“One of our greatest virtues as humans is our desire to constantly improve. But in the same way that women can have it all, the notion that instantly stick-thin figures after birth are normal is untrue. Sometimes, in my sleep-deprived nights, I ponder our ideal of this near-emaciated, sexy and well-dressed Frankenmom we’ve created and wonder how to undo her. Even just a little bit.”
Her plea for a more sane approach to our postpartum physiques — published in the New York Times last weekend — sent out waves of cheers and hoots though the mom-o-sphere. But it left many expectant moms asking, if all the celebrity stuff is whack, what should we expect of our new mom bodies? Doctors seem as interested in pregnant women keeping weight down as the celebrity magazines are. New moms are advised to work-out and breastfeed (it burns calories!). But we’re also told to take it easy and eat more. Part of the reason it’s confusing is because everyone is different. But part of the problem is that we’ve lost touch with what it means to have a baby. Hey, the CEO of Yahoo is going to dash on back into work within weeks. There’s definitely no paid maternity leave in the U.S. and sometimes no unpaid maternity leave. The culture acts like once the baby is out, it’s all over and you should be back … in your office, in your jeans, etc. I work with new moms all the time and can plainly see that making a baby is NOT DONE when that sucker comes out. You are still very much in it — physically, emotionally, chemically — for weeks (at least) after the birth. If we want to send Frankenmom packing, we need to have a better understanding of all that we’re doing. Then we’d be more likely to A.) feel damn good about our accomplishments and B.) stop obsessing over erasing all signs of them.
So now, on a more practical note, here’s a super realistic guide to what you can expect from your body in the weeks and months after giving birth, covering everything from whether breastfeeding really does make you lose weight to why doing lots of crunches is actually a bad idea.
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