(image credit: dietlikeacelebrity.com)
I am not shy about my affinity for pop culture and celebrity information. I am the family go-to for scoop on marriages, babies, new roles, etc. So with the current celebrity baby boom, I can’t help but peruse the maternity and postpartum styles of our famous elite with awe and, naturally, a bit of jealousy.
I do it with good intentions; I make notes of the things that they wear that I might replicate at a lower cost, stuff like that. Of course, I still wear the same three items over and over again, because honestly–if it’s comfortable when I’m 8 months pregnant with a monster-baby, why mess with the formula?
I admire these women for going out in public just days after having the baby. Not that I didn’t go outside post-baby, but really I had trouble just remembering to brush my teeth, forget having the wherewithal to look fantastic.
After having my second child, I was ready to get back into an exercise routine. I looked forward to eating more than just bread, as that is pretty much the only thing that didn’t make me queasy throughout my entire pregnancy. I was cleared fairly early and started the very slow process of walking, attempting sit ups, cursing loudly at how out of shape I was…generally hoping that being really enthusiastically outraged might burn some calories.
I fit in my DVDs between evening feeding and bedtime, and was able to get in some gorgeous walks while the weather was not sweltering. I feel a solidarity in this frustration, as every mother goes through it: not having enough time, not wanting to spend time you do have working out when you could be sleeping, showering, peeing.
One day–after a particularly grueling 30 minute dance video I chose to do while Abe was napping instead of napping with him (a feat in itself)–I was scrolling through a celebrity site and saw a picture of a new mom walking her son 8-10 weeks postpartum. She looked better than I did at 20. I immediately got tears in my eyes.
I have been working so hard, and I still have stretch marks and a large pooch of skin, my arms are not fit for tank tops, and I can’t wear shorts. You see, knowing that this woman has a nanny, a trainer, and probably a chef, was not comforting to me at all at that moment. I KNOW that she’s a member of the less than 1% who can rebound like that after the second baby. Knowing that this was a hugely hot topic right now and that I had read, just before the workout, an inspiring piece with pictures of athletes embracing their postpartum bellies and bodies and felt thoroughly inspired? None of that mattered. I was just sad and helpless and then mad that I let this little skinny thing get to me. How easily I was distracted.
I could say that I will stop reading about these women who wear bikinis in Barbados three weeks postpartum. I could say that I will boycott headlines like, “How I got my body back”. But I know I won’t. I want to celebrate what these women do, honestly, for most of whom it is their job to look a certain way. I don’t want to contribute to the pressure. I should celebrate every woman’s right and progress to be healthy postpartum, to feel comfortable in her own skin, to carve out a little me time, even if it is just going to the bathroom alone.
Because really, at the end of the day, I have two freaking adorable sons and a husband that somehow still thinks I’m awesome and pretty, so I should be generous with my good vibrations. It’s a start, thinking about not comparing myself to an unrealistic ideal. I’ll keep working on the execution.