I cannot tell you how many times I am asked this question at my postnatal yoga classes. It is a question that has been implanted by our culture that has led women to believe that there is something about their body after the baby comes that is not okay.
The subtle message we’re being told as women is “whoa you look amazing and radiant when you’re pregnant, glowing!” and then “whoa, it's time to get your body back!” There’s a huge disconnect in celebrating pregnant bodies that is not also celebrating postpartum bodies. It’s almost as if we’re being told that we can’t have a body after we have a baby, we have to that “pre-baby” body which completely negates the experience of having had the baby and what the body is like after that.
First of all, I find this absolutely infuriating. You just grew a human being! In your body! That is truly amazing and a complete miracle. Do you really want to go back to a body that didn't do this amazing thing? Your body has shifted and changed so much to make room for her to grow and for you to protect her. Now you have this beautiful baby in your arms (that you made inside your own body!). That is amazing! Celebrate that.
What I will say is that being a mom is hard work, it is the hardest work that you will ever do, and being strong when you do that is important. After the baby comes doing exercises to help foster your strength and also release the tension that comes from carrying and nursing and feeding and holding a new baby are very important. But getting your pre-baby body back? That's a whole different story.
Did you know that when you were pregnant the following happened:
Does this sound like something that you could bounce back from in a couple weeks? Would you want to? What I propose, is that we change the narrative around the post baby body. It is something to be celebrated, to be welcomed, but is also something to care for, to nourish and to support in growing stronger.
What if instead of the question of “when are you going to be back to your old self?” becomes “How can I help you feel more relaxed?” “How can I help you grow stronger?” “What can I feed you that will nourish you?” All of these are questions that new moms should be asking themselves, questions that new moms should be asking their bodies.
And what we should be saying to our bodies is thank you.
Thank you for everything that you did to help grow this beautiful baby. Thank you for growing and changing to support my growing baby. Thank you for all of the amazing things that you did for me in labor and childbirth. And thank you for all of the amazing things you continue to do to help feed and nourish my baby now that my baby is here. Thank you. You are amazing.
What do you need to say to your body today?
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.