Stop the Postpartum Body-Shaming

Stop the Postpartum Body-Shaming

We are living in a society where we as women are told, that we need to be perfect at all times – to look a certain way, the importance of being successful, and how success is defined…….not to mention the fact that we need to “bounce” back to our pre-pregnancy body right after giving birth! Being a mom to two kids, and having gone through two pregnancies I feel very strongly about the “bouncing” right back to the pre-pregnancy body aspect!

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about feeling my best, being healthy and fit……but I don’t agree with the pressure that society and we, as mothers, put on our self to look a certain way right after we have given birth! I have always stayed active, and worked out because it made me feel fit, strong and healthy…..not because I wanted to see a certain number on the scale! In fact I very rarely weighted myself.

I am 164cm (5’3), and before I got pregnant the first time I was 55kg (121lbs)….during the first pregnancy I gained 14kg (30lbs) and had huge belly, despite staying active, working out, and eating healthy (no crazy cravings!). Of course I wanted to lose the weight once our son was born, but I also consciously decided that I am not going to stress myself about the number on the scale. In fact I decided to ditch the scale…..I continue being active, working out, and eating healthy (for the most part), and of course the weight came down……to 53kg (116lbs).

That was a little over one year after our son was born, and about the time I got pregnant with our daughter. With the second pregnancy I gained 16kg (35lbs) and had even bigger belly. Again the weight came down, but to be honest I have absolutely no idea what I weight at this point in my life…..and I am not really interested! All I know is that my body has definitely changed. Not in a bad or a good way….it simply has changed. Even though I still fit in my jeans from 15 years ago, my body doesn’t look as toned as it did before I got pregnant. In fact, when I have a bigger meal or too much water, I get a little belly that looks like I am pregnant in the fourth month or so! And this is absolutely ok with me!

Instead of focusing on the fact that my body doesn’t look like it used to pre-pregnancy, I choose to focus on the fact that this same body gave us our two perfectly healthy babies! That this same body allows me to run around with my kids, go on family adventures and experiences, and stay healthy! Just the fact that my own body is capable of not only creating a new life, but nurturing it for nine whole months, make me appreciate it much more! Makes me feel much stronger and happier in my own body!

I personally believe that it is simply not a realistic or fair expectations to get our pre-pregnancy body naturally (meaning without the proper nutrition, working out, etc). This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t want to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, or let our self go…..absolutely not! What it means is that we should give our self time for our body to recover, and to adapt to the new reality……and have realistic expectations! One extremely important aspect that we should remember is that we are all different, our bodies are different, our metabolisms are different…..and our lifestyles are different! Probably “bouncing” back after a pregnancy is much easier in your 20’s then your 30’s….I am assuming!  As well as, instead of wasting so much energy on the “bouncing” back aspect, we should focus on our baby, and staying healthy……the weight will eventually go down! 

I am always shocked at the extremely negative way so many women talk about their own body… makes me truly sad! I understand that we all want to look good, but the problem is that when we focus too much on something that we are not happy about…..we just provide the space in our head for this aspect that we are so focused on to grow, and soon enough this is the only thing we see when we look in the mirror! The point I want to make is that, we shouldn’t compare our self to anyone else’s experience or body. As I already said, we are all different and each one of us experiences pregnancy and recovery in a completely different way! One thing that you can do is focus on your own experience, and giving your body what it truly needs. So instead of talking / thinking negatively about your body, focus on listening to your body and the signs that it is sending you….and start making the needed changes on daily basis in order to see the results!

Another important reason I refuse the negative (self) talk about my own or anybody else’s body, is the fact that I have kids (especially our daughter) that are listening and watching me! I want to teach them, that you don’t need to have a perfect body (what is this any way!?), to be perfectly happy with your own body, and yourself! I want to teach them that our body changes over the years, but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of our self and make our health a priority at any given point! And lastly I want to teach them that the reason I workout every single day, and nourish my body is because I want to be healthy, strong and fit…..and that I can be self-confident at any age!

This is a topic for a whole different blog, but one thing I want to make you aware of is that there are so many reasons why you can’t lose the weight after your pregnancy. Just to give you an idea – it could be hormonal, it could be nutrition, it could be lifestyle, it even could be too little sleep! So before you start shaming yourself (or anyone else) for not “bouncing” back right away to your pre-pregnancy body, be proactive! What I mean by that is, find out what your body needs at this particular stage in your life, and what changes you need to make to see the wanted results! And remember whatever you decide to do, give yourself grace, space and time……and focus on this amazing and crazy experience of motherhood!

Stay healthy


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