There are a lot of people in my social media circle who have recently had a baby or who have had a baby within the last year. I’m sure a lot of moms who have had a baby can relate to this topic in one way or another. Now, I’ve never had a baby, but I am aware of some of the expectations around postpartum bodies. I’m also aware of postpartum comments/statements that can be made to new moms that can be hurtful to them and harmful to society.
Expectations Around Postpartum Bodies
I don’t think the culture we live in does enough of embracing postpartum bodies in a positive, healthy way. There is a big pressure to get back to that “pre-baby body”; harsh diets, rigid workout regimes, and handfuls of different pills and supplements are some things that support that negative expectation. And when our expectations don’t meet our realities, it can cause anger, frustration, and depression.
Our bodies aren’t meant to go back to the way they were before having a child (I mean, you literally shoved a tiny human out of your vagina, so give yourself -and your body- a break). A lot changes in the body in order to get that little one into your arms. EMBRACE the new you as much as you embrace that precious babe of yours. LISTEN to what your body needs! Whether that be rest, some positive movement, carrots and ranch, or chocolate and popcorn your body knows what it needs, and as you practice listening to it you can supplement it in a positive way.
Don’t be fooled by false expectations from ads, social media, and products that just want your money. Don’t let those thoughts of getting back to your “pre-baby body” stress you out or bring you down. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LOVE YOUR POSTPARTUM BODY. It will probably take time, but you can help others on their postpartum journey and change the culture we live in to embrace postpartum bodies in a healthy, positive way.
Postpartum Comments Said to Mothers
“You can’t even tell you had a baby!” “You look so good!” “I can’t believe you’ve lost all of your baby weight already!” “You bounced back quickly!” Are you guilty of saying this to someone after they’ve had a baby? I know I am. Though we may have good intentions to give a confidence boost with these comments, a lot of times they hurt more than they help. We don’t realize it, but we are supporting those negative societal expectations like you have to look good after having a baby, and that your body needs to “bounce back” to your “pre-baby body”.
Comments like the ones mentioned above can also be a reminder to other moms that their body never “bounced back”, or that they still haven’t found a “stretch mark removal” cream that works, or that they still haven’t lost that “baby weight” from five years ago. Let’s change the way we compliment postpartum mothers. Tell her that motherhood has given her a new glow, or that you can see in her eyes how much love she has for her child/children. Tell her how strong she is, how capable she is, and that she is doing a great job.
Be a positive and healthy influence in this world. Change starts with YOU and ME. Let’s break the stigmas and unhealthy expectations around postpartum. And for all you mothers out there: KEEP GOING. You are doing AWESOME!!
“There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes you longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”