What Do Real Women Look Like After Having a Baby?

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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  • A couple of months 1 of 20
    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
  • 6 months 2 of 20
    6 months
    "My oldest daughter, Aubrey, was about 6-7 months old when this was taken. I remember seeing the pics and thinking how cute she was and wishing I had sucked it in. But I was too busy breastfeeding, working fulltime as an ER nurse while my husband was in grad school and sticking pins in a voodoo doll of my lactation consultant who didn't know a nipple shield from a raincoat." --Robin O'Bryant
  • 5 weeks 3 of 20
    5 weeks
    "5 weeks post partum with baby #2: My son is my personal trainer so suck it Beyonce! AND my hair is REAL!" --Desiree Kiva Powell
  • 2 weeks 4 of 20
    2 weeks
    "I was hiking Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles two weeks after my second child was born. I wasn't up there to lose weight -- I knew from my first that would take months and months -- but because I was overjoyed to not be pregnant anymore. I could finally move again! And after weeks of bed rest I was dying to get outside, even if I did have to stop every thirty feet to nurse."
  • 3 months 5 of 20
    3 months
    "This was taken 3 months after my youngest child was born. By that time I had started moderate exercise 4 days a week, and yet I certainly didn't regain my pre-baby body, let alone a body like any of the super stars that had babies around that time! Time and patience (we are talking 2 and 1/2 years here) is what it has taken for me to finally get to my pre baby weight!" --Jennifer Downing
  • 4 weeks 6 of 20
    4 weeks
    "I've always been petite and a little vain, and did not work out at all when I was pregnant, but fortunately somehow I was able to let that go during the first few months. Don't ask me how, because I obsessed about every single OTHER failure that I possibly could conjure during this time! Maybe it was simply the state of delirium I was constantly experiencing that made me forget about my physical appearance. What a plus! Haha!" --Laura Powell Price
  • 5 weeks 7 of 20
    5 weeks
    "Here's a picture of me in my first trimester and then 5 weeks after birth. Probably the only full body picture I have from that time that I haven't already cropped to just my face, but it is good motivation to keep working at losing the weight. It's a bummer having to continue wearing maternity clothes for weeks after giving birth!" --Tiffany Pugh
  • 5 months 8 of 20
    5 months
    I gained 60 lbs over my pregnancy and HATED IT. HATED IT x 50000. I think I had undiagnosed anxiety that just was off the hook as a result of pregnancy hormones. This was December 2008. I hit my pre-pregnancy weight a few weeks ago; believe it or not. Second pregnancy will be a lot different, both in weight and mood management." --Heather Hanson
  • Triplets ruined my body 9 of 20
    Triplets ruined my body
    "Triplets ruined my body! How in the hell does anyone get the saggy skin to go away without surgery?? Can't believe I baked three people at once in there. As much as I wish I were thin again, it's almost a badge of honor. My war wounds. What the hell, you only life once, and I'll be damned if I live without Haagen-Dazs." --Sandra O'Connell
  • 1 month 10 of 20
    1 month
    "One month after my baby boy was born by c section." --Carlie F.
  • Awhile ago 11 of 20
    Awhile ago
    Because this is first thing in the morning my stomach is growling and hasn't yet blown up like a puffer fish as soon as food or liquid should cross the threshold of my lips. That is a positive. I also wore this dress when I was pregnant. I may in fact often were things that I wore when I was pregnant... 19 months ago. --Marta
  • It was a 2 year battle 12 of 20
    It was a 2 year battle
    I was wildly self conscious about my weight and my body. I gave up on trying to lose weight while I was still nursing because I didn't want to do anything that further decreased my milk (talk about pressure). It was a 2 year battle for me, first alone and then finally with a series of EXPENSIVE personal trainers, to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. (Even back to my "regular" weight, I didn't feel the same about my body because of my "twin skin" tummy.) --Shera Myers
  • 8 weeks 13 of 20
    8 weeks
    "So this is me with Justice - he's 8 weeks old. We were in Hawaii and I shoved my post baby body into a bikini - yes, with only a little shame. I figured if I was carrying him - people would have sympathy." --Brandy Carillo
  • 3 months 14 of 20
    3 months
    "Here we are about three months after Emma was born. She had emergency surgery at 7weeks and I'm just thankful I hadn't totally lost my mind during her recovery. I'm still in maternity jeans--I can tell because of the pretty design at the bottom, but I'd showered and had some makeup on. It was a good day. I weighed in at 230 the day she was born. Here, I'm probably about 210." --Patricia Walters Fischer
  • 3 weeks 15 of 20
    3 weeks
    "3 weeks after the birth of my son. I felt clarification was needed since it looks like he was still residing inside." --Erin Rawlings
  • 6 months 16 of 20
    6 months
    "I have to say that pregnancy and breast-feeding were probably the greatest things that ever happened to me in terms of body-image acceptance and treating myself kindly regarding food and weight. Like so many women, I've struggled with serious body image issues my whole adult life (despite always being within a very healthy BMI range), and also with eating disorders that have come and gone since college. Pregnancy really snapped me out of all that; somehow i was able to view my body as a vessel for this baby, not some shallow quest for perfection." --Jen Gold
  • 10 months 17 of 20
    10 months
    "This photo was at 10 months (and size 14...giNORmous for me...usually 2-6)...and was the one where i screamed 'MF this is RIDICULOUS!!!' I used breastfeeding as an excuse to continue to eat everything...and indulge my love for all things dairy including drinking half and half like water!! also, shortly after this was taken i had a physical and my cholesterol level was well above 300.....verrryyy bad....i was 30!!" --Valary Dreyer
  • 5 months 18 of 20
    5 months
    "Hollywood can kiss my cellulite." --Pauline Campos
  • 3 years 19 of 20
    3 years
    "Three years later I still get "so, when are you due" and rather than get depressed as I had been, I respond, 'oh no, I'm not due, just still fat from the first one.' It does tend to end that conversation." --Jessica Holst
  • 1 week 20 of 20
    1 week
    "This is me one week after naturally delivering a 9lb 11oz baby. I took this picture because I was in awe of what my body was capable of and just wanted to capture that for me as a reminder of everything I was feeling, the physical changes I was going through and the whole experience in general. I decided to send it to you because I'm all pissed off about all the Jessica Simpson crap. Fuck that!" --Carissa

 

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