“You will bounce right back”, “If you nurse you will lose those extra kilos right away”. I’ve heard the statements so many times, and I have said them myself too. But maybe it is time to change our language and our mindset about “bouncing back” to how we looked before gaining weight? Whether it is a weight gain from being pregnant or something else (just straight up aging for example will change your body, surprise!). Our bodies change and sometimes we just have to change with them.
Finally it happened, the number on the scale showed 200lb! What a milestone. I had mixed feelings about it of course. Part of me saw it as an accomplishment and I felt proud to see such a large number on the scale and still feel great. Then there was the part of me that knew I had now gained about 50lb with my pregnancy and started panicking about how to lose all that weight. Knowing that a baby usually weighs only about 6-8lb and the fact that I had gone up a size in underwear and only wore maxi-dresses, it does not take a major in math to realize that I would not lose all the extra weight right after giving birth. Still that is what my mind kept pushing me toward believing. That I would “bounce back” within a few months after giving birth to our son. Now why would an intelligent woman who teaches yoga and fitness believe such a thing? Can I blame the media? Can I blame today's twisted expectations of the female body?
I consider myself a smart person and one of good self esteem and self worth, so why does a number on a scale get to me? I am pretty certain that scrolling through instagram pictures is part of my problem. Even though today's social media and commercials do a much better job of portraying real-looking women, there is still pressure to be “thin” and “fit” whatever that means. It is considered an accomplishment to lose weight and an expectation to do so after having a baby. Pictures of women with flat abs holding their 3 month old, the “before and after” pictures and the postpartum workout tips fill our screens. And even if we are intelligent and confident women, when we see a picture or a concept enough times, we start believing it. I think we are on the right track and that we are getting more real and honest online, but we still have a way to go. I got a good laugh the other day when a mother of 3 I follow posted this:
“I have given up trying to reach my original weight. 7lb 2oz just doesn’t seem realistic”
And she has a point! What we consider our original weight might be something we saw on the scale a long time ago and that is just not something to aim for. So how do we move away from the pressure and start to get comfortable in our bodies again?
How does your body feel? Such an important question. Because when I was 200lb I still felt pretty good! I was able to go on hikes, do yoga and my body was functioning fine. Did I fully feel like myself? Heck no! And that is my main motivation for losing some weight right now. I want to feel good. I want to be able to do a yoga class without feeling lightheaded. I want to feel energetic again (there might be some more things affecting this area at the moment, read: sleep deprived mama with two babies). What I am trying to get across is that my motivation for losing weight right now is connected to how I feel in my body, not to reach a specific number on the scale (I honestly don’t even have a scale so I cannot check this number anyways) or because my mirror is showing me a mom-pooch. I have always done some sort of physical exercise and continuing to be able to do so is what keeps me motivated (also the fact that I am a little cheap and lazy and want to fit into some of my clothes again, not gonna lie...hahaha). If your body feels like crap, then by all means - do something about it! But if you have gained a little weight and you feel good - why change?
So if you are reading this as a mother who has carried and grown babies in your body, what an amazing body you have!! It created life! And if you have stretch marks to show it, wear those tiger stripes with pride girl! It’s the era of women supporting women and I can assure you that the only one who cares about your mom-pooch or your stretch marks is you. Every mother in the room knows what you went through to get them and is honoring you, not judging you. And if anyone else is judging you, screw them! You are beautiful!
Three quick tips:
Do what makes you feel good. If that means losing weight for you then by all means. But if you feel good with some added kilos, wear those kilos with pride!
Look at your body in the mirror tonight (clothes off) and say in your head or out loud “Damn, you look good!!!”
Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all unique and your body is amazing!
If you are on instagram I enjoy following @thebirdspapaya for some realness around the postpartum and pregnant body.