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  • Nicole Conteduca

Appreciating Your Mom Bod

Pregnancy is such a crazy and beautiful journey! It’s the one time in our lives where having a big growing belly is acceptable and “cute.” As soon you as you have that baby though, your “cute” big belly is no longer accepted and you are bombarded with messages that you need to lose the baby weight asap. Phrases like “don’t worry you’ll bounce back” and “you have to breastfeed if you want to lose the baby weight” or “you’ll be back to your pre-baby body in no time,” are just some of the messages we receive. Are these really the messages that new exhausted moms should be getting? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

First, it took 9 months of your body changing to produce your beautiful baby, so should society really expect it to just “bounce back” shortly after birth? No way! Also, our bodies are not made of rubber. We do not just bounce back! We have human bodies, with raging hormones, and sleepless nights and a crying baby. Tracking the macros in the cinnamon roll you just ate should be the last thing on your mind.

Secondly, whoever said that breastfeeding helps you lose the baby weight is full of it! With my first baby, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no-time. Was I breastfeeding? Yes. Was my mental health intact? No. On one of my postpartum visits I heard praise from a nurse “Oh wow, look at you! Back to your normal weight in no time.” When instead I wish she said “Oh wow, you lost weight so fast. Is everything okay?” Looking back now, I know I lost weight quickly because I had postpartum depression of some sort and I needed medication. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well, and I cried SO much. I knew this could not be normal. After making an appointment myself, I got put on medication and felt like a new person in a few days. I would take feeling good over being at my pre-pregnancy weight any day.

Fast forward to my 2nd and 3rd children. I breastfed them both and didn’t lose a pound. In fact, I am pretty sure my body holds extra weight while breastfeeding just to keep up with the demands of my growing baby. And that’s okay. Not to mention that my 2nd baby was born 10 weeks early and spent 74 days in the NICU. Those were the hardest days of my life. Thankfully, losing weight was the last thing on my mind, which isn’t the same for many mothers I know.

People don’t really talk about the emotional toll that pregnancy takes on many of us. A lot of mom’s have a hard time trying to conceive, might have a high-risk pregnancy/delivery, may spend time in the NICU or might even lose a baby. Eating is one of our emotional coping tools and sometimes it helps to make us feel better in times of stress. So on top of needing more calories for your growing baby, you might also need more calories to make you feel better and that okay! It’s time to normalize weight gain after having a baby instead of demonizing it.

Lastly, after having a baby, you will never have your “pre-baby” body again. After every pregnancy your body changes, so your pre-baby body might not be the body that is right for you anymore. I know that can be hard to hear, but it is the truth. While yes, a lot will go back to what you know as your normal, a lot will change. You may have some new stretch marks or a new scar, extra skin or a veiny chest. All of these changes may not be welcomed but they are very normal.

I know your changing body can bring up a lot of negative emotion and I am here to tell you that you are not alone! The postpartum phase is a tough one, but you do not have to go through it hating your body. If you find that you are struggling with accepting your new mom-bod try some of these techniques to feel better in your body today:

· Throw away the scale

· Try and do some movement that makes you feel good

· Detox from negative social media accounts that glorify the unrealistic postpartum body

· Keep yourself hydrated

· Write down positive affirmations about your body such as “I am grateful for my body and its ability to create and sustain life”.

You got this mama! You ROCK and your body deserves to be celebrated today and every day! If you find that you are really struggling with life after having a baby, there is no harm in reaching out for help! It honestly saved my life and made me a better mom! Not only do we need to normalize maternal weight gain, but we also need to normalize maternal mental health! If you need any words of wisdom or advice in these areas, reach out to me! I am happy to chat. 😊

XO - Nicole (Registered Dietician & Binge Eating Specialist)



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