I saw it again today. The Huffington Post was talking about some model or actress "flaunting" her amazing, post-baby body. Meanwhile I am flaunting my doughy, totally-flawed, newly hippy, post-baby body. Post as in 12-months-post-baby. Although I am only eight pounds heavier than I was before getting pregnant, I'm starting to realize that the pressure placed on me to be back at my pre-baby weight is unbelievably ridiculous. I tend to oscillate between feeling depressed about this and feeling content with my new womanly figure.
Before I got pregnant, I was determined to have an impeccable and healthy pregnancy. I would be like my Facebook friends, who run five miles at eight months pregnant, then post pictures of their treadmill monitor. I felt so good about myself when I was killing it at spin class just eight weeks in. But when morning sickness caught up with me and I lost a significant amount of weight, I decided that working out was for the birds while nachos and Lucky Charms are for pregnant women. My doctor actually agreed with me. She wanted me to gain as much as I could because I was petite to begin with.
I ended up only gaining 25 pounds, which is modest for a pregnancy. So I thought I would be back to my swimsuit-ready figure in no time. But that isn't the way it's panned out. Of course I could wake up at 5:30 a.m. and run and exercise for an hour every morning before my son gets up, but he just started sleeping through the night. I could budget in a babysitter each week, but I would rather spend that time out with my husband—feeling like a normal 27 year-old, instead of killing it at the gym. I have priorities.
I am healthy, and moderately active, so I'm not condoning women who use pregnancy as a crutch to support their bad habits. I'm put together, so I'm also not a proponent of women who "lose themselves" when mommyhood comes calling. But I am thinking it's time for us all to chill out about our post-baby bodies.
When I look in the mirror and I see my delicate, soft pooch above my waistline, I sigh and think, Geez, I look like I had a baby. And I did. A beautiful, precious, and perfect baby boy. The truth is, my life is richer than it has ever been. I could spend a lot of time complaining about my love handles, but in a way, I feel like that would be dishonoring to this body that carried me through pregnancy and delivery and continued to produce nourishment for my son during his first year. My body has been good to me. It has done a spectacular job at doing what it was created to do. God has blessed me with health—limbs that work, eyes that see, and a back that rarely aches. Being critical of this body just doesn't feel right.
I will lose these extra pounds eventually by being responsible, not crazy; by being reasonable, not ridiculous; and by being active and healthy. The truth is, if I lived in a vacuum, I'd be perfectly happy with the way my body looks. But I don't. And I'm constantly comparing myself to what I used to look like and what so-and-so looks like after having her baby. I will find a happy medium here, somewhere between being hard on myself and appreciating my body. It's a journey we are on together, my body and me, and I want to honor it and love it, even if it never quite gets back to the way it was.
Deidra Romero is a freelance writer and blogger living in Franklin, Tennessee. She likes good coffee, good company, and a good story. She blogs about life, faith, culture and family here: www.DeidraWrites.com.