Laurie Sanders
May 20, 2013 4:00 am

So, you just had a baby. You’re feeling overwhelmed with love and happiness. Your days and nights are merging into one and you both smell of milk a lot of the time. You couldn’t be happier, this is all you’ve dreamed of… and then, Bam! You read an interview with Tracy Anderson (‘celebrity personal trainer’) in which she describes many post-baby bodies as ‘disasters’. Oh, was that last part just me?!

Six weeks after the birth of her daughter, Tracy Anderson was just 10lbs away from her pre-pregnancy weight, and she took to the pages of DuJour to tell everyone how she achieved this.

So then loads of people got real upset about those statements, and she issued an apology. But let’s be clear here – most women are already thinking about how they will lose the weight they gained before the baby even arrives. The thought of spending a long time in the body that pregnancy created terrifies a lot of new mums. The body we will have after childbirth is a thing of mystery, no-one really knows what their body is going to do once the baby arrives. And post-baby bodies are something we see very little of in the press. Celebs either hide out, or spring back into shape in record time. I’m lookin’ at you, Ms. Kerr.

For me personally, a lot of the extra stuff decided it was going to stay… to keep my midriff warm, perhaps? But nevertheless, I happen to think my post baby body is completely awesome. There’s nothing disastrous about it, that’s for sure – and most importantly, this body made me a mother.

Some women find their pregnancy pounds just melt away. Some women who were active during and after pregnancy may spring back into shape quite easily and so for those who don’t, it can be disconcerting. You want to feel like your old self, but honestly, there is no prize for the person who starves/trains themselves into the ground shortly after the birth of their baby. In three years’ time, it won’t matter how quickly you squeezed back into your skinnies and your baby won’t be a ‘baby’ anymore. In fact, you might even find, contrary to the pressure to get slim, that you need to eat extra calories to give you the energy needed to look after a tiny new person. That’s the truth. Being the absolute best mother you can be is much more empowering than desperately trying to achieve Yummy Mummy status.

It’s kinda dangerous to suggest that a woman showing signs of her pregnancy (or multiple pregnancies) a couple of years down the line would be regarded as having a “disaster body”. How can a body that delivered a child be regarded as a disaster? Growing, nourishing, birthing and then maybe nursing a baby is surely one of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful, powerful things you are ever going to do.

A 6-week-old baby is dependent upon its mother for everything. They need their touch, voice, scent and presence to thrive. I can’t imagine anything less important than weight at a time when there is a perfect little infant to be snuggled with! And, of course, you can shout things like, “I just had a baby! I am Superwoman!”

This is how women in other countries/cultures spend their post-partum weeks and months:

Bali: The first few months after birth are dedicated to healing—and holding. Babies in Bali don’t touch the floor for the first 105 days after birth, but instead are held continuously by their mothers and other close family members.

China: During a ritual referred to as “sitting the month,” new mums take an entire month off from their duties to simply stay in bed, heal and connect with their newborns.

Guatemala: As a part of la cuarantena, family members and close friends take over household duties while a new mama goes through 40 days of healing and mother-infant bonding.

Doesn’t that sound refreshing?! I think these traditions would certainly benefit women in the the US and the UK who are encouraged to get back to real-life as quickly as possible after the birth of their child. Babies are tiny for such a short time. Don’t buy into the idea that you need to be ‘Yummy’ or any other silly meme designed to make you feel less-than-perfect. You are a mother now, and no matter how long it takes you to get back to feeling a little more ‘normal’, being a great mother will always be more important than your clothes size.

Featured image via.

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