Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? You know when you say something you really shouldn’t- most often with good intentions… Well I have. Plenty of times. But whats even more amusing is when our men do it- isn’t it? When they are so well meaning and trying to be encouraging and instead end up presenting some kind of strange sentence we’re not quite sure what to do with.
Let me first say that my husband is the most genuine and well meaning man- he is kind and loving and speaks words of life and love to me every single day! But this story is about a day where he didn’t quite get his point across…
I was 34 weeks pregnant with our first baby and we were on a little baby moon in Australia. I was soaking in the hotel bath, legs up over the edge trying desperately to deflate my ever growing feet. My husband of two years, came into the bathroom, glanced at me with a slight smile, and with the sweetest tone and purest intentions he said three little words. “You’ll bounce back”.
After the initial shock and offence I promptly realised he was TRYING to compliment me… I wouldn’t say it was well achieved. But that comment really stuck with me. I thought about it, I pondered on it, I was motivated by it. “I’ll bounce back” was what I continually comforted myself with when I was unimpressed with the unrecognisable figure that faced me in the mirror every day.
And this, my dear mums of NZ, is the problem with society today and the postpartum stage of life.
The Bounceback Timeframe.
“Well it took you nine months to grow the baby, so its going to take at least nine months to bounce back”. We’ve heard it all before. Does it really even take nine months to bounce back? Does it take longer? Do we ever really fully bounce back at all? Well, not really.
The notion that you’ll get your body back to exactly what it was pre-kids is quite unrealistic. Whether its food choices, pregnancy exercise or just plain genetics; we all treat our bodies differently, we are all made differently and we all “bounce back” differently.
Now, as a society and especially as an online community on social media we are getting better at this. Yes there are many flawless pregnant and postpartum women who flaunt their amazing figures throughout the entire length of their motherhood; and for a lot of us, it makes us feel bad. Which by the way, we shouldn’t (we’re all different remember).
But these days there are many other women, with imperfect shapes, jiggly thighs and lumpy tummies who are also online freely snapping their bikini shots in the pursuit of acceptance and self love (Yes! Keep it up ladies!). Now here is what I want you to take from this lesson today mumma. I don’t think that its just the 3 week post baby, size 6, skinny jean wearing, perfect hair flaunting, doublechinless mums who are making this hard!
I think what makes some of us doubt ourselves is this: the way we celebrate those who have the perfect mum bods, the way we compliment the skinny pregnant women a little more than the larger pregnant women, the way we affirm that the faster you lose the baby weight the more successful you’ve been, the way we praise each other with “you don’t even look like you’ve had a baby” and “from behind you do not look pregnant!”.
When we uplift those who are thinner, prettier, more successful and those who bounce back faster; are we not saying (maybe in the tiniest way) that its better to be like that? Are we complimenting a new mum who has lost all her baby weight and simultaneously offending the new mum beside her who has gained 5 kilos since her baby was born?
I think with the best and sweetest of intentions we set ourselves and other mums up to fail. You might have lost all of your baby weight in 2 weeks or in 2 years or not at all. You might be far heavier now than you ever were pregnant, or the smallest and fittest you’ve ever been in your life.
The fact is, at the end of the day, when we look at what is REALLY important in life, it shouldn’t be what we weigh, how we look, what we wear or whether or not we have bounced back.
Honey, your value cannot be defined by such small measures.
Part two coming soon…