℅ Choies blanket wrap; ℅ Just Dawnelle scarf; Sorel boots (bought on sale last week, but back up to regular price?); Old Navy jeans.
I was checking my email the other day and came across a picture of a woman in Yahoo! entitled “four days after birth.” Curious, I checked on it and I was pretty blown away. She looks amazing and unreal. Reading on I found that there was a lot of backlash on the photo and what this woman represents and I wanted to throw my two sense in there as a childbearing woman myself.
I think people go one of two ways when criticizing pregnant (and post pregnant) women. They either scorn them for gaining too much weight and letting themselves go (Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson), or scorn them for either not dropping weight quickly after birth or losing it too fast. Remember that fit mom on Facebook a month or so back? Celebrities are praised for getting their “bodies back” almost instantaneously, yet the woman on Yahoo! was ripped apart for looking great 4 days after birth. Which one is worse? Gaining too much during or losing it too quickly (or too slowly) after? Where is the happy medium?
My first pregnancy was great. I gained about 22 pounds and felt awesome. I was mostly all belly and after the seventh month or so could barely eat because the baby was pressed up into my stomach. It felt like a lap band must feel, you are hungry, yet feel full after a couple of bites. I snacked a ton and worked out on the elliptical till the day before I gave birth and had a really easy and quick labor. After I had my daughter I lost about 15 pounds within the first two days and my stomach flattened out quickly. I was lucky. I felt good about myself and proud that I had bounced back pretty quickly. (Don’t hate me.)
I got pregnant again really quickly and ended up on bed rest for part of it and couldn’t work out (plus I was running after a toddler, so hello! no rest.) It was summer, I was always hot and ate a ton of strawberry ice cream. I gained the same amount of weight as my first and dropped about 12 pounds after my sons birth, but the results after weren’t quite the same. I had two babies under 17 months and was about 10 pounds over my pre baby weight and held onto it for year. I looked okay, but there was a lot of extra skin and my hips were wider and life was busy. It wasn’t until I started working out on a regular basis again (God bless the daycare at the Y!) that I eventually got down to my new fighting weight, which is still about 5 pounds more than my original, before children weight. My childbearing body has grown in some places, shrunken in other, but I’m also stronger and healthier than I have ever been. I work hard at it and feel (mostly!) good about myself.
I think there are a lot of factors that go into weight gain in pregnancy and what we look like after. I will never look the same as I did before my kids. My body is different, but it is not worse. Just altered. I have extra skin on my belly and wider hips and I have more cellulite. Maybe if I worked out even more and ate cleaner I could be even better, but for me I feel comfortable with myself. What wouldn’t help is to have critics sitting on the sidelines and judging how I live and gain and lose.
I think it’s easy to judge another woman from afar and believe we know better. From pregnancy to motherhood and everything in between, we are looked at under a microscope sometimes and often feel the need to criticize those around us (not to mention complete strangers.) We either gain too much or too little, lose weight too fast or not fast enough. How can we win? There are so many realities when in comes to childbirth and what we look like after and none of them are helped by critics around us. While I don’t enjoy someone lording their amazing post body baby over me in a “what’s wrong with YOU, lazy” kind of way, I can certainly be impressed by their dedication. And maybe even a tad jealous.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pie to eat;)