Soooo much pressure to lose the baby weight! It’s every where. And even if you are immune to social media or a total hermit then you probably still have lots of lovely pre-maternity clothes that you’d quite like to get back into.
You can read my thoughts on the pressure to lose the baby weight in other posts but in the meantime, here are my 5 top reasons why you don’t need to worry about losing the baby weight.
You need to give your body time to recover
So we all know that pregnancy and birth is hard on the body. How ever you give birth you’re going to have a recovery period afterwards. During which it’s a really stupid idea to exercise. Depending on the birth you had this could be up to at least 12 weeks or more.
Then you need to be aware that you will have relaxin (that lovely hormone that loosened all your ligaments and affects every joint in your body) will be in your system for up to 5-6 months. This is going to impact on how much or what type of exercise you can do without causing yourself injury or aggravating any existing problems.
Also, you could have diastasis recti – where the stomach muscles separate during pregnancy and don’t go back straight away. This will affect what exercise you can do as some types of exercise will make things worse. See a physiotherapist if you think this is the case as they can tell you what to do to help things get back to where they should be.
Plus factor in the fact that you are likely to be seriously sleep deprived, exhausted and low on energy and it’s easy to see that hitting an exercise regime really hard or dieting might not be the best thing to do.
As frustrating as it is, it’s best not to start any serious diet or new exercise programme until at least 6 months. And even then, do it for the right reasons in the right way. Make sure it’s for health rather than just because you want to be slimmer or prove you can lose the baby weight quickly.
You have enough to think about when you are learning how to be a mum
If this is your first baby then you’ll have a steep learning curve. Even if it’s your second or third baby each one is different and you’ve probably forgotten most of it. It can be very stressful trying to figure out how to be a mum. You might be trying to get breastfeeding established. Your baby might be a poor sleeper or have colic. If you’ve got older kids then you might feel overwhelmed making sure they still get enough time from you too.
There’s a lot to try and get the hang of in the early days (and later days too). Most of your time is going to be devoted to caring for your baby and the remainder should be focused on looking after yourself. You’ll have to learn about so many different elements of parenting. You’ll need time to figure it all out and every time you think you’re getting the hang of it it will all change again. Learning to be a mum can be really (really) stressful!
So cut yourself some slack. There are lots of things that are important when you have a baby. Dieting isn’t one of them.
It doesn’t make any different to how good a mum you are
I hate to break it to you but your baby couldn’t care less how you look. Losing a few pounds won’t make him love you anymore. Or make parenting any easier. You won’t suddenly get the hang of feeding or being able to settle your baby to sleep.
The way you look has absolutely nothing to do with how good you are as a mum. All of the skills and qualities you need are about who you are; not what you look like. The things that are important – kindness, caring, patience, love – are not in any way related to your dress size. Or how toned your stomach is. All of which basically means that you are good enough just the way you are. Anyone who says differently deserves a slap.
The pressure you feel isn’t rational or fair
Yes, there is a lot of pressure to lose weight as a mum but you need to be aware that it’s not based on anything rational and absolutely isn’t fair. Whilst you might feel like you need to lose the baby weight, everything you are feeling is likely coming from things outside of you. From social media, from other mums or even people close to you. And you probably know deep down that there isn’t really a need to focus on weight loss. But it’s so accepted that you try that you probably feel pressured to diet and exercise anyway.
This is where you need to be strong and recognise that you’re being placed under unfair expectations by society and possibly people around you. There is no good reason for you to do what other people think you should do. You can absolutely choose to love your body just the way it is and embrace the changes motherhood brings. And by not doing so, by not dieting to extremes or exercising for hours a day, you also send a message to other mums that it’s OK for them not to either. Which can only be a good thing!
You’re perfect the way you are
It breaks my heart to see wonderful mums, women who are funny, kind and compassionate people, feel like they aren’t good enough just because they are a little bigger than they were before they had a baby. Or because their body looks different after pregnancy. They feel insecure that they are being judged on their appearance when that should be the last thing that is considered about a person. Especially a mum.
So here’s the thing. You are perfect just the way you are. Your body has just done something amazing and is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. You’re caring, nurturing and nourishing a new baby. You birthed your baby. Your arms hold and comfort them. You feed them, wash them and protect them. Your body does everything you need it to do so why not show it a little bit of love and accept it the way it is.