Baby Weight, and The Pressure To Bounce Back

It’s hard to believe how fast the time went, but our youngest child turned one last month. I had to catch myself because the closer he got to the one year mark, the more I started to pressure myself to tighten up my fluffy body. Keep in mind when I say fluffy, I admittedly have always been on the small side; but nonetheless, my zippers really were starting to put in some extra work.

Finding myself unhappy with my post-baby body took me back to a tweet I saw awhile back from Parents magazine with the headline, “Beyoncé Gained HOW MUCH Weight While Pregnant?” Of course, I had to click on the link because what self-assured woman wouldn’t secretly hope that there were five minutes when she actually weighed less than Beyoncé. I should have resisted the urge to check it out.

The article started off with, “Have you seen Beyoncé’s scantily-clad video for her new song ‘Partition’? The sultry singer strips down to pretty much nothing—just a G-string and an itty-bitty bikini top, shaking what her mama gave her, and looking incredible while doing it!”

Now, before you go looking for the Partition video, let me save you a click and tell you that “scantily-clad” description was the understatement of the year. Yet even still, it wasn’t the video that rubbed me wrong. It was Beyoncé’s rationale for losing her baby weight. In Queen Bey’s words, “I was very aware of the fact that I was showing my body. I was 195 pounds when I gave birth, I lost 65 pounds, I worked crazily to get my body back. I wanted to show my body. I wanted to show that you can have a child and you can work hard and you can get your body back.”

I remember thinking, Oh, great, just what our society, our husbands and we moms need to hear. If Beyoncé can put in the work to get her body back, then what’s our problem.

Thanks, but no thanks, Queen Bey. I really like you and all (I mean you are a fellow H-town girl and did give us Single Ladies, Run the World, Formation and that hair blowing in the air thing), but this mom doesn’t need that kind of pressure. I went through that eight years ago with my first child after seeing Heidi Klum walk the Victoria’s Secret runway just five weeks after giving birth and feeling like I needed to get my sexy back quickly, too.

What I didn’t realize then and what I know now, is that those stories aren’t my story. If I don’t get my body back after baby, it doesn’t mean I’m not working hard enough. It means there’s other stuff going on…

Whether it’s adjusting to a new baby or the sleep deprived exhaustion, taking it easy so my body can heal or juggling the demands and responsibilities of a full-time job, a husband and other children, there’s a lot vying for those 24 hours every day.

And that’s not to say that moms who can work their way into an itty-bitty bikini a few months after having a baby aren’t dealing with the same things. However, I’ll go out on a limb and say they may also have a small army of assistants to help…cooks, nutritionists, personal trainers, maids, personal assistants, nannies, masseuses, babysitters, hair stylists, makeup artists, in-house gyms, etc. (Or, at the very least, extremely gracious genes.) The benefits and freedom this extra help brings should not be understated.

To compare my efforts to bounce back after baby to someone’s like Beyoncé’s or [fill in the blank celebrity mom’s name] isn’t realistic. I can appreciate their desire to want to inspire moms to get their sexy back, but instead of that, I prefer the brave souls who proclaim to the world that it’s ok to have an added roll or few after giving birth. The ones who wear their stretch marks with pride because of the birthing stories they represent. The ones who say this is my new body, and that’s ok.

What I Know For Sure

This week was a milestone birthday week for me. I am officially a member of the 40’s club. I remember when I turned 30 being distraught over the fact that I hadn’t made any of the notable 30 under 30 lists that I’d followed over the years. I guess a few more years of experience and wisdom (and probably the 4 kids) have me singing a different tune. I’m excited to join the 40 club, and as I was reading my daily Bible study plan, the message I heard was contentment.

Y’all, what I know for sure is life is good. It is truly well with my soul. Now, does that mean everything is rosy and perfect…HECK NO! Give me a pen and paper and I could write a laundry list of things I’d like to change about myself, my marriage, my husband, the kids, our finances, this blog, the world,  etc. But even with those things, I’ve had a good…no, make that FANTASTIC, 40 years of living.

I like how my study Bible explains contentment–our acceptance of God’s will in our lives.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” -I Timothy 6:6

The study Bible goes on further to say that “if godliness and contentment depend on our environment or circumstances, both will always be unstable.” Talk about an aha moment. 

I can say without a doubt that I have struggled with contentment throughout the years–as a young kid, high school teen, single adult, young married, mother, wife and other steps in my life. 

However, as I look to the next 40+ years of my life, I want to live each day genuinely happy and content with God’s will in and for my life.
The challenge is that godly contentment is not our, and certainly not my, natural response. It’s a “learned response” that “lies well beyond our abilities.” Fortunately, we have a God who will get us there if we ask.

 

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