We're Not Meant to Bounce Back After Baby

We're Not Meant to Bounce Back

I'm sure by now you've seen the photos of the beautiful Kate Middleton showing the world her beautiful baby less than eight hours after giving birth. Not only did she show the world her baby, but she also showed the world what only an angel must look like after just giving birth. Beautiful makeup, wavy hair, a slim figure that hardly shows any signs of postpartum pudge and the ability to stand in heels like a true goddess without her giant maxi pad falling out from under her. 

I read a quote somewhere recently about how as women we are not meant to bounce back after a baby. That quote kept sticking with me as I shoved yet another cookie into my 11 month postpartum body that still holds quite the bit of pudge. I pull up numerous photos that show me days after having my baby and I look nothing close to what Kate Middleton did. I, like so many others, was swollen, tired and slap ass worn out.  *I'm not even a fan of the way I look in the photo up above. How sad and critical is that when I should cherish the photo? We have to stop. 

We are surrounded by the concept of "bouncing back after baby" everywhere from Kate Middleton's beautiful appearance to all of the magazine covers showing which celebrity has bounced back to a bikini six weeks after having a baby. We even come across fitness accounts where moms who had abs before their pregnancy are showing their stellar abs just three weeks after giving birth. Meanwhile I am over here wondering if I accidentally pushed my abs out alongside the baby during childbirth. #theywereneveractuallythere

All us non celebs are just shoving a cookie in our mouth because #momlife is all about survival and survival means grabbing crap food sometimes to make up for the things you don't get like 8 hours of sleep, a shower, a team of makeup artists and a hot coffee. Meanwhile we are having a mental war with ourselves over these two (okay four) cookies simply because we know we haven't "bounced back" yet. We don't look like the beautiful princess or the photoshopped magazine covers. Sigh. 

Speaking of mental war, have we even begun to talk about the emotional side of bouncing back as well? Our minds are consumed with the desire to have a healthy baby while we are pregnant, that the flood of happy emotions you feel after having your child is then flooded with fear and anxiety to care for this child and give them the best. All of a sudden this human is yours to take care of and turn into a decent, law abiding citizen. Add in tons of hormonal changes and some of us are barely hanging on by a thread to mentally and emotionally "bounce back." 

But to be quite honest, do we ever truly bounce back?

Do we ever truly have the exact body we had before or the exact mentality and range of emotions as we did prior to motherhood? I'd like to give that a big fat no. 

You will never truly bounce back. 

Whether it's physical changes or emotional changes that stick with you after baby, you'll never be quite the same. You'll never truly bounce back to the person you were before because now you're a mother. Your body has done the tremendous thing of growing and nourishing a human, of pushing out a human or having a major surgery for this human. Your body may still be nourishing this life well after childbirth and your hormones are all over the place. Your sleep will never be the same, your ability to just get up and go to the gym will never be the same and those cookies will likely become more precious over the years as you hide in the pantry from your toddlers to indulge and have seven minutes of heaven. 

You my dear friend, will never be the same. You will forever be changed because you are a mother and it should forever be something that you fully embrace and carry on with your head held up high. You will love something more than you ever imagined and your self care will come last as you make sure that your children are well fed, healthy, warm and loved. There's even a really good chance your children will dress better than you on most days. 

Take care of yourself and be healthy, but don't hold yourself to the standards of a princess or celebrity who has so many people hidden in the background. And don't think that underneath that beautiful red dress that the princess doesn't look a bloody hot mess like the rest of us. 

Love yourself for who you are - a mother. Love yourself for what you've done, for what you do daily and for what you still have to do for the many, long days ahead. 

Don't set yourself up for expectations of bouncing back when the reality of it is that we never truly fully bounce back. Embrace who you are now and work as you can on the parts that you want to improve. But don't improve them because society says you need a six pack and size four jeans, improve it to be just the best version of you that you can be so that you can be healthy and happy. 

Bouncing is for kangaroos, and you're no kangaroo.

You're a mother. Embrace, grow and just be. 

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Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos. 

The Day My Daughter Taught Me to Love My Postpartum Figure

Let’s promote beauty at every stage, every figure and every weight of motherhood.
— Sasha, The Mushy Mommy
Loving Your Postpartum Body

It was a rainy afternoon and my girls were playing "family." They were pushing their baby dolls around in strollers and were being the sweetest little mommies ever. My four year old decided to announce that she had just had her baby. Since I just had a baby three months ago, my four year old has been pretending to "have a baby" a lot lately and it's nothing new to me. 

After she said that she had just had her baby, I asked, "Oh did you just come home from the hospital?" To which she replied, "Yes. I just had a baby and my belly is still big so I am going run." She then took off with her stroller running around the house. 

I laughed at first at her mimicking me. BUT then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have completely done an injustice to my daughter. To all women. 

I completely distorted the idea of a woman's body after birth and at that moment, I knew I messed up. I prayed she would forget that unfortunate "lesson." I prayed I could show her how to love yourself no matter what. And that having a big belly after a baby is OKAY. 

Sadly I remembered the exact conversation we had when I was around 6-7 weeks postpartum and making them hop in the stroller to come jog with me. She had asked why I was running and I mistakenly said, "because mommy's belly is still big from having the baby and I want it to be small again." Or something along that line. When what I should have said was that I just wanted to be healthy or even, "I like the way I feel when I exercise." 

I look back now and can't believe that I did that. For someone who suffered with body images and food through high school, I look back and realize that could be the beginning of creating a misconception of how perfectly a woman must look and how soon she should "bounce" back. We see the magazines on the newsstands already about which celebrity had a baby three days ago and already has her six pack back; it's bad enough those headlines even exist for our daughters to one day see and compare themselves too. 

I'm embracing my womanly, motherly figure just as always. I know that with a few months of breastfeeding, some decent eating habits and a workout here and there when I can, I will reach goals. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I don't have my sad days. Just like any woman I'm sure, I have days where I want to cry because none of my clothes fit. I have days of trying to hide my bare figure from my husband because I don't feel "perfect" enough for him and I have days of wanting to just eat any and everything so I can just be like "eff it." 

But what I learned from this unfortunate event, is to always remember that I am the role model for my daughters. I am setting the example of how they may seem themselves and their bodies one day. 

 I want my daughter to have her own child one day and look in the mirror with pride at her body and all that it is capable of. I never, ever, want her to think that she immediately has to diet or run the baby weight off. That's total bullshit. And lucky for me, I realize now how silly it was for me to even say that to begin with. Lesson learned.

So mamas, embrace your beautiful, motherly figure. Slowly try to attain the goals that you want, but remember that you JUST.HAD.A.BABY. And if you didn't just have your baby, I think we need to remember just how hard it is to sometimes fit in gym time and motherhood; the two don't go exactly hand in hand. Cut yourself some slack - us mamas have a habit of putting our children's needs before our own. It's what we do. 

So let's teach our daughters about living healthy, rather than trying to attain perfection. Let's teach them about embracing your body and loving yourself no matter what. Let's remind them that we are beautiful no matter what the scale says, no matter what stretch marks we bear and no matter how imperfectly perfect we are. We have to do our daughters justice and make an imperfect body image NORMAL in a time where teens and girls struggle daily to accept themselves. 

Let's promote healthy lifestyles, not perfect bodies. 

Let's promote beauty at every stage, every figure and every weight of motherhood. 

Cheers to all my postpartum mamas squeezing into pants that don't fit.

You're killing it, girl. 

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Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos. 

Gentle Reminders for the Mama Nursing a Newborn

Nursing a Newborn

When it comes to breastfeeding a newborn, it's hard. Like chemistry and calculus combined with running a mile in 90 degree heat, kinda hard. And just because it's your second or third go around, doesn't mean it isn't just as hard as before. The only good news about not being a rookie when it comes to breastfeeding is that you're not as scared and you're a little more experienced. However breastfeeding each different child can truly be different for so many. 

When it comes to breastfeeding your little one, there are a few great tips that can help you manage through those first few weeks. Nothing can totally prepare you, but search around on this blog and you should find some great resources! 

  1. Feed on demand. As great as schedules are, you can't really think about that and you shouldn't because trying to schedule feeds too soon can result in decreased supply. Feed every 2-3 hours or when baby is fussy or appears hungry. In my home, a fussy newborn gets a boob. 
  2. Feeding to sleep isn't a bad thing. Some books and people will preach that you shouldn't nurse a baby to sleep because then they will never learn to fall asleep on their own. But when you're tired and exhausting because, um newborn, sitting there rocking or trying to pat a baby to sleep is ridiculous. Nurse that baby to sleep and worry about the rest later. 
  3. Hold off on the bottle and pacifier. I know those pacis are cute and all, but try to hold off about a week on those and about a month on a bottle. Sometimes babies become nipple confused and may prefer artificial nipples over natural ones. 
  4. Eat, mama. Eat and drink up! I know (believe me I personally know) that when you have a baby you go through the stages of "give me all the food" and then you come home to weigh yourself and realize you lost like a pound during birth (WTH only a pound!!) so then you start planning all of the diets and you're more like, "hide all the food". Your body and your baby need for you to eat and drink. Sure you can make healthier choices, but don't skip meals. Poor nutrition leads to a poor milk supply and a grumpy mama! 
  5. There's always milk. Don't freak out just because your baby is choosing to eat a lot or because your breasts suddenly feel like deflated balloons. There's milk in there! Babies cluster feed and hit growth spurts that rely on lots of extra nursing. Deflated boobs are a sign that your milk supply has regulated and is making just what your baby needs. While there are unfortunate cases of mothers who truly don't make enough or much milk, it is more rare to not make any milk; and low supply can often times see an increase with natural supplements and dietary changes. 
  6. A pump isn't a great measure of what you make. Often times mamas will pumps gallons of milk in the beginning, even while nursing their baby throughout the day/night. Give it a few weeks and you're suddenly nursing all day and seeing much less during your pump sessions. This is okay because your body is likely just making what it needs to, rather than making excess milk. A pump is never a good measure of milk supply because a baby withdraws more milk in a feeding than a pump can in one session. And the science is weird, but the more your nurse during the day/night, the less you'll pump when you choose to. 
  7. Take advice and don't take advice. There's SO much advice out there (like um eh, this blog post) and sometimes you don't know which way to go. The best thing you can ever do is listen to your instinct! I have also learned that people who didn't really nurse their babies at all or for a long period, don't often have the best advice. Grandmothers and older aunts sometimes have advice that now contradicts research. Just follow your instinct and turn to support groups on the internet, someone you know who successfully breastfed or your lactation consultants at the hospital or locally in your community. There's ALWAYS someone and there's almost always a solution! 
  8. Remember that it does get better. For probably 90% of mamas who stick it out past those first six weeks, it does get better. It gets easier, it gets less painful and it all becomes worth it. Sometimes in the beginning when your boobs are hard as rocks and when your nipples are bloody and cracked, you begin to doubt that it is all worth it. But it is. It truly, truly is. The pain will go away, the random leaks should stop and your baby won't nurse all day long. It will become like second nature and you'll miss it the day it's gone (well maybe). 
Tips for Nursing a Newborn Baby

Mamas, nursing a newborn isn't easy. It's sometimes the equivalent of what you can only imagine it would feel like to hook up jumper cables to your breasts. But it's also the equivalent of every joyful, loving and happy feeling you can imagine. If it isn't for you or if it doesn't work out, then be proud of what you did accomplish and know that it may (and should) be easier next time should you wish to try again. 

Nursing a newborn is a beautiful, wonderful and exhausting journey. But then again, that's really just motherhood summed up too. 

Thanks for reading and sharing, 

Sasha 

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Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos.