Post-baby bodies are beautiful. Why are we so obsessed with changing them?
For every "six-pack mom," there are hundreds of women like Olivia White: New moms who don't have the time, the resources, the genetics or the resolve to snap back to their pre-pregnancy bodies almost instantly. There's tremendous talk about "bouncing back," and it's only natural for women to feel pressured to get back into their pre-pregnancy skinny jeans soon after delivery. Here's the thing, though: That's not what new motherhood is about.
Those days of raising a newborn are chaotic and exhausting. Often there's no time to hit the gym or even prepare a home-cooked meal, which means getting back in shape might be harder than ever. White knows this all too well. The blogger (and mom of two) behind House Of White doesn't look the way she did before she got pregnant. And that's OK.
To illustrate that point, White posed for a gorgeous postpartum photo shoot. She shared the photo at left, which was taken by Raelene Humphrey of Sleeping Grace Photography, on her Facebook page along with a powerful message, saying: "Puffy face, droopy milk filled boobs, wider hips and belly full of stretch marks!! That's my post baby reality, no 'bouncing back' here. It might not be the 'transformation' body so many ogle or aspire to! And sure, some days I wish it didn't jiggle so much and was a bit 'firmer' but then I just remember the awesome s**t it's done and cut myself some slack and go eat a cheeseburger, because we earned it."
We were so inspired, we just had to talk to White directly. "I actually took [these photos] as a part of my ‘newborn’ photo shoot," White told Fit Pregnancy. "So while getting gorgeous images of my 11-day-old baby, I also took some more lifestyle photos of me and my new baby and post-baby body. Raelene has taken all my maternity and newborn images, and always likes to link them together to tell a story of our journey, rather than just take random photos. I wanted to document my pregnancies and also my post-baby body so I could one day share it with my girls!"
"More than the image, I hoped people would read and think about my words," White told us. "It’s not about ‘bouncing’ back because you’re not the same person you were before. You are a mother now, you carried a child/children for nine months, you worked SO hard to do that and why would you want to hide that? You would never want to not be a mum, so why does your body have to resemble something it’s not? Embrace the changes and just enjoy motherhood without the pressure to change your body back to something."
Sure, sometimes White wishes she didn't "jiggle." If you're a new mom, you can probably relate to this: There's nothing wrong with wishing and working for your pre-baby body...but ultimately, what matters most is that you're raising healthy, happy babies. "I certainly [felt pressure to bounce back] with my first baby," White recalled. "Having gained so much weight in that pregnancy, I felt so discontent with my body both during and after pregnancy with all the changes it made. I didn’t recognize myself anymore and it affected me a lot, as I connected how I looked with how I felt. Then very quickly I realized that as a mother to a little girl I had to really be aware of what kind of image I was portraying, especially in this digital age. If mum was always obsessing over her weight, what she ate and how she looked, how did she as a young girl have any chance?"
So true. We're glad you shared your story, Olivia!