The REAL Postpartum Body

When I first became a mom, I was floored by the competitions, comparisons, and expectations that we will all be amazing, perfect mothers and wives. Any time I did something that made it appear I was somehow balancing it all (this makes me roll on the floor with laughter, actually) the praise and back-patting I got was kind of silly. Why all this support when things are seemingly going well? What if I answered back saying things were, actually, not going as well as it seemed, in fact my daughter and I faced a new challenge week after week that brought me to the brink of sanity?

If I saw the photos circulating of those two women with amazing bodies who had delivered babies (one only 3 days before), during those first few months after becoming a mom, I know for a fact I would have laughed. Not one of those “oh, lol” laughs. More of a hysterical, tears streaming down the face laugh. Because not only must I respond to my baby with gentle-loving care, breastfeed, get rid of the nasty resistant thrush, treat her diaper rash that refused to go away, cloth diaper, do laundry, get out of the house and meet other moms, be considerate and loving towards my husband, deal with leaking from seemingly every orifice on my body, find time to sleep, do self-care (at this point that consisted of a shower and brushing my teeth), but also whip my body into shape so I can look stunning in a bikini. Riiiiiight.

It’s just plain unrealistic. I’m sure there are moms out there pulling this off every day, but this was just not a priority for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge advocate for exercise, especially gentle exercise in the postpartum period. It’s a great way to feel alive, melt off the stress and anxiety of becoming a new mom and can be a great way to meet other moms if you find a class you like meant for moms with babies.

Photo of Duchess

If the future Queen of England can look pregnant leaving the hospital, then can’t we all?? Photo credit: http://www.usmagazine.com

It took (for those of us who made it to full-term) about 9 months to make that baby. For 9 months our bodies did something amazing no male body could ever do. We harbored the conception of new life. We nurtured that tiny one-cell into a baby, a baby that 9 months before did not exist. We fed that baby, carried that baby everywhere we went, we kept that baby warm, safe and secure in our wombs. This can take a huge toll on our bodies not to mention the delivery, whether by C-section or vaginally – getting that baby out is no small feat. I love how this blog post declares us to be warrior goddesses! To expect our bodies to snap right back is just ridiculous and, if anything, completely denies even acknowledging what we went through to create our little miracle. I went through a lot in order to have my daughter, including a messy surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy the year before she was born. My scars from my past struggles and my mommy-pooch and stretch marks are my proud reminders of my battle to be my daughter’s mommy. She is worth every mark and imperfection.

The vast majority of new moms still look pregnant when they return to the doctor or midwife for our 6-week postpartum checkup, sporting maternity yoga pants (please, please just don’t ask us when we’re due). That’s completely normal and totally okay. Many of us keep a lot of the weight on – parenting and life in general is tough and it’s so frigging busy. And that’s okay too. So if you’re a new mom looking at those photos, please, just don’t even go there. Focus instead on just doing what you need to do in order to survive this time period, to feel good about yourself, to somehow accept that your body, no matter how different it is today, no matter how imperfect it is, is one of a warrior goddess.

What are your thoughts? Did you feel pressure to lose the baby weight? We love to hear from you, there are many ways to connect:

  • Leave us a comment below
  • Tweet with us @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Andrea Scott RN

I’m a public health nurse with the HaltonParents team – you’ll find me blogging, tweeting and answering emails. I’ve been working for the Halton Region Health Department since 2006 and my focus has been on supporting parents with babies and little kids. I have two little ones myself, “Pumpkin” and “Monkey” who give me plenty to blog about! :)
This entry was posted in Babies, Parenting, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The REAL Postpartum Body

  1. Pingback: Postpartum weeks 4 & 5 | Chia + Chives

  2. Pingback: Post Baby Body – the NEW you | endue

  3. Amanda says:

    So encouraging! I needed someone else to say it!!

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