I’m so sick of these Body After Baby shots. Puhlease! They take the most unflattering photograph they can find, then arrange a shoot for the most flattering shoot in a bikini possible, and trumpet loudly from the front cover “How I got my body back after baby”.
If I wasn’t a subscriber (talk about half the size issues – subscribing means it’s half the cover price!), I wouldn’t have bought this issue in sheer protest. I make no comment about Kourtney Kardashian because I don’t have an opinion on her and I haven’t read the article. I just don’t care.
But I do care about women and respect and motherhood. Just how stupid do magazines think women are? We know you put on weight when you carry a baby. We know your body doesn’t snap back automatically as soon as the baby’s out. We know it takes bloody hard work. We know all about Photoshop, flattering lighting, professional hair and makeup and body contouring faux tanning. We know the tricks, dudes.
Most of us don’t care. There will be a point, which comes later for some than others, when we decide we need to “do something” and “get fit”, but for most of us, we are more than happy to spend a few months (at the very least a few weeks) cocooning with this new magical person who has changed our lives. We establish feeding routines, and try and establish sleeping routines – for us and the baby. We do our best to get out of our pyjamas before lunchtime. Hell, we do our best to actually eat lunch.
I put on 11kgs of baby weight, and I had gestational diabetes and oedema to deal with too, plus SPD, meaning my exercise options were restricted. I also put on 5kgs of IVF weight in two weeks, just trying to get pregnant. Hormones are hell. I went up a dress size in two weeks.
So, how did I lose my baby weight? Well, to start off with, I gave birth to a 10 pound (4.5 kg) baby. That kinda helped. A bit more weight disappeared when I was able to start pushing the pram – post Caesearan and drug allergies didn’t help for a while. I went for daily walks and incidental exercise like climbing the stairs. I was back in my jeans the week I came home from hospital.
The IVF weight, however? The 5kgs I put on in two weeks has never really gone. When I was first diagnosed with a chronic illness seven years ago, I went on a very strict anti-inflammatory diet and lost a lot of weight and got back to the size 8-10 I spent most of my 20s being, but it just wasn’t sustainable. I’m a very happily curvaceous size 12 hourglass now but I try not to get hung up on size tags. I have everything in my wardrobe from a size 8 and S to 14 and XL and they all seem to fit. I’m perfectly OK with being a size bigger in my 30s, as I head into my 40s, than I was in my 20s.
After seven years of chronic illness, I’m clawing my way back to health. I’m regaining the strength and muscle tone which was lost from years of being movement restricted. I don’t diet – ever – but I do implement lifestyle changes if I notice that my favourite jeans are a bit tight, say. Life is to be lived and celebrated and enjoyed. I know that it wouldn’t be that difficult for me to be a size 8 again. But … I don’t want to. I love being a size 12. I think a bit of plump in the face is cheaper than Botox too! I’m fully embracing being an hourglass. I’m not 25, I’m nearly 40, recovering from a chronic illness with dodgy hormones to boot. I try to live a life of moderation, by starting the day off with a good protein-filled breakfast so I can enjoy a little afternoon treat.
Luckily, I’m a smart girl, if I do say so myself, and I know the tricks magazines (and celebrities and their managers) employ to make the photos look the best. What makes me sad is how many people know all this, yet it still infiltrates their thinking to the point that “getting body back after baby” is a constant source of discussion and an automatic assumption that it is very high on a new mother’s priority list.
Even if I was lucky enough to be able to afford around the clock help such as personal trainers, nutritionists, chefs and baby nurses, I would still take the time to enjoy and cocoon and relax and learn and grow. Food delivered on request and my house cleaned would be fantabulous though!
I’m not judging people who get their bodies back quickly, and I know there are some people out there who literally do just snap back. Usually incredibly fit and / or younger women, and props to them. I just don’t think it is necessary to display bikini shots on the front page of magazines that aren’t titles like “Bikini Babes” or swimwear catalogues. My diatribe doesn’t come from a place of jealousy or envy. It comes from a place of I DON’T CARE. It comes from respect for women, for motherhood, for just enjoying this special time in our lives – I wish magazines would respect us too.