I recently spent some time in Mexico on vacation. While vacationing, it’s kind of hard for people not to want to take pictures of you. Since we’re mostly on the beach, these photos usually include photos of me in bathing suits.
Let me remind you all, I had a baby six months ago. Let me also remind you that this kid made me gain 60 friggen pounds. So was I ready to have my picture taken in a bikini, the only type of bathing suit I own? Well, apparently it didn’t matter, because photos were taken. But I went one step further. I actually posted my post-baby body baring bikini shots on Facebook, because, hey, I’m not that vain and I did just have a baby. I was sure people would understand.
The responses were what I found interesting. What mother doesn’t feel like absolute crap about her body after having a baby? (If you say you don’t, I think you are lying.) I get so frustrated when people tell me, “Nine months on, nine months off.” I remember with my first child going into a clothing store and the saleslady I know saying to me, “You look amazing! Didn’t you just have a child?” “Um, yes,” I responded. “TWO YEARS AGO!”
That was before I was on Facebook and had decided to let the world (or my almost 3000 friends, most of whom I don’t know) see me in all my nearly naked glory. I was kind of surprised at the comments, not because they were bad, but it just proves my point that people definitely care about their bodies after having a baby.
One of my best friends wrote, “U R too fat. You should really consider covering up. Xo." Of course she was joking. Most of the comments started with, “Um, didn’t you just have a baby?” Or, “Jealous of your flat stomach.” Another one of my friends wrote, “I hate you. Unfollowing. Xo” Again, add the ‘xo’ and you know it’s a joke.
One person wrote “OMG” and I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or bad thing. I could take it to mean, “OMG YOU’RE POSTING A PHOTO OF YOU IN A BIKINI? YOU’RE NOT READY. I’M COVERING MY EYES!” Or I could take it to mean, “OMG. YOU LOOK SPECTACULAR.” I choose the latter. Another woman wrote, “My son is 14 months and I still won’t allow these pics. Good for you girl!”
To be perfectly honest, as I always try to be, there were a lot of deleted photos before the couple I chose to post. Hey, even I still have body issues after having a baby. But I consider my son a miracle baby (reverse vasectomy, my age…) and I find that I don’t really care so much what I look like.
When my daughter was born, I really, really cared what I looked like after. I hired personal trainers, personal pilates instructors, swam laps for 30 minutes a day. Four months after, actually, I had never been in better shape and my body was killer! This time, it’s taking a bit longer. I just don’t care to starve myself like I did after my daughter. I just don’t care to work out for two hours a day.
So I decided, for me, for all women who have had babies, to post the pictures. Half of it, I admit, was to see the responses, which, as I’ve said, proved that women who have children still have body issues. Then again, I don’t know many women at any age who don’t. I also did it because I needed some positive reinforcement. I can ask my fiancé all day long if I still look “fat” and he’ll say, "You look amazing." But he loves me. Can I really believe him? If I dyed my hair purple and got a nose ring and a tattoo on my forehead, he’d probably still say I looked “amazing.”
And, yes, those pictures did give me positive reinforcement. I loved the comments like, “Hot mama!” and “Wow!” and “You look great” from strangers. Maybe I am a little vain, but I don’t think that’s why I did it. I think it was more like, ‘Fuck it. This is me. This is what I look like after having a baby. This is what I look like after gaining and losing most of the 60 pounds.” (The last few I can’t seem to drop. Then again, the Oreo cookie ice cream doesn’t exactly help.)
There are women out there who do say, “I had a baby and that’s why I’m overweight.” My trainer has told me this, and then he’ll ask when and the women will say, “18 months ago.” I am a firm believer that if you look good, you feel good. My advice is purely will power, eating healthy and exercising. It is that simple, but with new babies, many don’t have time to do this.
So, if you want, you can check out my FB page. I’m not looking for kudos (although it does make me feel good.) I just am proud of myself of posting the photos because, hey, I don’t like photos taken of me anyway, but after a baby? It’s just that much harder.