Getting Back the “Pre-Baby” Body: why you never will and why that’s something to be celebrated

It’s just a matter of weeks now before the twins come and I’ve been starting to think about post-pregnancy life. We’re excited to welcome our babies home, introduce them to family, and start developing our family routines together. It’ll be a challenge, but recently I’ve met some wonderfully supportive fellow twin moms in the area who have given me confidence that though twins are a challenge, they’re also a ton of fun and so worth every second of extra work.

(Side note: if you’re expecting twins, look up your local Mothers of Multiples chapter for some great resources).

Part of post-pregnancy for a lot of women is getting the “pre-baby” body back. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and want to share some of my thoughts with you…

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Pregnancy does a number on your body; it’s hard work and it’s quite fascinating everything your body is capable of doing. Stretch marks, flabby skin, c-section scars, and all the other changes pregnancy brings are something a lot of women are self-conscious about…I know I am!

Should we be self-conscious? Shouldn’t we be proud of our new status as moms?

I keep complaining to my husband that I’ve got a mom body now and I always will from here on out. I’m still in my early twenties and while I absolutely do not regret having kids now, it’s still hard to go through my closet and think I may never be able to wear some of my favorite dresses or jeans again. TwinDad has always been incredibly supportive and oh-so-sweet. Any time I complain about being a big fat whale he’s quick with a kiss and to tell me I’m not a whale, I’m just pregnant. And he thinks I’m more beautiful than ever now that I’m the mother of his children…he’s really quite incredible and I am so blessed to have him by my side.

Are we too heavily focused on losing weight immediately after giving birth? My husband’s words have really developed my thoughts on the whole pre-baby body debate. He’s a workout junkie, but his main focus is keeping his body healthy rather than being a sculpted Greek god. Whenever I bring up my worries about getting my pre-baby body back (will it even be possible?) he reminds me that what’s important is being healthy, not fitting into some society-determined idea of attractive or skinny. Being healthy means eating a well-balanced diet and keeping active without pushing yourself to an unfair extreme just to shed pounds.

  • Diet: Dieting is a slightly sensitive subject, I think, but one that might need to be approached. We’ve all seen the “lose weight fast”, “lose baby weight in one week” etc. diet plans that seem too good to be true. I think our idea of dieting isn’t a healthy one; too often we starve ourselves and cut calories and end up doing more harm than good. A new approach is needed. Swap bad habits for good, focus on making sure you are always getting the nutrients you need, and keep the good calories coming rather than just limiting. For moms, especially nursing moms, this is especially important! While we may be concerned about losing the baby weight, we have a job to do still and that job is feeding our babies. Nursing burns a lot of calories and we need to keep ourselves hydrated and well-fed to keep up with the demands on our bodies. A good nursing diet is essential…we need to eat healthy foods that will keep us and our babies nourished properly.
  • Exercise: Exercise to lose baby weight is something I’ve been worried about. C-section recovery isn’t pretty and isn’t quick. I’m worried about making it up the three flights of stairs to our apartment when we get home from the hospital. How can I think about exercising? Keeping active is good for your recovery, but don’t push it too soon after major surgery. Walking around the house and taking a shower can be quite enough for the first few weeks. Once I start feeling better, I know I’ll be looking forward to summer evening walks in the park with TwinDad and the babies. Starting with a quiet stroll and working our way up to a more brisk walk will be a good routine, focusing on being healthy and making a good recovery rather than losing weight.

Let me just say this…diet and exercise are essential and great things as long as we focus on being healthy! I don’t want to sound like I’m discouraging anyone from either practice, especially because I actually think they’re necessary with the right mindset. And, as always, be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s healthy and right for you, your body, and your recovery time!

My take: you’ll never get back your “pre-baby” body…and that’s not a bad thing!

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic or discouraging when I say you’ll never get your pre-baby body back. I think the stress, anxiety, and heavy focus on the importance of getting your “pre-baby” body back is something harmful to women and diminishes the new role we have embraced as moms. Being a mom, as I’ve said in previous posts, is a sacrifice. We may not be able to fit into the same jeans and dresses we wore in college, but that does not mean we are any less beautiful. We’ve given ourselves to a wonderful life and should embrace our post-baby body rather than obsessing about getting back the pre-baby body.

Our stretch marks will fade over time.

With proper hydration our flabby skin will tighten.

The extra weight will be shed eventually.

But we will never be in the body we had pre-baby. And we should love that. A “mom-body” is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s something to be celebrated. Celebrate away as you work on keeping healthy for you and your new baby (or babies!).

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