Updated: Aug 25, 2020
There’s something about the 6-week postpartum milestone that makes moms go crazy about how their bodies look.
I get so many new-client inquiries around the 6-8 week postpartum mark, and I have to remind them that intentional weight loss should not be a focus before 12-weeks postpartum. Ideally, I ask that they give themselves a minimum of 12-months to lose the weight gained during pregnancy.
Yeah, so guess what happened? Yep, when I hit the 6-week mark, it was like a switch was flipped, and I had a meltdown over my body and how “flabby" it still looked.
What is it about this 6 to 8-week postpartum milestone that makes moms get frenzied about their still recovering bodies? Why is it that after 9 months of enjoying food, 9 months of stretching out our skin to the extremes, and 9 months of consistent weight gain and fat storage do we expect to have it all reversed after just 6 weeks?
I personally think it has to do with that *BIG* impending day…the day we see our OB again and get the “okay” to resume normal physical activity, including….dare I say it?? S - E - X.
Um, yeah! Of course it would be only natural that we would freak out! How was I supposed to feel sexy when I only saw frumpy? My breasts were heavy and hanging (read: sagging) from the weight of the milk, my skin was dry and wrinkly from not drinking as much water as I should be, I hadn’t had time to shave my legs in who-knows-how-long, and my stomach hung far over the waistband of my pre-pregnancy pants when I’d button them. I was panicking over the thought of my husband seeing all this too. I was freaking out because I wasn’t sure I could handle any possible negative reaction from my husband when he saw what I had been hiding for the last two months. I would be so naked and EXPOSED!
So I totally lost it in front of him. I started crying and body shaming myself. I felt terrible and felt that I looked terrible, and I said everything out loud, because I didn’t want my husband to think that I was oblivious to how I looked.
My husband took me in his arms and let me exhaust myself with my rant. And then he asked me “What do you tell your clients when they come to you saying these exact same things?”
I tucked my tail and answered:
“I’d tell them that even though it seems like it’s been forever, it’s only been 6 weeks and they can’t possibly expect to have returned to their pre-baby weight just yet.”
“And that their body is still recovering from a traumatic event and is balancing that with trying to establish a milk supply, all while getting very little sleep.”
“And that they shouldn’t even think about any attempt at weight loss until they’re at least 12 weeks postpartum.”
“I’m a hypocrite.”
And then it was his turn. While squeezing his hug a bit harder, he said: “Yes, you’re a hypocrite. And you don’t give yourself enough credit for all you’re doing right now for your sons. Look how happy Wesley is and look at how plump and healthy Zach is. You’re sexy as hell.”
Yes, I know, he’s absolutely amazing. And I’d guess that your significant other thinks the same way about you! We are really our own worst critics, aren’t we? No matter how we see ourselves, those that love us see us for exactly how beautiful we all are.
So the moral of this story is that everyone is susceptible to moments of weakness and insecurity - even the ones whose jobs are to prevent these feelings in others. Another takeaway is to remember what your body has been through and that we all need to be fair to it in how much time we give it to recover and heal. Pregnancy and birth are traumatic events, and most doctors will agree that it takes at least a year for us to fully recover from it. Six weeks is only about 1/10 of that.
Be fair to yourself and to your bodies. Now go out there and love on those babies your amazing bodies created!!!