October 7, 2019

Why Chasing the Pre-Baby Body is Fighting Nature

Bounce back.

Shed the baby weight.

Pre-baby body.

These are just a few of the ways in which we women are reminded after literally rearranging our organs and growing an entire human being that we aren’t good enough until we can somehow erase all memory of that miraculous feat from the physical vessel that performed it.

You know what I’m talking about … the expectation that we give birth and then immediately (as immediately as possible, anyway) shed the weight, get back to work, look like we used to, wear what we used to, fit what we used to. It’s ludicrous.

But even for someone like me, who considers herself enlightened, empowered, and in tune with the universe, I have my moments.

Moments where I feel sad because I have to put into storage a favourite pair of jeans that I just can’t button up anymore.

Moments where I feel angry because I have to go up a size when shopping at my old haunts.

Moments where I feel despair because I play the comparison game and see another mom whose body was bounce-backier than mine.

And it’s in those moments I have to physically remind myself of a truth that came to me one night a few months ago, as I lay in bed wide awake but exhausted, rocking my baby to sleep, wondering when I was going to be able to go back to my old routine.

My old routine. My old body. My old life.

I realized in that moment that there will never truly be a going back, and that’s okay. Because just like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, child birth changes a woman beyond recognition.

Child birth, motherhood, they’re evolution. EVOLUTION.

Every part of you changes when you have a baby: your capacity for love; your patience; your understanding; your strength; your resilience; your depth…

It makes sense then, that your physical vessel should change, too. And we should stop seeing that change as temporary.

Yes there will always be exceptions to the rule; women who work hard to get that pre-baby body back, and I’m not here to talk about them or their journey. I’m here to say that for the rest of us, there’s absolutely no shame in embracing the evolution our motherhood has triggered.

It’s time to reframe how we feel about mom bodies.

It’s time to shift the narrative from one of mourning to one of celebration.

We focus so much on the well being of the baby, and so very little on the well being of the mother.

It’s time to change the conversation. It’s time to give ourselves permission to love ourselves again the way we are. Right now. In this place. In this moment.

It’s time to let go of the need or expectation to go back to anything. We need to start embracing the body we have, and celebrate the miraculous things it did to bring our babies into the world, and the things it continues to do and cut it, and yourself, some slack.

It’s time to respect this evolution with the magnitude it deserves.

Imagine the HUGE cultural shift that would happen if we started to think of this phase of life as a natural evolution of our species rather than simply a means to an end? Imagine the change in women’s mental health with this one small shift?

What can you do today to empower yourself or another mom in the body she is in?

8 Comments

  • Sandra Joseph says:

    Society puts such a demand on women for perfection especially after having a baby. It doesn’t help that many celebrities have the means to have surgery right after and make it look so easy to “bounce back”. I think that plays a huge role in women doubting themselves too! Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue!

    • Sarah K says:

      Thank YOU for commenting, Sandra. You’re right. This culture of ours can be ridiculous. I often wonder if even those celebrities perhaps resent the drive to constantly be “picture perfect”. How can a miracle be anything but perfect?

  • Amy says:

    Truth! Iā€™m constantly reminding myself to give myself grace!

  • Rachael says:

    I think a lot of this is the stress we put on ourselves, comparing ourselves to others with “bounce-backier” bodies (or personal trainers). Our partners often see our post-pregnancy bodies as the most wonderous things. To have given birth, be breastfeeding… they are in awe and don’t notice the extra pounds.

    • Sarah K says:

      There is so much truth here. My partner has never seen me as anything other than beautiful so I don’t know why it’s been so had to accept it. We absolutely put the stress on ourselves.

  • Anne Murphy says:

    Totally agree Sarah. You can’t fight nature. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been healthier in my life since I’ve had my babies. Touch wood, I haven’t had a cold in years nor any other major health problems compared to when I was younger and pre-babies.

    • Sarah K says:

      I truly think it’s an evolution. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point though. And I KNOW!!! My immune system is completely different now since I’ve had my kiddos. I keep reading about the amazing symbiosis that happens when we are pregnant with our little ones. Mom bodies are miracles. Thanks for commenting, Anne!

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