There’s never a shortage of opinions on this topic across the web, and especially in the blog world. Not surprisingly, the birth of little Prince George has activated a fresh flurry of “lose the baby weight NOW!” media propaganda, which fitness/mom bloggers everywhere have responded to with a resounding, “oh, great.”
Ashley kicked off the discussion by posting this photo on her blog the other day:
(Read the full article here)
Then, Giselle wrote a beautiful follow-up post. And now it’s my turn!
First, I think we need to recognize the context of that particular picture:
–It’s from a modeling website.
–It’s not really for Kate. A journalist’s job is to take current events, find relevance to related topics, and spin off pieces that feed on society’s naturally heightened interest in those topics. In other words, no one is actually suggesting that Kate needs to start some kind of aggressive baby-weight-busting regimen here. We all know that, right?
That said, I agree that it’s never a good idea to suggest, anywhere and in any context, that a new mom should pursue a workout regimen days (or even weeks) after giving birth.
This sensitivity becomes even more important when you take into account that newly postpartum women are living some of the most vulnerable, insecure moments of their lives.
At 38 weeks
I can see that there’s heightened pressure for women to “bounce back” quickly after giving birth these days, but I’m not ready to say it’s all the media’s fault. I think it’s much, much more complicated than that.
Before I elaborate, let’s get this celebrity business out of the way. Can’t we all just agree that celebrities aren’t real? (haha)
What I mean by that is: their lifestyles have little or no resemblance to the rest of ours, and their realities, as parents, look nothing like the realities of most parents.
Whenever I see a celebrity looking unnaturally fit (I chose that word for a reason) soon after giving birth, I assume she has a nanny doing the heavy lifting (or all the lifting) at home while she’s in the gym with a trainer 3 hours a day and eating perfectly clean meals prepared by a chef/nutritionist team. And who knows when extreme airbrushing, secret medical interventions, or super unhealthy dramatic measures are involved.
I can’t blame the media for posting pictures of celebrity post-baby bods, because am I interested in seeing them? Uh, yep! I eat those trashy rags up when I’m in line at the grocery store.
Does that mean I become jealous and insecure when I inevitably realize that I don’t look the same? Sure, maybe a little, but there’s always a tradeoff. Even if I could afford an entourage of people to hold my hand post-birth, I’d much rather be chilling with my baby and being extra respectful of my fragile body. The rest can wait.
Now, here are some of the other factors that complicate the whole situation:
Seeing birth as a finish line
Lots of us moms are eager to get back to our pre-baby bodies after giving birth, not because the media is pressuring us, or even because we’re pressuring ourselves. Sometimes, it’s because we’re lost and scared in this new reality of motherhood, we’ve just made it through 40 weeks of dramatic weight gain, and we’ve finally crossed the finish line that we’d been building up in our minds all pregnancy long.
Finally, we don’t have to tiptoe around anymore because we’re pregnant. Finally, we can do something to make ourselves feel better.
Or so we think…until we realize that breastfeeding is basically an extension of pregnancy.
Gaining a lot of weight in a short period of time is a dramatic, scary thing for anyone, especially if you’re used to being in full control of your body.
No matter how many people told me I was beautiful and glowing when I was pregnant, I felt like a complete blob toward the end—and especially after giving birth—and one of the thoughts that got me through it all (besides, of course, the blessing of a beautiful baby) was that, someday, I’d be able to regain that control.
Just wanting to work out
For some women, exercise is a hobby that they’re eager to get back to, not because they want to look bangin’ in a bikini 3 months postpartum, but because it’s a source of happiness and confidence for them. It suggests normalcy. And if there’s ever a time in your life when you desperately want normalcy and a good confidence boost, it’s right after having a baby.
These women shouldn’t be shamed—or revered, for that matter. They’re just navigating the postpartum jungle the way they know how.
There’s nothing wrong with new moms wanting to lose baby weight. We just have to remember to do it responsibly and respectfully, and to acknowledge that our bodies are different than celebrities’ and friends’ bodies.
Simple, right? (Hint: NO.)
Luckily, there’s a magical thing that happens to a lot of women once they get past those first few postpartum months: they realize that their bodies are no longer that high of a priority. The baby becomes the #1 focus, crowding out so many other less significant things, and they realize they have nothing but massive amounts of pride and respect for their bodies, however they might look.
What do you think of all the media frenzy around Kate’s post baby body?
How much do you think media is to blame for the pressure to “bounce back” after pregnancy in today’s society?