Apparently the ‘Dad Bod’ is a thing, so let’s proudly and unashamedly rock our ‘Mom Bods’, mamas! After all, they deserve to be celebrated.