By Amanda Griffin Jacob
Do you ever look back at old photos of yourself (pre-baby) and think wow, my body was slamming back then. Everything was in its proper place, smooth and taut, and not much jiggling of any kind. Then you look down at your current shape and sigh, will I ever be able to get that body back? Well, I’m here to share some hard truths…but it will be okay, I promise.
Honestly, no, you won’t get that body back because your temple has been forever altered by pregnancy. You need to make peace with this fact. A woman’s body changes once it has housed a baby. I’m not saying you won’t ever be able to get a toned body again, you most certainly can (with a lot of hard work and dedication), but you must say sayonara to the way your body was shaped pre-pregnancy. Everyone’s body transforms, no matter their figure (skinny, chubby, athletic), it’s just the way it is.
So what are some of the things that change? Let’s start with the most obvious: your overall silhouette. Invariably most women gain broader hips (the bones move in preparation for childbirth and never shift back) and a more ample bottom (unfortunately a lot of the fat that we make during pregnancy loves to take residence in our behinds and boy is it a struggle to make it disappear!) Us mamas generally have a much more womanly physique as nature prepared your body for your baby and breastfeeding with fat deposits in all the “right” places (otherwise known as our most challenging body parts). I can definitely see the change in my form, no matter how much weight I drop.
Moving onto the next area that’s permanently changed: your belly. There’s nothing more beautiful than a pregnant belly swollen with child. Once that baby comes out, however, you’re left with a big tummy that had its skin stretched beyond imagination. After three pregnancies, I have gained and lost a total of 200 lbs. I get back to my pre-pregnancy weight but the belly is one of my toughest areas. One of my girlfriends said wait for the “jelly belly” right before I had my first baby. I had no idea what she was talking about until a few months after I had given birth and saw that the slack skin and lumpy tummy didn’t want to budge. No amount of core exercise or diet helps with the loose skin (for me at least). I always have to get help from Marie France and their amazing machines. And after each pregnancy it is the same battle, only more difficult.
Lastly, let’s talk about your breasts. Eventually post baby they will be either smaller, saggier, or less “pillowy.” Ahhhh, the wonders of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Enjoy those full boobs while you’re nursing because once you stop you’ll notice those changes which become more evident with each pregnancy. The days of a naturally perky cleavage are probably over. Meet the push up bra, your new BFF. But while you’re mourning the loss of your amazing décolletage just remember how awesome your mammaries are. They give life to your baby. Nothing can beat that, not even zero percent body fat.
So, yes child bearing does irreversibly alter our body but you know it’s all worth it. I’m not going to lie and say that when I look at my 25-year-old body prior to kids I don’t wish I could magically get it back, but that’s life. It is a great frustration for many women but always remember that it’s not the end of the world. The way I look at it is there’s always room for improvement. The harder I work at it the better my body looks. Besides these days it’s about the state of my body, my health, rather than having rock hard abs.