Society has a weird obsession with weight. More so if you’re a woman, and even more so if you’ve just had a baby. There are countless headlines talking about the weight a certain celebrity gained while pregnant. There are just as many that either criticize said celebs for not losing the weight, or praising them for being “beach body ready” within two months of giving birth. As someone who did not “bounce back” to my pre-baby bod, I have to say there were just too many things I cared about more than losing baby weight after my kid was born.
I mean, seriously. When my son was born, I did not immediately think, “Oh man, I better hit the gym tomorrow!” Unless your career is based solely on how fit you are (meaning your ability to financially support your child is compromised if you don’t get "fit quick" and fit some social standard of beauty that is nothing if not unforgiving), I can’t really understand any other reason for immediately thinking you need to lose weight after bringing a human being into the world.
Sure, many of us would all like to look exactly as we did prior to having a baby or getting pregnant. But is it realistic? No. Our bodies need time to heal and recover from that nearly-year-long process of growing a human. Plus, some of us just don’t care. Period. So here’s what was occupying my mind (besides squats or whatever) in those postpartum days:
Making Sure My Baby Was OK
Sleep, Sleep, And More Sleep
OK, so maybe some parents choose to do push-ups while their baby naps. Good for you. I, however, was too busy also snoozing. When you have to feed a baby every three hours, you need all the damn rest you can get.
Feeding My Son However I Could
I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding, so a lot of my energy went toward being able to feed him however I could. That meant putting him to my breast a few times a day, and pumping milk the rest of the time. So, no, there was no time for me to get any jumping jacks in.
When I wasn’t busy feeding my baby, I had to feed myself. Lack of sleep makes you hungry. Breastfeeding makes you hungry. Not eating enough makes you hungry. I did probably sneak in some protein bars, though, if that counts as exercise.
Recovering Properly From My Birth Injuries
I had a very rough birth experience. My vagina is still pretty mad that I chose to let my baby exit out that way, but it’s OK. Everything is fine now, but back then, it wasn’t. So, I opted to avoid running in exchange for making sure my lady parts recovered and healed properly.
Learning To Care For My Baby
Uh, I don’t know about y’all, but for me being a new mom was a huge learning experience. I was the baby in my family, so until then, I’d never so much as changed a diaper. When I wasn’t involved in all things food, I was busy trying to make sure I knew exactly how to care for my kid.
Getting My Anxiety In Check
Thanks to birth trauma, my anxiety was beyond manageable in those early days of brand new motherhood. I was, well, a mess. Honestly, some exercise might have helped with that but I was physically unable to move much at all, so instead, I took Xanax.
Money, Money, And More Money
One of the main differences between me and a celebrity mom who can fit into a size 2 pair of jeans within a month of giving birth, is the fact that I don’t have a whole lot of money. I mean, I have shelter and food and a Netflix account, but my luxuries end there. I was unable to pay anyone to watch my child until he became a toddler and, even then, it’s quite the expense. Basically, I had to focus on making sure we had money (by taking on odd freelancing jobs and making sure my husband was supported in his ability to work full-time and keep us from starving). Sorry I didn’t have any extra cash for a personal trainer. Not.
Enjoying Every Single Precious Moment With My Little One
I know some moms work out with their babies. I actually did some of that, too, when he was still a tiny butterball. However, I never wanted all my moments with my kid to be in relation to other things. So I spent a lot of time just laying in bed with him, or singing to him while rocking him in a chair, or playing peek-a-boo, or watching Sesame Street.
It’s totally fine if you want to get in shape, get fit, get toned, or whatever else after you have a baby. However, it's not OK to shame those who cannot or just plain don’t want to. At the end of the day, our main focus should be on being good people and good mamas and loving on our little ones. Frankly, they don’t give a damn what we look like. Unconditional love, baby.