We have an opportunity right now. You and I. As pregnant women.
You, me, your cousin, and everyone else who is currently growing life inside them.
It’s up to us to change postpartum.
The year after the birth of your child should NOT be focused on losing weight. It can’t. We can’t survive like this. We can’t keep losing our grip on our self respect because of the way we look after we used our bodies to build another body.
We have to stop commending our friends who lose weight quickly. They are not winning anything. That is their body composition, nothing more. It’s not related to their love for their child or their ability to parent.
We can no longer talk about our “pre-baby” bodies as if they are something we have lost and must find again. We are in the same body. It’s stronger and wiser now. And I’m guessing you wouldn’t give back your child for your flat stomach, so let’s just move on, yes?
When we get together for playdates, or walks, or afternoon coffee, we can’t talk about our bodies like they are moving too slow. Like they have a job to do and are either succeeding or failing at it. The only job our bodies have after having a baby is healing itself and feeding a baby. Not to fit back into jeans that we don’t want to wear any way.
We have to care for and love our bodies now. This time. Not later, not next time. NOW. At every stage. At 9 months pregnant full and glowing and at 9 days post partum leaking and aching. It’s all amazing. And it’s up to us to be the ones to change it.
We can’t just sit here and wish that our mothers had taught us what was normal, or that there more advocates for safe postpartum recovery.
We can’t just sit here and wish away the instamodels with 2 week PP 6packs and zero stretch marks.
We can’t just sit here and hope that in the future women will take better care of themselves post partum.
We have to be those advocates. We have to be those powerful examples. We have to take on the responsibility of loving ourselves and accepting our bodies.
We can’t just sit here and wait for some outside source to tell us that it’s okay.
We have to tell it.
We have to teach it.
We can’t wait for postspartum to come back into style. It won’t happen. Soft bellies and sore boobs will never be a fashion statement. But we can make it normal. We can decide that we are going to be our unapologetically powerful selves. We just had a BABY. Made it inside our body. We are the heroes. We know that, and we don’t need a flat stomach or perky butt to prove it.
We need sleep. And good food. And we need as much love as we are giving. You hear me? We need to give ourselves as much love as we are giving away.
Next time you’re with your mom friends, can you brag about how many vegetables you ate? Can you talk about how successful you’ve been at turning off Scandal and getting in bed in time to sleep a couple of hours before one of your kids gets up? Can we commend our fellow mamas on their ability to eat 3 entire meals in a day, and not in their ability to resist carbs or stay out of the pantry after dinner?
I’m not saying we need to applaud each other’s bad habits. Pregnancy tends to take a toll on our healthy habits, between cravings, food aversions and exhaustion we find a new normal and it’s also normal to want to get back to the good habits we know are better for us. But let’s do that. Let’s talk about good habits and good health. Not about fat and flab and who has more or less where.
We can discuss our bodies when, and only when, we learn to speak of our flabby bellies with as much love and enthusiasm as we do our babies chubby thighs and neck rolls.
Until then, we are all on probation. Self love probation.
I’m about to have my third child.
And this time, I don’t want to feel bad about how quickly or slowly I lose the pounds I put on during this time of growing a child. I want to focus on properly healing my body after the 9 month long workout I’ve put it through.
I don’t want you to tell me how thin I look after the baby. I’ve heard it before and I don’t want to hear it anymore. It makes it feel like if I weren’t thin, you wouldn’t have something nice to say to me.
I don’t want you to ask me when I will start exercising again. Because being postpartum is a workout. I’m carrying a baby, making milk, and taking care of my other children and at the end of the day I have to get up the stairs to put myself to bed. So I haven’t stopped exercising, I’m working harder than the strongest strong man could ever imagine. I’m just doing it in my pyjammas. They invented stretchy clothes for a reason.
I want to take it easy. Enjoy the newborn phase. Eat heartily and drink tons of water. Have a glass of wine. Sleep through the afternoon – at least once. Play peek-a-boo and share a bowl of cheerios with a sticky fingered toddler.
When I think of my life 1 year from today, at which point I will be 8 months post partum, I don’t think to myself “man I hope I have my abs back”. It’s just not a goal. I have business goals, financial goals, family goals. I don’t have a weight loss goal.
When I think of next October, I hope I have more. I hope my business is thriving, my kids are healthy, that I’m recovering well and that I’m able to make it all work with 3 kids, work, and a marriage.
I’m not thinking about my weight.
And I truly believe, that if all the other women who have babies from today forward, all of us, if we come together, that we can have a carefree recovery. If we just don’t comment and commend on eachother weight and body shape. If we find other things to be proud of eachother for, to be happy for eachother for other accomplishments, that we can change postpartum. But it’s up to us.
We don’t have an example right now. We have the internet ploughing us with pictures of 20-something women posing with their postpartum abs and while, YES, good for them, there are SO many other shades of postpartum that it is incredibly important for US – you and I – to shed light on.
We need to love and care for our bodies. Not try to change them or whip them “back into shape” after we deliver our babies.
Let’s love our bodies, and care and nurture and respect the need to rest of our bodies as much as we do the tiny little human who was only a few days/weeks/months one and the same. What if we rested, fed, and nourished our postpartum bodies as if they too were a newborn?
We have to give ourselves a chance to heal and grow, to recover and return to healthy function. We have to let our newborn babies adjust to the world outside the womb. Slowly, with lots of rest and food. And not too much stimulation, not at first. That will come, there’s lots of time for running and jumping and expending large amoutns of energy, but not right away.
Let’s change it. You and me, oh pregnant ladies of the present and future.
It is up to us.