Dear Mom who wishes to “Bounce Back”,
I see your posts. I see them everyday. You post these photos of your food, your workouts, your measurements, your before & afters. In fact my facebook and instagram are littered with them. Littered with all of these moms striving for an ounce of their body before their baby arrived in the womb. And the hard part is that I remember that season in life. I remember everything promising me that because I was nursing I would just “drop all the weight” because that’s what nursing does. Well- I’m living proof that that isn’t the case for all moms. In fact- my body overproduced prolactin- a metabolism blocker- and I gained 40 pounds after having my baby due to nursing.
What I wish someone would have explained to me back then when I was working out 7 days a week, measuring my food, trying to splurge on girl’s night or date night without the guilt, beating myself up that “other moms” looked so fantastic with a newborn was that none of that was healthy or okay. My focus was on the wrong thing. It’s taken me almost 3 years to get a handle on that body guilt that I held. To let go of “expectations” and instead celebrate where I am at.
Because losing the weight only changed a pant size for me. It didn’t change my personality. It didn’t change how frequently my baby woke up in the middle of the night. It didn’t change my marriage or my friendships or even the lifestyle that our family lives. It only changed a number. A number that has no other meaning other than telling me what “size” I am when I go shopping for clothes. A number that has no weight or volume in my life- literally.
What we should be doing is pushing moms to:
Rest- fully rest for the first several months post birth, so your body can heal.
Eat whole nutrients- so that their body isn’t lacking so that It can function at the best of it’s ability.
Laughing- because laughing increases positive endorphins in the body and lessens depression and anxiety.
Sleeping- because sleep can be one of the largest contributors to stress and anxiety
Choose movement because it makes you HAPPY- not because you want to lose weight, but because it makes you excited and joyful inside.
Talk- talk about your fears, your joys, your anger, your emotions.
So I’m writing this to you, because every time you post about how you were “lazy” for watching TV during nap time instead of working out, or how you “over ate” at that event and now you need to “get back on track”- what I really want to do is comment and say “You have it all wrong!”. And that’s merely my opinion- but my heart breaks a little when I see those posts because what I really really want to say is:
“I’m glad you’re resting, I’m proud of you for doing nothing of importance other than indulging in yourself. I’m happy you ate too much- because you were having fun and enjoying yourself and laughing with your friends after a hard few months. There isn’t a “Track” you need to be on- because you mama, will get better by first taking care of your heart and mental health and your physical health will follow suit. But first- we gotta work on your sweet soul and making sure that YOU are okay from the inside first.”
That’s really what I want to say- but I’m worried you’re not ready to hear it just yet.
A mom who has been there