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Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is the host of Parental Discretion on NickMom as well as the author of four books including Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime Is the New Happy Hour. She also hosts the podcast For Crying Out Loud.

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What Do Real Women Look Like After Having a Baby?

By Stefanie Wilder Taylor |

My Belly After Baby

Muffin Tops Are Cool

Now that Jessica Simpson’s had her baby, it seems the race is on for her take off the weight. I for one, loved that she seemed to have a devil’s food cake-may-care attitude about her weight gain and seemed to be giving the media the middle finger for daring to report constantly on her expanding belly. But I guess it’s because she had a multi-million dollar deal with Weight Watchers to cushion the sting. The rest of us are not so lucky.

We real women have to deal with constant headlines featuring celebrities who are celebrated for losing weight quickly (and might I add completely unrealistically!). Headlines such as all of these from People magazine:

“Model Alessandra Ambrosio Drops 45 Lbs. of Baby Weight in Three Months to (Nearly!) Bare All”

“How Jessica Alba reclaimed her famously fit form in record time”

“How Victoria’s Secret model Heidi Klum got runway ready in two months”

More recently we’ve been treated to “hot mama” pics of Jennifer Garner, Candice Crawford (Tony Romo’s wife), Hilary Duff and of course the no longer babyweightalicious Beyonce who eight weeks after Blue Ivy was born inspired this headline:

“HOT PIC: Beyonce Shows Off Rockin’ Post-Baby Bod in Tight Blue Dress!”

 

WTF? Don’t people realize that new moms have better things to worry about in the weeks after giving birth than the state of our abs? How about keeping the baby alive or figuring out how to breast-feed or trying to get more than five minutes sleep in a seemingly endless 24 hour period? Real, non-celebrity moms DON’T GET TO SLEEP LET ALONE EXERCISE! But it doesn’t stop the media from making us feel like we are less than if we’re not on a fast train back to sexyland.

It’s tough, unrealistic and downright unhealthy to try to drop pounds quickly after birth. Your body needs calories to breast-feed, you need carbs to provide serotonin to combat the drop in hormones (I sort of made that up because I’m not a medical doctor “per se” but it makes sense right?).

Add to that the fact that most women don’t have personal trainers waiting in the wings or round the clock nannies to nurture and body with our babies while we tackle the way more important task of hitting the Elliptical machine. But knowing all of this doesn’t stop most women from feeling bad about ourselves because we can’t measure up. Shera, who you will see a picture of below said, “It impacted my sex life because I felt fat, like the antithesis of the modern MILF, I felt horrible about my weight all through the entire first year after my pregnancy.  And to add more fuel to the fire, Kendra Wilkinson gave birth to baby Hank about a month before I had our girls.  I was CONSTANTLY reading very important literature (with photos, of course) to see how her weight loss was progressing.  I might as well have poked myself in the eyes everyday instead.  It would’ve been tears and time better spent. “

Hey we all can’t be Kendra Wilkinson. And the truth is that most of us aren’t! Which is why I rounded up pictures of real women in the first months after having their babies. Real women, looking real. You’re welcome.

And thank you so much to the women who let me include them here. You are all beauties!

 

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How Does Having a Baby Change Your Body?

A couple of months

"Clothes hanging over the couch, sweat pants on, diapers and burp rag handy and my nice stretch mark roll hanging out. These were the happiest days of my life. Now i wear regular clothes, I put his clothes away and I have said goodbye to his diapers. I also keep that hot roll covered up." --Kelly Rotella

 

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About Stefanie Wilder Taylor

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Stefanie Wilder Taylor

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is the host of Parental Discretion on NickMom as well as the author of four books including Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime Is the New Happy Hour. She also hosts the podcast For Crying Out Loud. Read bio and latest posts → Read Stefanie's latest posts →

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39 thoughts on “What Do Real Women Look Like After Having a Baby?

  1. Jennifer Downing says:

    Great job Stefanie. I knew this article would be fantastic. I also think its awesome how many Mommies took the oppertunity to show what a real post baby body is!

  2. JJ Keith says:

    Awesome post, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it. Everything in our world tells us that chunk makes a woman lesser than, but it’s such a drag to care when there’s a new baby to look after. It’ll come off eventually. Or it won’t. Yoga pants, yo.

  3. Colleen says:

    Damn, these women look a hell of a lot better than I did postpartum! I remember eating bags of peanut M&M’s and Perrier at 3am when my daughter would wake up. I actually gained 11 lbs. in the first 6 weeks after! Then I decided enough was enough and hit the gym, got fit, only to gain it back again after 3 years :(

  4. amanda says:

    Yes Yes Yes!!! Thank you! This post is exactly what I needed right now. I’ve been trying to lose baby weight for over 1.5 years. I finally joined a gym 5 months ago, and at some point dropped about 5 pounds. I weighed in the other day and its just like the day I left the hospital. I’m working on convincing myself that I need to accept my body, (which miraculously created an amazing human being!) before people will stop asking me if I “my daughter’s little brother” is in there.

  5. Betsy says:

    This was really interesting seeing what other moms look like. Thank you for putting this together, I had my 1st at 39 and got back down to my usual size when my daughter was 6 months. (I don’t work out) I got pregnant that month! The weight came on, My self esteem too. I gave birth to a 9lb 7 oz boy. I am now 42 and still have a jelly roll. I have a size 4/6 body but wear clothes to hide the jellyroll. I too don’t understand how people get slimmed down and take care of their kids. It is very hard when I see my 2 and 3 year old now not eating what I feed them, I have a urge to eat leftovers so it is not waistful. Oh wait maybe it is waistful. “Waistful” on me. New moms just a FYI, all new Moms have a thick back and fuller face and big boobs and a stomach. Don’t let the gossip columns fool you. It will come off maybe not exactly how you were before. It just doesn’t happen in 2 months closer to 6 months to a year. Thank you Stephanie for being so normal and providing humor to being a Mom.

  6. pauline says:

    thank you for including me in this, Stefanie. I’ve had a hell of a time coming to terms that I didn’t look like those idiots on the magazine racks and am happy to be content with myself and my body now. I should probably note that my daughter is almost five now and I wrote a book about the whole thing because it was cheaper than going to therapy.
    Everyone is gorgeous. You are amazing. And muffin tops rock ESPECIALLY if a baby was the end result.

  7. Erin@MommyontheSpot says:

    I am so glad you did this post! The pressure is ridiculous! You said it best when new mom aren’t even sleeping let alone exercising. We are focused on keeping the baby alive. So true!!

  8. Tammi says:

    Loved all these beautiful women sharing their awesome badges of motherhood!
    Thanks for writing such a poignant article Stephanie!
    Great job to all, sorry I was too late to post my own post pregnant pics!

  9. Alesha says:

    Thanks for putting together this great post and recognizing all these brave women! I convinced myself not to send you a picture because I was (a) fat before I got pregnant and (b) I had my second child 9 years ago! Can I still call it baby weight??? I’m lucky my husband loves me as I am!!

  10. Amy Driggs says:

    I never thought I would be inspired to share my post-baby body on the internet… Great article. Shared it with everyone I know. THANK YOU!

  11. Marisa says:

    God bless all the beautiful women in the post. You are rock stars. Nice work Stefanie!!

  12. Beth says:

    Loved this. It’s refreshing to hear other women worried about this stuff even though we all know on an intellectual basis that how we look doesn’t define us. I have two kiddos and lost the weight without much effort the first time, but am still about 10-15 lbs heavier than my usual a year after the second. Know why? Because all the hours in the day are devoted to being the best mom, teacher, and person I can. When I get rich enough to hand-pick a perfect nanny, I’ll join a gym again. With pleasure!

  13. Healthy Jasmine says:

    I did a post like this a few weeks ago because I too got tired of all of the hooplah about losing the baby weight fast. I hope you enjoy it: http://healthyjasmine.com/weightless-wednesday/weightless-wednesday-how-fast-did-you-lose-the-baby-weight/

  14. valerie says:

    I loved this article!!!! It freakin Rocks!!! Thank you to all the beautiful woman who posted their photos.

  15. Unique Baby Gear Ideas says:

    Thanks on behalf of REAL mothers everywhere.

  16. KK says:

    YOU all okk gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your healthy post-baby bodies!
    Dr. K

  17. Carlina says:

    Refreshing article. All these celebs have so much help to get back to their size. Hate it hate it.
    Twins ruined my body! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my boys to death. The were worth it. Being pregnant was the most beautiful experience ever. Yes, that dam “twin skin” saggy belly is the total pits. I will never get my belly back unless I have surgery. Still working on post my pregnancy body. My boys are 21 months. I get enough exercise running afer them, doing housework, taking long walks. Exhausting! I dream of my post pregnancy body back!

  18. jessy says:

    So True we have enough stress with lack of sleep and Idiots telling us the way we should be let us be IDIOTS

  19. Ana says:

    I get that women have self-image issues and the media obsessing about how one can get skinny so fast after a baby can be very demeaning to a woman. However I must say that overweight women hating on skinny women is getting quite old! If I was calling people out for having ate too many cheeseburgers you would be appalled, so how is it that the reverse is perfectly acceptable?
    I sent my picture in several times now to be included in these post-baby body pictures and have yet to be included. Why is it that my flat belly offends people? Yes I have two kids, I eat healthy and not so healthy and I don’t exercise. That’s just the luck I was dealt. Everyone is different and should be accepted just as they are. Even if the celebs aren’t “naturally” losing the weight, why are you judging them? Since when did eating right and exercising become offensive? Their image is a huge part of their income, of course they want to be back in great shape. They have babies to feed now!
    If this article is meant to promote self acceptance, shouldn’t we include those that lose the baby weight right along with the ones that don’t? Stop the hate already!!

  20. Ana, I am not overweight at all. In fact, I look pretty good. I’m just talking about the race to lose weight, not that you should get fat and the world can deal with it! I don’t think it does anyone good for us to just give up and say “well, I had a baby so who cares?”.

    Also, I didn’t do any kind of open submissions for pictures. I put it on my FB page and took every picture that was submitted to me. Where did you sent yours in? Maybe it was for a different article?

    Stefanie

  21. Pamela says:

    I love the idea of this article. However, I am slightly offended about these women that are saying that only *real* women don’t lose the weight immediately after. By the time my son was 2 months old I was below pre-pregnancy weight. I am now fitting into jeans that I had “outgrown” years ago after highschool and it’s only been 4 months. So I agree with a previous poster that “skinny-bashing” has to stop. Quite frankly, I’m sick of people hating me for being a 00 naturally…

  22. No one is skinny bashing here. What I meant by “real women” is non-celebrity women. I believe that most non-celebs can’t actively get back into shape at superhuman speed. If you did then God bless! We all wish we were you. No one is angry. But try to have a little compassion for the non-00s you know.

  23. Danielle says:

    I am so happy somebody finally did an article about this! I am a mother of 4 and have always struggled with losing the baby weight. I weighed 200 lbs a year and a half after I had my oldest and again after I had my twins. Now I weigh 140 lbs and my daughter is 7 1/2 months old I am a member of a fitness center and work but it seems no matter how hard I try I cant lose the weight. I felt horrible about my body UNTIL reading this and seeing the ladies photos. Thank you babble for posting this.

  24. Jo Mama says:

    Mom need to Accept and be proud of their bodies. They gave birth to a human! No man can do that!

    However, DO NOT HATE OR BE JEALOUS OF THOSE THAT DO LOOK MODEL SKINNY AFTER BIRTH! For some of us it IS a natural thing to go down quickly. Every one of those mamas in those photos are beautiful.

    And don’t read tabloids they just make you feel ugly.

  25. Two babes says:

    Loved this article. Its been two months since my second baby was born, 18 months after my first, so I pretty much had no time for recovery. The stretch marks that I got the first time around pretty much covered my entire belly and I felt very self-conscious about them. After reading this article and seeing the pictures and captions, I feel , while they may not be the most attractive, they’ll be with me forever, I might as well wear them proudly!

  26. Ariana says:

    I am a ” real” non- celeb mom who had lower body fat percentage and worked out after my son was born. It was not the next week, but I worked as a waitress up until 7 month which kept me in shape, I ate healthy and once fully recovered I started walking, jogging, doing wii fit, from there I joined a gym and started working out 4-5 days aweek. I am a stay at home mom so my sched did allow me to spend an hour at the gym each morning. I did almost all strength training. My son is strong, confidant and social. I respect this article, but like a few said someone do just naturally slim down. I lost 20 lbs post partum by the time I got home. Every womam is beautiful whether she is a celeb with a cook and a trainer or a teen mom, or an over weight mom or a skinny mom.. if you are MOTHER in any way shape or form you a REAL woman.

  27. Imadylle Bais says:

    thank you so much… very beautiful. nice job. This should be a headline on a newspaper or a magazine so that no will ever assume that losing weight after your pregnancy is fast. almost 3 years since my son was born I am still not back on my post baby weight.. people always notice that and sometimes it really annoys me… Thank you so much for this

  28. Pamela says:

    Ana, I have plenty of compassion for them. I have so many friends with weight issues, so I have seen that it is not their fault. But what I don’t like is that I feel that I need to hide myself so that others that aren’t as tiny as I am don’t get upset or feel bad about themselves (Which, ladies, feel grateful if you are the average size 12-14, being a 00 it is next to impossible to find clothes that fit that aren’t crazy expensive!!!). But there are a few comments on here and on the fb link to this about how only *real* women and *real* moms have issues losing weight, as if I’m not real due to my size.

  29. Jenée says:

    I’m butting in again on this topic even though I haven’t had kids. The real problem is that women try to compete with celebrities who have an incredible incentive (and/or lucky genes) to lose the baby weight quickly. It’s such a female thing to do this; you never read articles by men complaining about how impossible it is to compete with David Beckham billboards. And, with all due respect Stef, I wonder if an article celebrating women who haven’t bounced back to their pre-birth weight–sometimes years after the fact– isn’t more detrimental than the articles promoting someone who’s back to size 2 jeans three weeks later. After all, we’re not a nation suffering from a skinny crisis.

    Whether a woman has given birth or not, it should always be about how she (and her partner!) feels about her body. If she/they genuinely feel comfortable with some extra pounds in the healthy range, great! But if she’s miserable about her body or if her weight is at an unhealthy level, then it’s in her best interest and her child’s best interest to use the pictures of the skinny bitches as an incentive to gradually shed the weight rather than using pictures of other struggling women as an excuse not to.

  30. [...] A potentially helpful read: What Do Real Women Look Like After Having a Baby? [...]

  31. Tami says:

    Stefanie… Your blogs are the best! When I had my son 2+ years ago I was fortunate enought to get to stay home from work for three months. Even though I was breastfeeding, I still managed to continue gaining weight as if I were still pregnant. By the time I went back to work I weighed the same as I did the day before I gave birth (a solid 60 lbs over my pre-baby weight). YIKES! It has taken 2 years, but I have finally dropped almost 20 lbs. I may never get back to where I was, but I think it’s been a good trade. Now I have a beautiful little boy who loves me, jelly roll and all.

  32. Kathy says:

    Stefanie, do you mind if I call you Stef? Just kidding. Seriously though, this post was great. It’s just insane how much pressure Mom’s put ourselves, I mean, if you’re not supermom, you’re just not good enough, or worse yet, you’re just not trying hard enough. So on top of everything else, lack of sleep, lack of free time, lack of proper mental function, lack of… wait what was I saying? I have a 10 month old son, I’m pretty happy with any sort of normal functioning… Yeah, let’s go ahead and take away our last resort support network, Ben and Jerry (or in my case chicken nuggets), and see how things go. With the media simply just having an orgasm at every celeb dropping the baby weight at breakneck speed, it really does send a message to the general population that this should be the norm. No one ever mentions that they have resources that all the rest of us do not have. And no one ever puts up an article that says “You know what, gals? Just chill out and be kind to yourself.” With everything else in life, you will figure it out when you figure it out, and along the way, just relax a little and enjoy your child. PS: I’ve lost some baby weight, but my kiddo basically decided that he was just going to wreck the joint while he was in there in ways that have nothing to do with weight, so it’s going to be a situation of “it is what it is” and I’ll go at my own pace, and just work on being healthy, eating well and moving my body. Sometimes, that’s all you got, and that’s just fine.

    Seriously though Moms, be kind to yourselves.

  33. Courtney Rundell says:

    I live on Wilkinson Avenue. I thought that alone would make the pounds just fly off after pregnancy. After all, it did for the 20 something year old Kendra. What’s my problem?

    Thank you ladies for the pics and yes, Stef, it is like Xanex for the soul. xoxo

  34. Elizabeth_K says:

    What a great post. Thank you.

  35. SHERRIE says:

    I was pregnant in…..OK, I have a 47 y/o daughter. Back then ( I sound like my dad) we were warned by our OBs to watch our weight and not to gain more than 20 lbs. In fact we were threatened with hospitalization if we gained too much. My daughter was 6lbs 14oz and was healthy. I gained only 18 lbs. I was happy and healthy when I left the hospital in stretch pants! What I am getting at is, where do you ladies get off gaining so much weight when you are pregnant????? Prenatal vitamins, healthy eating, a decent lifestyle and Wah Ha….baby’s just fine. There are abdominal binders for after and abdominal slings for during. If you want great boobs, don’t breastfeed and if you want to BF, put your pennies away for implants or whatever they have 20 yrs from now. And about men… No matter how they profess the old cliche “Babe, you know I love you just the way your are ! ” , they LIE !!! They want that smokin’ hot body back…the one he married for. Your’e going to have even bigger problems if this pregnancy weight gain keeps up. It almost like a game of ” Guess How Much Weight I Gained”.
    In my humble senior opinion, ladies, What was I saying…… =o )

  36. Michelle Rockwell says:

    Hi,
    I’m Michelle. I am 50. I have 3 children. My 1st son was born 8 days sfter my 16th birthay. Mt 2nd a daufhter born at 19. I had my second daughter at 19. After her birth I had ny tubes tied, divorced their father, I worked hard, night shifts, Then 7 years later I met my soul mate Paul. We spent 1 year learning in counseling to love each other and our children. We were married in the fall of 1983. Miracles do happen. I had my tubes untied and we set forth to have another baby. It took us 9 years and our beautiful healthy son was bojj1993. What a blessinng. He is 18, our daughter is 31 with three, our eldest is 33 and has 2. We have 5 beauiful grands 14 , 13 and soon to be 13. A grand daughter 7 and as of now the youngest is 3. Our 6th is due in August 2012.
    Life has not been easy in fact it’s been difficult.

  37. Michelle Rockwell says:

    Hi,
    I’m Michelle. I am 50. I have 3 children. My 1st son was born 8 days sfter my 16th birthay. Mt 2nd a daufhter born at 19. I had my second daughter at 19. After her birth I had ny tubes tied, divorced their father, I worked hard, night shifts, Then 7 years later I met my soul mate Paul. We spent 1 year learning in counseling to love each other and our children. We were married in the fall of 1983. Miracles do happen. I had my tubes untied and we set forth to have another baby. It took us 9 years and our beautiful healthy son was bojj1993. What a blessinng. He is 18, our daughter is 31 with three, our eldest is 33 and has 2. We have 5 beauiful grands 14 , 13 and soon to be 13. A grand daughter 7 and as of now the youngest is 3. Our 6th is due in August 2012.
    Life has not been easy in fact it’s been difficult. This year in fact the last three I have not been wll. To date I’ve gone from a size 26 to a 14. I was hit in the face last July 2011 with a orange soda while 3 teenage boys saw me waking and screamed at me to get out of the road “you fat F—ing– b—h!!! The next day I knew it was all I needed to do was to loose this weight that was weighing me down. I have to date lost 147 pounds. I came on one pound at a time and off pre sicly the same way! I’m proud of me!!!

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