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How Much Do We Hate the Term “Post-Baby Body”?

Chelsea Nelson

We all get it. Right?

The pressure to be thin is one that we, as women, deal with our entire lives. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of my body in terms of how others viewed it. Even at my 5th grade talent show, when I did a ballet number and had several other kids call me “chubby” after I presented myself in a leotard, I was aware I should be thinner. As a thin teenager and avid dancer, I never felt as thin as I was and was always aware of my skinnier peers. For the record, looking back, that really pisses me off because clearly, I didn't have any reason to put that kind of pressure on myself.

"Chubby" ballerina, ballet school photo - circa 1987 (P.S. I remember feeling like my thighs looked fat in this photo.)

"Chubby" ballerina, ballet school photo - circa 1987 (P.S. I remember feeling like my thighs looked fat in this photo.)

At my personal peak of hotness in 1994 - even in my flannel and Doc Martens. Nirvana forever!

At my personal peak of hotness in 1994 - even in my flannel and Doc Martens. Nirvana forever!

Fast-forward about 20 years (OMG) and I still feel like that insecure teenager sometimes. Although, being a new mom, the pressure has intensified in a way that is almost maddening. But you want to know what really irks me the most? It is the constant use of the term “post-baby body” and the connotation that it brings: "if you bounce right back, you are better."

From Scarlett Johansson to Gwen Stefani (both whom I admire on some level as strong women (see links)), the focus on how quickly they ‘bounced back’ after birth leaves me feeling a sense of failure. On some level, I am sure that both of these women would rather have us focus on their successes as mothers and less on their body. However, this isn’t how our society functions - and even though I know comparing myself to a celebrity is logically ridiculous, I can't help it. I think most of us can't. Take these headlines for example:

Eva Mendes Makes First Post-Pregnancy Appearance, Looks Slim in All-Black Ensemble Just Six Weeks After Welcoming Baby with Ryan Gosling"

Yeah – something tells me that birthing Ryan Goslings spawn automatically makes you MORE beautiful post-baby, so maybe she doesn’t count. I kid.

Amazing Post-Baby Bikini Bodies: See the Stars Who’ve Bounced Back Months After Giving Birth

Oh hey – thanks for making me feel like crap first thing in the morning, US Weekly!

Fastest Celebrity Post-Baby Slim-Downs"

Really? Even the health-focused sites are doing this? I must really just be a big ol’ ball of lazy chub. Yup, that’s it. All this breastfeeding and not sleeping is no excuse. Oh yeah, and that whole full-time job thing. Balderdash!

The Best Celebrity Post-Baby Bodies

Oh look – Ciara still has a six-pack. WHAT? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Photoshop MUST be involved. It must.

Megan Fox goes make-up free and displays her impressive post-baby body in grey leggings three months after giving birth

I hate myself.

********

This is how it goes some days. And then I take a look at all my beautiful momma friends – all different shapes and sizes – and I think that every damn one of them are amazingly beautiful (and talented and brilliant and funny). Their post-baby bodies are real. Maybe we don’t look like Megan Fox or Olivia Wilde (loved her breastfeeding editorial in Glamour, P.S.) – but I am here to say SO WHAT! I didn’t start off at 100 pounds soaking wet, so I am not going to look like that ever. But here is what I do look like:

Our little family in Buena Vista, Colorado for Thanksgiving 2014

Our little family in Buena Vista, Colorado for Thanksgiving 2014

My hair grew long and strong while pregnant and luckily hasn’t fallen out yet from postpartum hormones! (The baby hairs are in full force though, friends; loud and proud little wavering static baby hairs--at all times.)

My smile is immeasurably brighter because my kid makes me completely light up.

My body is softer, but doesn’t generally look THAT much different. So, maybe I was a little chubby to begin with. There, I said it.

Luckily, I have been able to breastfeed my baby with no problems, so naturally no shirt I own will button over my gigantic boobs -- but my kid is thriving and healthy and we get to have that bond (this has been especially important to me as a working mom. It is our reconnection point, our touchstone).

My smile is kinder.
My heart is bigger.

My hands are gentler
My steps are softer.

My post-baby body has nothing to do with how I appear, but how I have become so much more. More myself. More loving. More whole. My post-baby body made us a family. (Ok, my husband may have had something to do with it too).

So, listen up, you ridiculous headlines and celebrity gossip creators: get it figured out already. We are women becoming mothers. We already have it hard enough. Give us a break! Our ‘post-baby bodies’ are damn great, no matter how they appear on the red carpet of our lives -- LOOK WHAT THEY CREATED!

Sincerely,
Chelsea, a new mom
#MomStuff

 

Do you have other terms or phrases that get your mom-sense all out of whack? What makes you crazy?

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