Monday, August 20, 2012

Body Post Baby: A Whole New World

A while back, I stood in my closet and stared at my wardrobe, feeling utterly helpless and dismayed because everything just looked and felt wrong.

While I was doing this, Reese was very busy unraveling an entire roll of toilet paper and draping it around our bed.

I posted on Twitter about my frustration, and got some instant responses empathizing with my plight.  One, in particular, struck a chord with me.  She said that she was feeling the same way, mostly because she was unhappy with her post-baby body and wondered if it would ever go back to normal.

My short answer?

No.  But also yes.

I was reminded about this day when I read an article by Janice Min in the New York Times this weekend about the pressure that celebrity mothers face to lose weight after having a baby and the trickle down effect it's having on non-celebrity moms.  The article is particularly interesting given that Janice Min, a former editor of US Weekly, admits that she contributed to this atmosphere by putting countless "bounced back after baby!" headlines in her publication.

I read the article with a lot of mixed feelings.  I'll say without a doubt, I certainly see where that pressure comes from living on the Upper East Side, surrounded by mothers who look amazing pushing babies with umbilical stumps still attached.  I can't even imagine what it must be like in Los Angeles, but at least they are all in their cars instead of walking around on the streets.  But at the same time, I don't think it's a pipe dream or unrealistic to want to feel good about your body and look good after having a baby.

I'm not going to pretend that I had some crazy amazing body before getting pregnant, but it was what I was used to.  I had been training for a half-marathon and was in solid shape.  In what might be a total overshare, I hit my pre-baby weight 5 months after having Reese. The number on the scale does not tell the whole story though, because I was packing at least an extra 2-3 lbs in my bra at any given point during the day and I hadn't done basically any exercising.  So, while I weighed the same as I did pre-baby, things did not look the same.

Actually, I'm pretty much astonished that I look even close to normal after that first week post-partum.

Things shifted...my arms are generally pretty toned from holding Reese AT ALL TIMES, but my core is...well...softer.  And I don't know that there is enough pilates in the world to make that better.  But, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on working out, eating well and trying to have the best body that I can have.  I don't think that society should condone that as much as they shouldn't pressure any one to look like a celebrity.  And, several months after this exchange (and a few new and better fitting pants later) I can say that I don't hate getting dressed any more.

So, while I didn't look like Gisele before having a baby and I'm certainly not going to look like her afterwards, my revised answer to the woman wondering if things go back to normal...Yes.  They do.  But it's a slightly different normal.  

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