I find newly postpartum bodies incredibly beautiful. Very feminine--or perhaps the better word is womanly. I love the empty, rounded belly; the soft bread-dough skin; the flush of hormones.
Then the swelling and the shrinking slow down and that's where the postpartum frumpiness sets in. It doesn't help when celebrities shrink back to their pre-pregnant bodies in record time. If you want to make yourself feel bad about your post-baby body, then definitely DON'T look at this 24-page slideshow of magical shrinking celebs! Last year, MSNBC reported on how Celebrity mamas fuel post-baby body blues:
Perhaps the most painful part about the new celebumom standard is that it’s managed to infiltrate the last bastion of the female experience. Years ago, moms got a pass — even moms with movie deals. Now even motherhood — the great equalizer — has gotten a brutally hot makeover.In fact, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQEHC) recently advised that new mothers should take 6-12 months to gradually lose their pregnancy weight. An article discussing the IQEHC's recommendations reported:
Wilson says standards have become so distorted that a “normal” mom body is now viewed as “unattractive.”
“The tabloids and TV make it seem like it’s not normal that your body looks different after you’ve had a baby,” she says. “It’s like there’s something wrong with you physically — or you’re lazy — if you’re not able to get back to the exact same shape and size that you were prior to conceiving a child. And that’s impossible.”
Impossible, that is, if you don’t happen to have a personal trainer, personal chef, nutritionist, nanny, night nurse, and three or four full-time assistants.
“Celebs have 24-hour ‘round the clock care,” says Suzanne Schlosberg, mother to 13-month-old twin boys and co-author of The Active Woman’s Pregnancy Log: A Day-to-Day Diary and Guide to a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy. “They’ve got somebody to take care of baby while they do their workouts with their $250-an-hour trainer. They’ve got a fancy personal chef creating their perfect 200-calorie meals. It’s not an even playing field. They have all these advantages that real people don’t have.”
The IQEHC said celebrities who are back at their normal weight within weeks of giving birth are not necessarily a good example for other mothers.
Nicole Kidman was back in her skinny jeans weeks after her daughter's birth last year, and model Heidi Klum was back on the catwalk shortly after giving birth. Unlike most new mothers, these women usually have a collection of nannies and housekeepers on call, leaving them extra time to work on their figures.
The institute said gaining weight in pregnancy is normal and necessary to support the unborn baby. Taking that weight off again should take some time.
“Having a new baby is a major change in lifestyle,” the IQEHC guidelines state.
“After childbirth, weight loss is complicated by the extra stresses the mother is facing, and her need to provide nutrition for her baby if she is breastfeeding. Women are exposed to many unrealistic images of female body size, and body size around pregnancy or after birth is no exception. That makes it difficult for many women to be satisfied with their figures, and it can damage their self-image and enjoyment of their body. You do not have to be movie star thin to be happy, healthy and have a healthy baby.” Read more here.
I know, I know. But it's still hard to not fit into some of my clothes, to have that extra thickness, and to feel frumpy in addition to being tired from taking care of a newborn and a toddler!
Other mothers have recently shared their thoughts about their postpartum bodies: Jill at Keyboard Revolutionary talks about her cesarean scar bothering her years after her surgery. Housefairy talks about diets and how "this is me, and there is not one iota of room in this Mama for added stress of self hate." In another post, she mentions her post-cesarean (x3) body. And I'm still waiting for her to finish her post about 34 years of body image. (Hint hint!)
Thoughts? Comments? Any other good posts or articles about postpartum bodies you'd like to share?