The Truth About Getting Back To Your Pre-Baby Body
You swallowed the red pill, hon.
I’m always lured in by magazines in the check-out aisle that declare the latest celebrity mom is “back” and “sexier than ever” after just having a baby. I want to be back. I want to be sexier than ever I think while in the grocery store checkout line buying whiskey, children’s Tylenol and teething tablets at nine at night.
If I could ban one word from the mom lexicon it would be the word “back” as in, “I’m back to my pre-baby body!” Or, “When will I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans?” The word itself contains a lie that things can be the same as before. That once you grow a fully-formed human being and then squeeze all eight pounds of him out of your birth canal, that you can just go “back” to the way things used to be.
I’ve done this twice. And I want to tell you that going “back” is a lie. Having a baby is like swallowing the red pill. Once you do that, there is no going back to your blissful ignorance. I mean sure, can you do Crossfit and get abs of steel? Absolutely. Can you live on only nuts and brown rice and get a nice thigh gap? If that’s your bag, I guess. But the reality is: Behind every sexy, celeb mom body that is “rocking” the beach body in a bikini and declaring herself “back,” is a woman who pees when she sneezes.
You can’t go back.
With my first child, I gained over 60 pounds. It took me nine months and training for a half-marathon to lose the weight. When I finally did, I was shocked to find that all those pants that fit me before, didn’t really fit. I could button them, sure. But they looked awful. No matter how many crunches I did, that little flab of skin that hangs below my belly button wouldn’t budge. I lost more weight. I ran another half-marathon. Finally, I gave the skin a name (Pete) and bought some new more grown-up pants. Pete wasn’t the only thing that changed about me. Before, I carried all my fat on the front of my stomach. After my first child it inexplicably went to my back. Also, thigh acne. I never had it before. Now, I have it in droves.
With my second, I only gained 35 pounds. And it has taken seven months of working out, eating well, two stomach bugs, a sore throat that lasted over a week and prevented me from swallowing anything more substantial than a smoothie, and a lot of stress to finally get back to my pre-baby weight. I’ve even lost some more, thanks sore throat! But am I back? No. There is no going back.
After my second baby, I suddenly have hips and a weird stipling above my belly button. I mean the hips are nice. But we all know that means new pants. What I’m trying to say is to the tired new mom—trying to squeeze in a work-out routine and wondering if going gluten-free will let her fit back into her skinny jeans—you can’t go back.
You can get fit. You can get healthy. But back? No. Our bodies all bear some memory of the lives we created within us. For some of us that’s the eternal sneeze-pee, for others it’s the cough-pee. Lot’s of us bear Petes, a very fit friend of mine showed me her arm flab. I got those pregnancy skin splotches that seem to be here to stay. And yes, hips too. And why would we want to erase all trace of what we’ve done? Like it’s something to be ashamed of. Like somehow we have to pretend like our lives didn’t just get shaken to their very core.
So, sure Kim Kardashian. You go on insisting that you are “back and better,” but we all know you are hiding a Pete of your own, somewhere.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN