Saturday, February 25, 2012

The popularity of postpartum weight loss


This is more of a vent post than anything so feel free to vent right along with me.

Being pregnant is an amazingly beautiful thing.  It's spectacular what your body does to prepare for birth.  Postpartum, it's nothing short of a miracle that your body knows how to produce a substance that your baby will survive on for months, if not years.   I could go on and on about the beauty of our bodies.

Of course, being pregnant has it's drawbacks too.  For me, the morning sickness and headaches in the first trimester were nearly crippling.  I also tended to have some "skin issues" throughout my pregnancy that was less than pleasing (that glowing preggers skin just doesn't apply to me).  And of course, there's the whole baby weight gain issue.

I remember post-birth looking in the mirror and not recognizing what I saw.  I was no longer pregnant so the beautiful belly I saw for many months was no longer there.  It was replaced by kind of a puffy, stretch-marked bloated gut and my legs were nowhere near the toned legs I had pre-pregnancy.  But I knew through the mutual benefits of breastfeeding, my uterus (and belly) would shrink, my body would become a milk-making machine and slowly but surely, some of that baby weight would come off.  Would my body be "the same."  No...but I would never be the same after becoming a mom and that's what's beautiful about growing into motherhood.

But now, NOW we're faced with Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Pink and all the other celebrity moms our age who are having babies and through the magic of Hollywood and great photo editors, they lose their baby weight in 2 months.  No, I don't have a fan site dedicated to these famous moms.  I don't peruse the internet reading up on the latest gossip about these celebrities.  But I grocery shop.  And as I'm waiting in the checkout lane, my eyes glaze over all of the tabloids, gossip magazines, etc., and the pictures of these celebrity moms wearing skin-tight dresses 3 weeks postpartum kind of pop out.  Blazing headlines reading "See Beyonce's plan to make her baby-weight melt off" and others scream at you as your load your groceries onto the conveyer belt.  Now, personally, I don't let it get me down.  But I know there are a lot of moms out there who just had a beautiful bundle and they see these headlines wondering what the secret could be.

The secret is not a eating 5 small meals a day.  The secret isn't cutting carbs out of your diet (in fact, dieting should be the last thing on your list if you're breastfeeding).  The SECRET is that these famous moms have a team of nannies, private chefs, makeup artists, stylists, professional photo editors, personal trainers, million dollar home gyms, dietitians, psychologist and every other professional as part of their entourage to make them look and seem pulled together 2-weeks, 3-months, 1-year postpartum. Most of us don't have that "luxury."  In those first months of breastfeeding and late night diaper changes, most of us are lucky if there's a meal on the table at night and clean clothes in the drawers.  

I worry that we're going to see a new breed of eating disorders out of brand new moms who will starve and exercise because the new "expectation" is to lose all of your baby weight and be swimsuit ready in a matter of months.  That's not real life.  That's not normal.  That shouldn't be an expectation.  We should be in awe of our bodies for what they're able to do pre-conception, during pregnancy and postpartum.  We should love our body because it knew what to do when the time was right.  It knows how to nurture a human being for months (if not years).  Wow.  So, if you're reading this and you've felt even a tinge of envy for those celebrity moms, just stop.  Give yourself a break and remember that your body, no matter the shape or size, is amazing beyond words.  And then go eat a cookie--your baby will thank you for it :-)

1 comment:

  1. It's not just magazines either, sometimes family CONGRATULATES the girls who fit back into their jeans asap as having done something right. Even when the lack of weight gain lead to a preterm baby or health issues. But she looks good in her jeans so all must be well, right? WRONG, and as for weight loss I just joined a gym and the trainer was able to do things in a week the dr's couldn't imagine. No weird things to eat or drink, in fact no restrictions except common sense, he just had me doing what I NEEDED to do for me. And it was free (and so was the child care)with my gym membership. I DOUBT it will take 7-9 months because let's face it, I'm not cutting back to 1300 Kcal a day while nursing but the weight and more importantly the health issues will still melt away. Will it happen today, next month, no, but it WILL happen!