Parents

Postpartum Body Shaming

Why is it that so many new moms feel pressured to get their pre-baby body back overnight?

This is my belly 3.5 months after having baby Kalina. I have some extra skin, my belly button ring I got when I was 16 is stretched out, and I still have a dark line down the middle of my stomach.

Does this bother me? Yeah, of course I would love to get a flat belly back. Do I think my baby notices this when she looks at me? Nope. She looks as me as a nurturing mother who will feed and protect her.

The other night while at dinner, two unnamed family members decided it would be okay to giggle about how I'm now fat, but it's okay, because I just had a baby.

I find this utterly disturbing. How about, "Wow! You're doing great! Being able to exclusively breastfeed your baby and take care of her all day is amazing."

Why is it that so many new moms feel pressured to get their pre-baby body back overnight? In one of my online mommy groups, a woman posted a text message from her husband who said she should start working on her weight now... for him. Why can't it be for her, in her own time?

“Two unnamed family members decided it would be okay to giggle about how I'm now fat, but it's okay, because I just had a baby. I find this utterly disturbing.”

I'm so lucky to have a husband who is beyond supportive and tells me I'm beautiful every day. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who pressure postpartum mamas. There are people out there who instead of congratulating a new mama for creating a human, they body shame her.

As a fitness instructor, I will take my time and get back into shape in the same way I would suggest to one of my clients. I will get there at my own pace. I will get there without feeling over-pressured, without listening to people judge, without worrying about fitting into my pre-baby jeans right away.

There will be some days when I'm too tired to work out after waking up three times at night with the baby. There will be some mornings where instead of hitting up an exercise class, I will choose to just stare at my baby and play with her in amazement for what my husband and I created.

“As a fitness instructor, I will take my time and get back into shape in the same way I would suggest to one of my clients. I will get there at my own pace.”

I will live in the moment, and I will be grateful that my body was strong enough to carry a healthy baby for nine months. This extra flab on my stomach will go away in time, and so will these fleeting moments with my sweet baby.

So to anyone who knows a new mom, how about we encourage her, inspire her, and congratulate her. A woman's body is beyond beautiful and should be celebrated, even when there is a little more to love.