Updated: May 6, 2020
“When am I going to lose all of my baby weight?”
“Why do I still look like I’m pregnant even though I’m several weeks postpartum?” “Will I ever look the way I did before I had a baby?”
“When am I going to get my body back?”
Do these questions sound familiar? Do they run through your head as a postpartum mom? Do you feel like you’re never going to feel like yourself ever again? All of these questions and feelings are completely normal – you have so many hormones going crazy in your body that everything can feel out of control and you’re looking for some sense of normalcy in the midst of it all.
One thing you will be bombarded with as a new mom is all kinds of ads and emails and posts trying to sell you workout programs and weight loss food and pushing you to “get your body back!” or “lose the baby weight!” And while I’m sure some of these things are well intentioned, this sends the wrong message to vulnerable new moms. There is absolutely no pressure to get your body back and here’s why:
1. You Need to Heal
Whether you delivered vaginally or with a C-section, your body has been through an incredible amount of trauma. Just as you wouldn’t jump back into normal life and fitness after a major surgery, neither should you after giving birth. You need to give yourself time to adjust to the new normal and let your body recover. Depending on how traumatic your delivery was, the time you need to heal properly can be months long! There is no one time period that fits every woman and her birth experience. Get input from your OB, gynecologist, and pelvic floor physical therapist to make sure that you don’t have any underlying issues that need to be resolved.
2. Your Body may be Permanently Changed
Because of the incredible amount of changes that your body goes through during pregnancy and even delivery, there’s a possibility that your body will never look the same way as it did before you had children. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! You should be able to return to most activities that you enjoyed pre-pregnancy through careful work and building back slowly but be aware that some changes to your body may be permanent.
3. "Body Back" Can Promote Unsafe Routines Postpartum
Eating plans, and weight loss competitions are promoted way before most moms are ready for them. Moms who are trying to breastfeed drastically cut down their calories trying to lose weight or follow a certain diet, which makes it difficult to produce a good amount of milk. Gyms promote mommy boot camps where you compete against each other for pounds lost or miles run. Then newly postpartum moms jump into these programs way before they are ready – when they are still trying to heal. But the pressure from society and social media makes you feel like you have to lose all of the baby weight as soon as possible so that “fit in” with all of the other moms doing the same thing. But doing what other moms are doing isn’t always the best thing for you and the journey you’re on.
Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different. How you feel postpartum with your first child can be completely different from your second or third child. You need to evaluate how you feel and what steps you need to take to properly heal and set yourself up for a successful return to fitness. Make sure that you’re including your OB/GYN, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, Perinatal Fitness Specialist, and any other people you need to help you on your journey!