Bellies After Birth

I just read a post on the Huffington Post about body image in the months after pregnancy. Here it is if you’re interested:

Kate Middleton and the Mom in the Mirror

I definitely agree with most of what the author says, especially about how unrealistic it is for any of us to believe we’ll ever look like we did at 15…particularly in the months after having a baby. One of my pet peeves is celebrities acting like they didn’t have trainers and cooks and housekeepers and nannies to help them have the time and energy to lose post-pregnancy weight in a matter of weeks. Besides, it’s their job to look good, as superficial as that sounds. Most of them need to get back into shape so they can act or perform or whatever it is that they do in the public eye. Most of us don’t have that kind of help and shouldn’t have that kind of pressure. But, in response to Kate Middleton’s small post-baby bump, the Weekend Today Show meteorologist said that she never knew women’s bellies didn’t just shrink after having the baby. That is what we’re dealing with here.

[Insert a major eye-roll.]

How in the world can a woman spend 40 weeks growing a baby and then 24 hours later look like it never happened?! It’s illogical, idiotic, and insulting. Especially for a woman to say such a thing about another woman!

In the weeks and months after I had my babies, I had people tell me that I looked like I had never been pregnant, and it didn’t feel like a compliment. I knew that’s how it was intended, but here’s the reality: if I had carried my babies full-term, I wouldn’t have looked that way. I only gained 15 pounds with my son, because I had him 14 weeks early. I hadn’t even gotten to the point in pregnancy yet when you actually start gaining a pound a week. When people commented on how slim I was, as I trudged in and out of the NICU, it actually made me feel guilty. When well-meaning moms said, “What’s your secret?” I wanted to respond with, “Skipping the whole third trimester.”

And so here’s my point. If the only way you can lose all your baby weight in a month or two is either to have an army of people helping you or have your baby three months early, then I think such a goal is totally unrealistic. We should be more focused on the cute baby and less focused on the remaining belly. And at least give a mom the same amount of time to lose the belly as it took growing the baby in it.

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