Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Back and Other Myths of Motherhood

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Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Back and Other Myths of Motherhood

March 2, 2014

I cannot quite figure out why so many of us women are eager to share our pregnancy and birth experiences, but anything that comes after baby is born, mum’s the word.

There is so much pressure, misinformation and missing information when it comes to what being a new mom or a mom in general is really like.

I remember texting my three girlfriends who had had babies a few weeks and months before me, asking about bed-sharing, postpartum bleeding, sleep, anxiety . . . I could go on. I was desperate to know if what I was feeling and thinking and experiencing was normal. Why when my baby was finally sleeping was I wide awake? Was it safe to sleep in the same bed as my daughter or would I squish her? Why won’t she sleep longer than 1 hour at a time? Will I always feel this anxious?

First baby wear 5 days oldThese questions and more were running through my head and in frantic texts to my girlfriends. I was desperate and I felt utterly alone. Being a mother was scary, challenging, and so so new to me.  I really began to realize that I was not prepared – even though I had truly thought I was. I had no idea what I was doing or what to do next. The feeling was terrifying.

In motherhood, is it possible to ever feel prepared? I really don’t think so. But why we don’t talk more about these things, I’m really not sure. Is it because so many of us women have the mentality, intentional or not, that we must be Supermoms, that we shouldn’t ask for help, and that if we do, we are a failure?

Well, I’m going to tell you, you cannot do it all and you should not do it all. You are not a failure if you ask for help. Being a mother is tough work.

Something I don’t think we talk enough about is our bodies after baby. I think many of us assume that getting our pre-baby bodies back will be effortless as long as we continue healthy eating and exercising. No one really talks about the stretch marks, widened hips, changed breasts.  It is entirely possible to return to the same weight, but almost a guarantee that your body will be markedly different. Your body changed its shape; it widened, loosened and stretched to make sure you grew the healthiest baby (or babies you could) – it’s silly to think that our bodies won’t be altered slightly.

We need to start a dialogue and keep it open, removing shame and ridiculous comparisons.

The immense pressure and expectations put upon mothers by themselves, others and society is ludicrous. Add to that the absurd comparison between “regular mothers” and “celebrity mothers” and you have a recipe for failure.

We all have friends who seem to be back to their pre-pregnancy bodies, who may even be slimmer and stronger than ever. Try not to assume that their bodies are perfect and unchanged. Their changes may be less visible, hidden beneath clothing. Mothers are the only ones who truly know how much their bodies have changed.

I believed with all of my being that my body would return to its original form before my baby had turned a year old.  Like so many others, the myth of getting my pre-baby body back pervaded my mind and set me up for failure.

I knew some women didn’t return to their original shapes, sizes and fitness levels after baby, but I honestly assumed it was because they weren’t being healthy or exercising enough. I had no idea that I could eat well, and exercise and still be nowhere near my pre-pregnancy body and weight.

Please don’t use your pre-pregnancy shape and weight as a measure of success.

Some of us will forever wear the reminders of the time our babies spent inside of us, growing each day. And while change is difficult – tighter clothing, bulging veins, wider hips and stretch marks – the journey to accepting yourself and acknowledging your new role and new body is key.

Please don’t be discouraged by your new body.  Your journey is unique. Your body is unique. You are unique.

So continue to be the healthy awesome you that you are. Exercise often, eat well, but do not shame yourself because your body is different now than it was before baby.

 Love yourself unconditionally.

~chelsey

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