Updated: Feb 21, 2019
I have been attempting to write a post about the “mom bod” for a while. I was inspired by one of my girlfriends who has been blogging about her fitness journey (www.kickinitthick.com). I wanted to shed some light on the battle that is getting back to your post-baby body. I wanted to talk about the internal struggle to accept the changes that come from having a baby. Whether it is that your hips have spread and never shrink back together, or you have that “last 10 lb” that is impossible to get rid of, the changes our bodies go through after having kids can be overwhelming. It is a topic that I could write about all day, but never feel like I am doing it justice.
The “mom bod” is a fickle thing. It is an incredible testament to what the female body is capable of, but it is also a battle ground for low self esteem and comparing yourself against mom's who “bounce back.” During pregnancy, most of my weight gain was baby weight, so most of it disappeared quickly. That being said, the remaining weight seems to be clinging on for dear life.
As I attempt to fit back into any of my pre-baby pants, I have been waging a war with myself. One minute I am frustrated and anxious about whether or not my pants will ever fit again (maybe my hips expanded and will never really shrink), and the next I am congratulating myself on how far I have come since having the baby.
My battle to accept my post-baby body has made me wonder, why do we do this to ourselves? Carrying, giving birth to, and being able to care for a baby is an incredible thing that our bodies are capable of, so why do we diminish that accomplishment by putting so much focus on the bounce-back? The only answer I can reasonably think of is because change is hard!
The emotional changes and mental challenges that come with parenting can leave us grasping at straws for “the old me” the version of ourselves that could at least pretend she knew what she was doing, and feel put together. I was not prepared to lose myself in the baby the way I did. I was excited to re-gain ownership of my body, and I had no idea how long of a process that would be.
It has now been 8 months since the baby was born and only now does it feel like I am my own person again. I am no longer breastfeeding, my body had healed from the birth, and I am starting to comfortably fit into pre-baby clothes (obviously it’s the expensive jeans that still don’t fit).
There are parts of me that will never be the same, and I am learning to accept that, but it is an on-going battle. The realization that my stomach will always be a little stretchier, and my boobs will always be a little less perky than they used to be is a challenge to accept. But I am determined to accept it, and have honest, un-filtered conversations with my friends who are learning how to accept their own post-partum changes.
I think the only way we can really learn to accept the changes is to talk about it. Talk about the struggles, talk about how lost you sometimes feel with a newborn, and don’t forget to compliment one another. Hearing another mom echo your anxieties is great, but hearing that you're doing a kick-ass job, while looking good is amazing.