• Thu, Jan 3 2013

Anonymous Mom: I Don’t Believe In The ‘Post-Baby Body’

shutterstock_20549777Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

Like almost everything else related to my pregnancy, I did extensive Google searching and reading. I was trying to mentally prep myself for what my new “mommy body” was going to look like because I did not want to be caught off guard or disappointed if things were not quite how I expected after delivery. Essentially, I was preparing for the worst and assuming that my body would look something similar to “the blob” once little Jackson was born. I spent some time trying to mentally prepare for this and come up with a “plan of attack” if this be the case.

About a month ago baby Jack-Jack (as we have been calling him) was finally born. At first I was hesitant to look at myself and for the first 24 hours I avoided all mirrors — this was not too difficult in a hospital. A wise nurse told me to give it two weeks before weighing myself. This I found funny; I wasn’t very eager to jump on a scale.

At the 48-hour mark, of course, curiosity got the best of me and I was standing in the bathroom, poking and prodding my squishy belly.

Fact: post-baby tummies resemble deflated beach balls.

However, aside from this I was more then pleasantly surprised. I emerged from the bathroom thinking “it is not a bad starting point.”

This was approximately six weeks ago, and although I have had my fair share of moody moments over my new tiger stripe stretch marks, everything else has pretty much gone back to normal. In fact it has gone back to normal so much that I almost feel guilty talking about it.

You see one thing I learned while researching the postpartum period is that some women struggle for years to get their “body back.” In most cases health, genetics and other factors can make it extremely difficult. Me, I actually feel slightly misguided in what the realities of a “mommy body” are because I look at myself today and I am fairly flabbergasted that I look this good a month after popping out one of those precious bundles of joy. Everything I read or heard had told me otherwise. I was bracing for disaster, selling myself short. I had premature low self esteem!

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  • lyzl

    While I agree that there is no such thing as “mommy bodies” just “bodies.” I disagree that you can take your personal experience and extrapolate it into a larger lesson. You had it easy. Thank your lucky stars and move on. I too was healthy, worked out, ate right and I still gained 50+ pounds and struggled with my post baby body. The bladder leaks. The exhaustion. It was hard. And I’m glad that I heard the horror stories, it helped me eek through. And some women CAN’T bounce back. That’s not a lie we tell each other. That’s just a fact. Just as it is a fact that some women can bounce back.

    • Cassy

      THIS. Every woman’s experience is different, I think. Personally, I bounced back very easily immediately, but I had gestational diabetes, and after pregnancy, when I was in the clear (the GD was gone), I overindulged in foods I wasn’t allowed to have while pregnant and diabetic. It was an uncontrollable urge, and I gained weight. I did not see that coming. I was a yo-yo as far as my body weight for about 9 months postpartum.

      Congrats to the original poster on appreciating her post-baby body and bouncing back well, but Iyzl hit the nail on the head in this comment.

    • Nunya Biznez

      So true! I am in shape now, in better shape than I was when I got married and in much better shape than I was when I got pregnant….

      But a couple weeks ago I had the flu and whenever I had a bad coughing fit I peed my pants! Boo!

  • Anon

    I was 132 pounds pre-pregnancy, gained 35 pounds (while watching what I ate and running until I was 7 months pregnant). I breastfed, worked out, took vitamins, did everything you are supposed to and never lost the anything except for the initial baby and whatnot from the delivery. You can say all you want about it. The fact is….you were lucky. Saying that as long as you eat right, walk everyday, and take care of yourself, you will get back at least a slight resemblance of your pre-pregnancy body, is a gross overstatement and a slap in the face to everyone who has done all those things and still has a body they don’t recognize after pregnancy. I am glad you had a great experience and that you are feeling good about yourself, but you need to be more considerate and not make such blanket statements.

    • bumbler

      It is physically impossible to gain excess weight without taking in excess calories, especially if you are pregnant and exercising. Even factoring genetics, hormones, stress, society and whatever else you want to consider, at the end of the day, 1 calorie is 1 calorie, and it will not spawn into 10 calories by some kind of pregnancy voodoo. You probably overate unconsciously, like most people. It would be better to accept that you failed to properly maintain your diet and assess what your mistakes so that you can resolve them in the future. It’s better than fighting some variable, inexplicable force that is magically causing you to spawn fat cells like the 2 loaves of bread jesus used to feed a crowd, haha. However, it’s true that with age your skin loses elasticity and your metabolism slows, etc, so your body possibly won’t be just the same as it was, but the fat is a variable error, not the inevitable.

    • darnray

      Did you even read what the OP said? She said that gained 35 pounds during pregnancy and that after she had the baby she was having a hard time taking off weight beyond what she initially lost post-birth (this is typically about 20-25 pounds). Instead of totally misinterpreting what the poster was saying, it would be better to accept that you failed at basic reading comprehension…

    • Kate

      This is wrong. Just wrong. Your digestion and metabolism slow down significantly during pregnancy in order to wring every last nutrient out of the food you are eating. So, you could eat the same as you did before pregnancy but keep more of the nutrients and gain weight. This slowing down of the digestion is why many pregnant women deal with constipation.

    • Anon

      I didn’t get angry at the original poster, because she was just trying to get validation that she lost her weight. I don’t believe she was maliciously trying to hurt people’s feelings that didn’t have as easy of a time. You on the other hand, need a lesson in common courtesy and the female body under the taxation of pregnancy. Never once did I eat 2 loves of Jesus’ bread. Nor did I ever overeat. Hormone fluctuation tricked my thyroid into slowing my metabolism. I had to be treated for thyroid disease until after I delivered. I should not have to defend myself to you, but I feel compelled to. 35 pounds may be more than the recommended amount of weight to gain, but it isn’t on the OMG side of weight gain also. The facts are not as black and white as you think them to be. One calorie is one calorie but how your body processes those calories is a different story. Also if you did more research you would find that under eating your calories doesn’t guarantee a weight loss. It can actually trigger the reverse. No one person is the same, nor is how everyone’s body responds to pregnancy. You can make your points while being kind and courteous. You sound like a very bitter person who thinks they have it all figured out. I actually feel bad for you. I will keep you in my thoughts.

    • Kate

      Bumbler is clearly grossly under-informed. Good for you for only gaining 35 lbs with a thyroid condition!

  • Jen

    I’d also assume that your age plays a huge factor in that. Several friends have children their first at 22 or 23 and within a month they looked outwardly almost exactly as they had before baby (with HUGE tata’s but otherwise the same). 8 years later and those same women aren’t really bouncing back as they used to…and friends who were childless until recently are bouncing back. 23 is still fairly young your body more resilient and skin more elastic. While I understand what you were trying to say here, you come across as if saying that women are just lazy if their bodies don’t bounce back and that they are silly for worrying about it. Perhaps not your intention but that’s how it comes across.

    • Jen

      *aren’t bouncing back. Typing a bit fast! ha ha

  • Fran

    Try having a second baby, or a baby in your 30′s, and then come back and tell me about how you bounced back. I just had my son a month ago and I have a lot of work to do. I’m not going to bitch about it or anything, and I WILL get back to where I was, but the fact is, at 23 your body is totally different than mine is (and yours will likely be) at 32.

  • http://www.facebook.com/enbrown Elizabeth Nolan Brown

    I think the “I’m 23″ needs to come earlier in this post. I’m not a mom and haven’t done too much research on post-baby bodies or anything, but even I knew that the younger a woman is, the easier it is to snap back into shape post-pregnancy. Leaving that fact ’til the second-to-last paragraph makes this piece feel disingenuous.

    • Nunya Biznez

      Yeah. So true! The older you are the harder it is.

      My body will never be the same because I had twins but it’s Ok. I have learned to LOVE my stretchmarks. They remind me that I did something amazing and they make me distinctive. :-)

    • Bianca

      I was 21 when I had my first and 24 with my second and Im 26 now, still 30 lbs or so heavier than i was before i had kids. Age isnt the only factor that matters here and I think it’s rude of the author of this piece to imply that women who take longer to “bounce back” dont take care of themselves. Also, I may not be a size 0 anymore but I feel just as sexy now as i did when I was.

    • JGM1764

      Agreed. I got to that part and immediately thought, “Well of course it wasn’t hard for you to bounce back when you’re that young! Have another in 10 years and see what happens.”

  • Blabby

    This post was interesting, because I have friends on both sides of the divide– those who have never lost the “baby weight” even 3 years later and those who essentially looked like their old selves one month later. Life style has A LOT to do with it– ie. those who exercised and ate healthily throughout pregnancy and limited the initial weight gain fared much better than those who threw caution to the wind and “let themselves go”. I landed somewhere in the middle– I didn’t exercise while pregnant (too paranoid about miscarriage) but I didn’t pig out either, and only gained about 30 lbs total. I was so stressed out and sleep deprived in the first 6 weeks after giving birth that I dropped all the baby weight off pretty much instantly (I was also breastfeeding exclusively, which helped enormously). And as for my “mommy body”? I’m 34 now, my daughter is almost 2, and my tummy is a little squishier than it used to be and my breasts a little more deflated, but at the end of the day, my body is the same and more importantly, it grew and nourished an incredible, beautiful little girl and for that, I am forever grateful to it. The self-loathing in general needs to end around women’s bodies, both pre- and post-baby. We come in all different shapes and sizes, and for me, the old adage holds true: “My body is my temple”. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

  • jsterling93

    I am 32 and currently pregnant with my first child. I have gained 9 lbs in the 6 months I have been pregnant. I expect I won’t look to different after giving birth than I did on my honeymoon last year. But I am lucky. My sister who was 21 and very careful with what she ate gained 75 lbs with her first child and never lost it all even though she really worked at it. The article had its points but it isn’t ok to say that since you didn’t have a big change other women should expect the same.

    • bumbler

      how can you POSSIBLY gain 75lbs while being “careful” about what you eat? It’s not voodoo going on here: eat too many calories and you gain weight. Eat too few calories and you lose weight. People like to comfort themselves with the idea that genetics and stress and every other excuse under the sun is what led them to gain weight. Perhaps those factors affect their likelihood of gaining weight and even how ‘easily’ they gain weight, but you CAN NOT put on 75 pounds with out putting a ton of food in your mouth. 2000 calories/day does not magically translate to 75 lbs of fat. It just doesn’t.
      I don’t mean to jump on you about it, since you’re only relaying what your sister claims, but after reading so many other comments about how women just “suddenly” doubled in weight while being “SOOOO” careful about what they eat, it made me snap! I can’t stand such delusional, illogical, irrational thinking. If you gained weight, own it. “I ate too much and I plan to do better now”. Trying to blame your problems on a fantasy isn’t going to help you in the long run.

    • Scoop007

      Bumbler you keep making these comments that make me wonder if you know anything about the physical changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for birth. What you are saying does most certainly apply to the general population. However in pregnancy, there are multiple factors in weight
      gain that have zero to do with what you put in your mouth or how much
      you exercise. Factors such as the weight of the fetus, the volume of
      amniotic fluid, weight of the placenta, tissue mass, and blood volume,
      etc. Pregnant woman also retain water at much greater rate and if you
      have gestational diabetes or preeclampsia that can have an immense
      impact on the amount you gain and the level of water you retain. This
      is why after women give birth they often see an instant loss of a great
      percentage of the weight. Common sense tells you that that weight loss
      could not possibly be fat gained from eating or lack of exercise. It is quite possible to gain a lot of weight while pregnant even while eating healthy and exercising.

    • C.J.

      Very well said!

    • MaeganB

      Additionally, your body can hang on to calories it thinks it needs to store…My mother was always very fit (she had to be, she was in the military) and managed to gain 80 pounds with her second child. She is one of those people that doesn’t like fast food or eat fried things, doesn’t drink soft drinks and just “isn’t in” to chocolate. She did lose weight after birth…b/c she had to get back to her weigh/tape with the military – and it left her quickly enough to allow her to stay in. I also know moms who ate like crazy during their pregnancy & only gained 20 pounds. Heck, I’m 8 weeks from my current due date…and have managed to be 8 pounds LESS than my pre-pregnancy weight…and I really haven’t changed my eating habits at all, except I drink more whole milk & eat more beef! (Previously drank 1% milk and rarely had beef – I usually prefer chicken…but pregnancy gave me a sort of craving.) So…For some reason, my body is not only processing STORED energy that I already have…but also the food I am putting in my mouth daily. My diet isn’t terrible…but it’s also not great…With more beef eating, I have eaten out more b/c I just don’t cook beef on my own all that well. Restaurant food tends to be much higher calorie than home cooked meals. If someone like me can manage to lose weight…it stands to reason that another body might gain much more.

    • Rainey Daye

      I gained 35-40 pounds while pregnant with each of my two kiddos and within two weeks was within 2-3 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weigh. Both kiddos were over eight pounds and I had postpartum eclampsia with both of them (which means the weight didn’t actually fall off at birth, but rather after my return trips to the hospital and treatment for the eclampsia). But my body is not the same as before. I had my first kiddo at 33 and my second at almost 37 (she is nine months old now). I was a total couch potato before and during my pregnancy with my first and was hooping and belly dancing before getting pregnant with my second…so I am sure that contributed to my “bouncing back” the second time to my pre-pregnancy weight at about the same speed as the first time around, despite being four years older. But do I look the same now (at the same weight I was before my first pregnancy) as I did before getting pregnant? No…of course not. I now have my hard earned “tiger stripes” on my belly and my body is shaped a little differently…despite weighing the same as I did before my first pregnancy. Right now I am dealing with a broken foot and the lack of muscle tone and exercise that that entails…but I plan on getting back to my hooping and belly dancing once I am healed and hope to someday actually improve on my body from my couch potato body of 5.5 years ago (which truthfully was still decent and within normal weight for my build…just not as slim as I would have preferred nor as toned as I would have preferred).

    • jsterling93

      My sister had gestational diabetes and her Thyroid literally died during her pregnancy. She had to have it removed and now is on life long medication. So yes you can in fact gain 75 lbs eating very little.

      Also my nephew weighed nearly 12 lbs the day he was born.

    • Kate

      I’m starting to think you’re just a troll.

    • Melody

      Pregnancy does crazy things to your body, and it can make 2000 calories/day or less become 75 pounds. I went from a size 2 before my first, to a 14 after, like some sort of sick magic trick. Yes, during my first pregnancy I did let myself go a little crazy and I owned it, but my 2 subsequent pregnancies were spent keeping food diaries and exercising and making a very conscious effort not to gain too much.

      I gained 95 with my first, 65 with my second, and 45 with my third. In fact now looking at my food journals I can tell you that I eat more now than I did when I was pregnant this last time, and I for sure am exercising less. Yet I am losing weight instead of putting on a few pounds a week. Crazy, right? My doctors have explained to me that pregnancy affects your thyroid, metabolism, water retention, gall bladder, and basically everything else. My body, like some others goes into some sort of crazy survival fat hoarding state and conserves every single calorie for the duration of the pregnancy. It might be that for the 1st trimester my morning sickness is too extreme for me to eat or keep anything down so I end up losing about 10-15 pounds at first and my body is trying to make up for it. The point is, everyone handles pregnancy differently and you shouldn’t sit back and judge people for overeating and making excuses because I know for a fact that it’s not as black and white as you say. I know how easy it is to be naturally thin and think that other people should just stop being lazy and lose some weight but just because it’s easy for you now doesn’t mean it always will be or that it’s the same for others.

      One of the first things I said when we found out about this last pregnancy was “Oh no! I’m going to get so fat again!”. Not, “I’m so excited about this new baby”, but “I’m worried about being super fat”. Because I personally know people like you who say things like “well, you’re not carrying the baby in your arms are you?? would it kill you to tone up a bit?”.Trust me, women have enough to deal with in their own heads during pregnancy without someone like you telling them they are being delusional.

  • Heather

    I agree with the consensus that the age of the writer is one reason for the quick bounce back to pre-baby shape. But, based on my experience, it becomes harder and harder to bounce back with each consecutive pregancy. I was 34 when I had my first baby – I was in good shape beforehand and I worked out right until a few days before she was born. I gained about 22 pounds and lost the weight within a week of delivery. Score! Fast forward two years to my next baby. I did the exact same things as with the first, put on a little more weight – probably 5 more pounds, gave birth and waited for the weight to magically drop off. Still waiting… and my little guy is 17 months old! And I breastfed exclusively with a maniacal little eater. It’s not so much the weight, there’s maybe 5 pounds that I’d really like to lose, it’s the shape. Flabby tummy and wide hips that definitely did not exist pre-baby #2. That being said, I’m 37, still in good shape, even though bikini-modeling is never going to be in my future (nor was in it my past, either!!), and I’m happy. If the price for two healthy kids 25 months apart in age is wide hips and a jelly belly, oh well, it was worth it. So I guess my point is: the post-baby body most certainly does exist for me, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  • Sue

    HA HA HA!! You’re 23 and had some genetic luck. Not all of us are so lucky. Get over yourself.

  • BranSolo

    I think many of you are missing the point, everyone has body image issues even if they havent had a baby, i am sick of women blaming their babies for the extra weight! if your struggling with accepting ur body as it is maybe you should excercise and eat better.

    • C.J.

      I think you are missing the point. It isn’t just about weight. Pregnancy is very hard on the body. Not everyone’s body goes back to the shape it was before even if they lose the weight. You try having an eleven pound baby and see what it does to your body. All the excersise in the world won’t put everything back where it used to be. I actually weigh less than before I had kids but I haven’t been able to wear a bikini in ten years. After having two very large babies the only thing that will fix the damage done to my stomach is surgery. My babies didn’t get that big because of what I ate during pregnancy either, I was very sick for both my pregnancies and eating was a challenge. Both my husband and I come from families that have very large babies.

  • Jenna

    I have better than 20/20 vision… but I don’t run around bragging and claiming people with glasses just aren’t trying hard enough.

    • Bumbler

      The difference here being that as a fat person, you can perhaps choose to put less food in your mouth and move more, while as a visually deficient person, you can’t choose to unbend the curve of your eyeball. There is also no major social stigma associated with vision problems, so no one would be impressed by your good vision nor disgusted by your poor vision. Really, it’s not a very good analogy.

    • amwglazebrook

      I think, what you mean to say is that there’s there’s no stigma associated with vision that’s FIXED with glasses/contacts, just like there’s no real stigma associated with women who wear Spanx to fit into a sexy dress.

      But, if you did have an un-fixable vision issue (like Stargardt’s Disease), you’d know that there’s actually a rather large stigma associated with it: Waiters think you’re an idiot when you can’t read the menu in a dark booth. Doctors think your husband hits you when you really just honestly ran into the doorway in the middle of the night. You can’t live in 90% of American cities, because they don’t have enough public transportation. You miss your plane because the departure screens in airports are small and there’s a crowd and gate attendants are snappy and, oddly enough, they all think you’re an idiot for not just reading the departures screen. In fact, that kind of becomes a theme in your life – you’re treated like you’re unintelligent, all the time, because, really, there’s an easy and obvious solution that you’re just refusing to use. LAZY.

      So. I guess what I’m saying is, maybe you could put a little more thought into your analogy, too.

    • Jenna

      When your child is a year or two old your point holds water. But having your body back 6 weeks after giving birth like the author isn’t a matter of not being lazy or choosing to put less in your mouth, it’s genetic.

    • WH4T3V3R

      I’m going to have to agree with Jenna here. There is some genetics involved in the recovery phase. We don’t eat processed foods in my house. I make pretty much everything from scratch, most of it being vegetables. I have followed I don’t know how many exercise plans. And I haven’t lost any of the weight I gained during any of my 3 pregnancies.

      Not all women that can’t lose the weight are sitting around stuffing their faces. Just like not all women that bounce back from pregnancy are exercising & eating healthy. The thinnest lady I know has had 3 kids. She eats all kinds of garbage food whenever she wants it. She bakes cheesecake & brownies on a weekly basis. Last time she worked out? She doesn’t. So why, because I’m the one struggling with the weight problem, is it ME that gets labeled as the lazy person with no self control?

      This same friend has told my husband & I on multiple occasions how bad she feels to see me doing everything right & still struggling while she’s doing everything wrong & is like a toothpick. Seriously, the only thing that has ever worked for me was doing the extreme juice fast from the movie “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead”. But as soon as I stopped, the pounds came back. So I eat right & I exercise but can’t lose the weight. What else am I supposed to do to get you & everyone else to stop thinking I’m just a lazy slob shoving Oreos down her throat everyday?

  • Peppermint88

    As much as this blogger wants to seem like shes all for all women’s bodies and types SHES NOT. SHe’s writing this blog for self worth and to show off ” how perfect my body is and how quick it bounced back and if I bounced back so can everyone” well please STFU because not everyone is YOU! get over yourself!!!!!!!! I had a child at 20. I was the thin atlhetic chick with great legs and perfect boobs and great abs. Pregnancy took a toll me. A HUGE ONE. I went from 105 to 172. Being small framed my pubic symphysis ripped apart during labor. after that I was un able to walk and i was in bed for 5 months. It took me 2 years to “bounce back” now I look like my old self but with a bunch of lose skin and strech marks. it took a lot of yoga and good nutrition but it certainly wasnt onver a 6 week period. It TOOK TIME a LONG TIME. No,hunny,not everyone is as lucky as you. so please worry more about your mothering skills than your body and how cute it is.

    • Mel

      Bitter much?

    • brandie

      you don’t know what this person looks like? she is simply admitting hat her body didn’t change much after a baby.

  • J

    At 30, I was back in my size 00 jeans within a week and wore my prepregnancy clothes home from the hospital. I had a bikini on 4 weeks later and looked fine. A lot of it is body typ, skin elasticity, etc. Yes, I take care of myself but a lot is just that I’m naturally thin and muscular. Feel lucky, it’s harder for some than others, and gets harder with each pregnancy.

  • Justme

    I was reading along…nodding and kind of agreeing. Yeah, I thought to myself, maybe she’s right! Maybe we’re all just making this up in our heads.

    And then I got to the part where you mentioned your age and I smirked. At 23 I could drink vodka all night, smoke like a chimney and stay out until 2:00….and go to work the next day. Last night I went to bed at 10:00 and still needed a nap this afternoon.

    I do believe you might be heading for a karmageddon with this celebration of your post-baby body.

    • Ligeia

      Yep, I remember 23 much the same way. Nowadays I feel the equivalent of a hangover from lack of sleep alone. This article seems to be flamebait more than anything.

      And whilst I’m happy for those women that have such a pleasant experience, if battles with baby weight were such a myth, there wouldn’t be so much media attention on how quickly celebrities get back in their skinny jeans.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I’ll second this. :) I’ll also second Ligeia on the flamebait bit.

  • Anynomous

    I also feel some of you are missing the point, i liked that she talked about how her pre baby body not being perfect either, we do scapegoat our low self esteem onto our babies and claim they ruined our bodies this mentality needs to stop. I give her props for finding confidence in her new body. Some of you need to cool down.

  • Junebug

    I was 19 when I had my son and definitely didn’t have the same experience. 2 years later I’m still struggling. I probably will never be my pre-baby size again and I’m trying to come to terms with it. You were lucky!! Your experience is the exception, not the rule.

    • Kate

      I wouldn’t call her experience an exception per se. I think the point that should be made is that there is no rule, and we all need to stop judging each other.

  • CpaCat

    I don’t think “stigmata” means what you think it means.

  • Heather E

    I am surprised by how friendly these comments are. I am glad that for the most part we seem to be able to recognize this is a flawed overgeneralization of a young person just beginning to accumulate life experience. I too bounced back from babies 1 and 2. But #3 changed me. Although I lost the weight, my stomach did not bounce back. But I don’t mind too much. I appreciate what my body did and don’t care if I am not a supermodel. My husband and kids love me and control top pantyhose allow me to look good in a dress. I don’t need to be romping around in bikinis anymore!

  • Eileen

    I’ve never had a baby, so I have no personal stories. But my mom had three (at 29, 31, and 36), and she still wears the same clothes she wore when she was in college. (Yes, literally the same ones…she’s not the most trendy person) And my aunts, who all had their kids in their mid-to-late thirties (or even forties), have very similar bodies to the ones they had before they had babies: Some are very thin, some are a bit heavier, and some go up and down. But that was always the case. I’m not saying some people don’t have really awful experiences and some really positive ones, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that, probably, you’ll come out on the other end looking more or less the same as you used to.

  • MaeganB

    I was 20 when my first was born by c-section. My stomach looked like a deflated beach ball – and then hung there like a deflated beach ball that had maybe gotten some sea water in it somehow that sagged & pulled the stomach down…but never went back to “normal” or even close to normal. Basically, if you put a bicycle pump in to my belly button – a few quick pumps & my belly would be the same shape as the day before I delivered. The surgery kept the normal course of events from happening to my mid-section (for recovery). Or that’s what I guess happened. My mother seems to have a pretty normal post-baby body after 4 kids (born between her 28th & 33rd birthday). She does have a few old scars that remain, but overall her stomach looks “normal” to me, with a little softness to it from being stretched. Mine (my kids are nearly 9 & 5 now) sagged down, made my pants fit funny and basically seems to be just the deflated belly I had during pregnancy – only now it is not round & cute. I am pregnant again, but don’t expect for a 3rd baby to HELP things any…especially with my age advancing as it has.

    Also, I’m not sure what the giveaway is…but every time I’ve had a doctor do a breast exam on me the first thing they say when they get a look is, “Oh, did you breastfeed for a long time??” I breastfed for about 28 months combined…less than some, more than others…and I can’t really tell what they are seeing that makes them guess that. It’s kind of weird, actually.

    I am okay with my post-baby body…it is what it is. I have resigned myself that no amount of workouts, exercises, or special diets will change the elasticity of my skin to what it was before I got pregnant.

    But are you really thinking that w/ all the talk out there that people are just making these things up? Lol…Just b/c it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’ve never won the lottery…I don’t assume everyone who does is making it up somehow. ;)

    • Tori B.

      Maegan, (and others who have said their bodies changed), I love your comments! Your comment is exactly what happened to me! Like the author, I was 23…. I gained 5 pounds until about the fifth month…no stretch marks. Unlike the author, I exercised EVERY day before AND during and even after my pregnancy.

      One morning I noticed…I was suddenly huge! My body couldn’t keep up with the sudden change, and I think a muscle in my stomach was permanently changed. My whole front looks like what you’re describing, breasts too. Full of stretch marks and sagging. And though I lost ALL the baby weight and even more than that (just so the author and Bumbler can’t say it’s my fault), my skin will never look the same.

      So, your “just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist” is amazing! Her “calling bullshit” on a body she was fortunate enough to know nothing about is crazy. The author needs to realize that the notion of a mom body is the only thing that keeps people like me from curling up into a ball and crying when we look at ourselves in the mirror. I don’t know how I’d cope if I thought I was the only one………..

  • zeisel

    I was 32 when I had my first baby. I was very athletic before pregnancy- didn’t lift a finger during pregnancy for fear of a miscarriage. I ate by the traditional foods way- tons of wholesome good fats for the babies brain and growth- gained 35 lbs. I was back to my normal body after two weeks. My body actually looks better after pregnancy (in my opinion) because I have boobs, even after breastfeeding.. they stuck around and are perky. Must be because I had so much dense tissue before pregnancy when I had an athletic body. No stretch marks, nothing. Now lets talk about the inside of my body………..

    Holy shit. 4th degree tear. Leaky bladder. And bowel movements are never quite the same. I think about kegel exercises at least once a day. Sex is different then it was before- foreplay is needed more. From the outside everything looks fine and dandy- even better then before; however down in the nether regions of the body- it’s a whole another ball game and it could be the quite opposite for another woman.

    Everyones pregnancy/birthing is so different and as long we get our own story out, then we all know there is no blueprint for what to expect during/after your pregnancy. Same goes with the healing process.

  • Mary Sue

    I had my first baby at 20, and I bounced right back too. I had my 3rd baby at 28, and the results were not the same, to put it kindly. Im still working on losing the weight – really working on it – and I have a long way to go. Im happy that you had a good experience, but I don’t think it’s fair to act like everyone can have that experience, you know?

    It’s not just weight either, a good friend of mine got dark, wide stretch marks from under her breasts all the way down to the junction with her first pregnancy. She lost the weight and looks good with clothes on, but if she takes her shirt off it looks like she was mauled by a tiger. That kind of thing takes a toll on a person, no matter how many “stretch marks are beautiful” memes they see.

  • Shannon

    Uh, you’re 23 y.o., of course you don’t have “Mommy Body”. Try being 42 y.o. and giving birth to twins. I’m 2 years post-partum and I am nowhere near to having my marathoner’s physique back. Really, get a life!

  • ellsie22

    23 years old and your first baby…give you 10 years and another baby and I’ll make you a believer.

  • Elle

    This sounds like it was written by a healthy 23 year old who watched what she ate and walked everyday. Oh wait…

  • Leslie

    Yikes, I smell some bitterness in the peanut gallery. I don’t buy into the mommy body either. I’m 26, but I’m not skinny, I’m also not obese, but I’m definitely 30 pounds heavier then I should be. I had my baby 6 months ago and weigh 5 pounds more then when I got pregnant(so I was still 25 pounds “too” heavy, or w/e) I think what I get from this article is not the time in which it takes to “get your body back”, it’s about a feeling, and the idea’s behind that statement. This is about something that transcends age, genetics, and general “attractiveness”. No one’s body is ever the same after pregnancy, there’s always that badge of a mother, whether externally, or internally. You have to love yourself and focus less on how you look(or rather, how you think you look), and focus more on your mental well-being. If your mental well-being is directly related to your physical appearance, then you should seek therapy, because you’ll never truly be happy with yourself that way. To say that because she’s 23 she’s somehow less important is absurd. I will tell you right now, I felt and looked great at 3 weeks post-partum, not because I was some skinny mini hot mommy(so not skinny), it was because I was happy, and attitude is everything.

  • goofyjj

    YOU. ARE. AWESOME.

    (p.s. Look up Ernestine Shepard. 76 year old body builder. Started late too and looks AMAZING)

  • somethingobscure

    I think you meant “stigma” instead of “stigmata”….

  • Kmichele

    Congratulations on being in such fantastic shape post-baby at 23, but as someone who was (relatively effortlessly) in good shape pre-baby at 38, I can assure you that the post-baby mom body phenomenon is absolutely real.

  • Charlotte

    yeah…, didn’t gain that many kilos but my hips became wider. Afraid it’s gonna be bye bye pre-pregnancy pants. Started spinning again at 6 weeks post-pregnancy though, so don’t call me lazy :) Body definitely changed, but it’s still my body. Anecdotical evidence is no evidence by the way; just a scientific heads up before your next post how you have a “PhD in mommying”

  • Jess

    Laughable. Because she seems to think she’s now enlightened or something by her reality. To be clear, she can only have a position on a “mommy body” if she has one…which apparently she doesn’t. My breasts went from a D to an “F” while breastfeeding. AN F. I don’t care how much I run or diet, the girls are HUGE and when I stop breastfeeding they are going to shrink and sag and you know what? THAT is my post baby body. I’m still carrying a bit of weight from my second pregnancy just like I did after my first, and which fell off after I stopped nursing my first, and I’m sure when I stop nursing this one it will too. The sign of maturity is knowing there are things you couldn’t possibly know or understand that affect other people in their lives and decisions….and not generalizing one experience to all experiences. And honestly? I am far less concerned with how I look, and far more concerned with how I feel….and I feel pretty damn good. As a 30 year old mother of 2 that’s the best thing my children, my pregnancies and my life experience has done for me…made me less self involved and more comfortable in the skin Im in…no matter what “shape” it takes.

  • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

    I agree with Elizabeth Nolan Brown. At 23, you’re going to have much more energy and motivation to get back into shape than I had at 35 when my 2nd was born. God forbid anyone who goes through hell and finally has a baby in her 40′s. http://maitribathbody.com

  • Guest

    Apparently, it’s only been a month for you. I had a great post baby body. I was smaller than I had ever been, I felt great. I was breatfeeding, went back to work when baby was two months old, and then my whole life changed. We moved to another state, became a stay at home mom. 20 months later, I’m 50 lbs heavier than I’ve ever been and I look more pregnant that I did when I was pregnant. Yes, being a stay at home mom makes me very lazy, I’ll admit it. But getting anywhere near where I was will be a miracle.

  • Amie

    I absolutely LOVE your attitude towards your “post baby body”!! However… I did have that same attitude with my first (at 20) and it was warranted. I dropped back down so quick it would make heads spin.
    I am now a slightly older woman at 29 and after my second the same does not hold true. I have a much harder time losing what I gained, when with my first it “melted off” with no problems.

  • WH4T3V3R

    Anyone else want to scream, “Shut the @#*% up!”??? I have had three kids now & have not lost ANY of the weight I’d gained during any of my pregnancies! And that’s not for lack of trying! I’ve had friends tell me how bad they feel for me because they see how much I struggle but I can’t seem to get back into shape. It is so frustrating to see my friends all pop back into their old clothes as if they didn’t just have a baby a couple of weeks ago. It’s frustrating to see so many women not have to do a bit of real exercise to get their flat stomachs back. It’s frustrating to see my skinny little neighbor, who had a baby two months AFTER I did, unload her trunk of prepackaged garbage meals, junk cold cereal, donuts, candy, & all kinds of unhealthy snack foods right after I just unloaded a trunk full of nothing but healthy fruits & vegetables (no processed crap in my house!). How come she gets to eat whatever crap she wants to & still look good while I eat as healthy as possible & look like crap. And it’s REALLY frustrating to have someone who obviously doesn’t struggle with this problem try to tell me it doesn’t really exist. Just shut up.