SINCE WHEN DID PREGNANCY WEIGHT
BECOME A COMPETITIVE SPORT?

SONY DSCAbout eight weeks after having my first child, feeling confident that my body was snapping back to its old self, I pulled out my pre-maternity jeans, quite sure they’d fit. Once I’d worked my way in, I was shocked to find that several inches lay between button and button hole. I’m sure I cried.

It’s a story I shared last week with my sister Annie who, despite a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, is finding the last handful of postpartum pounds clinging to her like a newborn babe hungry for mother’s milk. She’s trying her best to be patient, but finds it hard not to compare her postpartum journey to that of a stylish neighbor who was pre-pregnancy slim practically before leaving the birthing room or a close friend who shimmied into her skinny jeans about the time her baby hit the six week mark.

None of this is helped, of course, by the endless parade of celebrities in various stages of gestation, either lauded for losing their “baby” weight or scandalized for not. The apparent fixation of the media, and particularly the tabloids, on the ups and downs of pregnant celebrities is both bizarre and disturbing.

I’m no Kim Kardasian fan and I’ve never downloaded a Jessica Simpson song, but the fact that any woman is publicly flogged for being “fat” during and after pregnancy gives me hives. I take issue with the media’s exploitation of every pound gained and lost. Kim Kardasian was apparently too chunky and Princess Kate too thin. I can only begin to speculate what the next few weeks of tabloid covers are going to look like.

Holding up the likes of preternatural beauties such as Giselle or Angelina as the gold standard for the postpartum ideal is no better. Must we measure up to Heidi Klum, a woman who walked the runway at Victoria Secret fashion show six week after giving birth? Most of us don’t have the God-given genetics, never mind the personal trainer, baby nurse, or private chef to pop in and out of pregnancy with such ease. Most of us are too busy wiping baby’s bottoms and nursing around the clock to be counting carbs.

This is not to say that making your way towards a healthy weight after having a baby is not important. It is. But it needn’t happen overnight. I eventually was able to button up those jeans, but it took nearly five months, not two. New moms have enough on their plates without the added pressure to be supermodel slim straight out of the delivery room. Their focus should be squarely on that wonderful, exhausting, beautiful, perfectly imperfect new baby, not the numbers on a bathroom scale. I just wish the media could see it this way, too.

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11  Comments

Comments

  1. jennifer phillipson
    07.29.2013 at 10:35 AM #

    Very well said! I have had 5 babies and now I’m 50. I have done Weight Watchers successfully. However, with all the pins on Pinterest and tabloids, a woman feels she has to look abnormally thin if you ask me. I weighed 99lb when I had my first baby at 21. I gained 54 lbs. I lost all but six. Next baby I retained a few pounds. Also, it’s not the pounds but the shape. Your body changes shape during pregnancy. You realistically can’t expect to fit in your old jeans. My three daughters that have had babies experienced this same thing. Don’t worry about what size is on the label. Just buy you some new ones, feel great about your new mature womanly look and enjoy the new phase of life. Hollywood doesn’t set the standard in this house! Don’t let it pressure you either! It’ll rob you of your joy.
    Enjoy the new you.

    • katiemorford
      07.29.2013 at 4:07 PM #

      Indeed Jennifer, nothing should rob you of the joy of being with your baby…

  2. 07.29.2013 at 10:37 AM #

    Amen! A wonderful sentiment. I didn’t have a lot of trouble losing my pregnancy weight and I actually found myself on the OTHER side of this debate – defending the fact that I lost the weight too quickly. In the end, I think it all comes down to genes and no one should have to defend themselves one way or another…we all have very different experiences with pregnancy and we should support each other’s great endeavor (becoming parents!) rather than focusing on the small stuff. x

    • katiemorford
      07.29.2013 at 4:06 PM #

      I agree….we mamas need to lift each other up, not bring each other down. Parenting is challenging enough.

  3. Michelle
    07.29.2013 at 12:04 PM #

    Thank you for this sensible and compassionate post for women at a vulnerable time in their lives. As someone who has never dealt with weight issues, I too was stunned when I couldn’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes a few weeks after having my first. What I learned (after two singleton births and one twin birth) is that my body needs about 10 pounds of extra weight while I am nursing, and as soon as I stopped nursing when each baby was about a year old, those last ten pounds dropped right off. I had to be patient because even though everyone says that nursing helps women lose weight, it was different for my body. At 5’9″ and around 125 or 130 pounds as my “natural” weight, I think I just needed a bit of extra “padding” while I was nursing. It would have been reassuring if someone had told me that different bodies deal with pregnancy and nursing differently–and that some women return to their regular weight AFTER they stop nursing.

    Thank you for your blog!

    • katiemorford
      07.29.2013 at 4:05 PM #

      You make a good point regarding nursing. Plenty of women find nursing speeds up weight loss, while for others, the weight doesn’t come off until after nursing. Every Body is different!

  4. Holly McCormick
    07.29.2013 at 12:38 PM #

    You could not of said it any better!!!

    • katiemorford
      07.29.2013 at 4:07 PM #

      Thank you Holly.

  5. 07.29.2013 at 1:58 PM #

    Hi Katie,
    Just wanted to say that I thought this was a brilliant post – really well written! Not to mention an awesome title – got my attention!! :)
    Gemma

    • katiemorford
      07.29.2013 at 4:09 PM #

      Appreciate that, Gemma. It’s been on my mind for a while, so I’m happy to put it out there.

  6. Anne Mullen
    07.30.2013 at 4:36 AM #

    Hear! Hear! But then, your voice is always sane when it comes to eating. Thank you, Katie.

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