I’ve always been thin.
When I was a little girl, it was cute.
When I was a pre-teen, it was borderline weird looking.
In my 20s, it became fun to buy clothes.
Postpartum, it’s a pain in my skinny ass.
The other day, I went to get my nails done. And by get my nails done I mean pay 30 dollars to have a woman tear off my acrylics because the amount of diaper rash cream that had accumulated underneath them was appalling. There is nothing like licking that leftover Nutella off your finger just to be bombarded with the taste of Desitin.
A woman at the salon overheard me telling my nail tech about how wonderful my baby is. She asked me if I had a boy or a girl and I told her a girl. She asked me how old and I told her three months. Then, I made the same mistake I had made a hundred times in the last three months—I expected something other than this:
“Oh my God, you gave birth three months ago? You’re so tiny already!”
Don’t be fooled, this is not a compliment. What she’s essentially saying is, “You bitch” because it took her months to lose her baby weight. I know this because that’s all she talked about for the next five minutes.
None other than the media.
Every day talented people are reduced to ‘Body After Baby’ headlines. Angelina Jolie is not only an incredible actress, but she is literally Supermom. Yet, after birthing twins, the very first question asked was “What are you doing to lose the baby weight?” I’m sorry, I’d rather know what she’s doing to raise six children, help all of those less fortunate and maintain her superstar career status.
Kate Middleton? Really? Before anyone offered her a royal congrats, they were counting the days before she could fit into her old dresses.
Gisele Bündchen. That woman leaves the hospital with six-pack abs.
But what mere common folk like us sometimes forget is that fitting back into your jeans has a lot to do with your genes. (Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)
Gisele Bündchen is a model for a reason: she wears the same pant size as bamboo. Kate Middleton admits to doing nothing differently postpartum, the weight just came off. And for the first time ever, I’m going to put myself into the same paragraph as a supermodel and a duchess. I eat like a pig, and never work out. It is not something I feel like I need to be praised for, nor do I deserve it. It’s in my DNA to be thin. Thanks, Mom!
But this notion that we need to look like Kelly Rippa while raising a newborn is ridiculous.
So, here I am, ready to gush to this woman about having a beautiful baby girl at home who is healthy and happy and has a lot of hair. I want to talk about the noises she makes in her sleep, how close she is to laughing, how she’s allergic to cow’s milk or the exercises we have to go through at night so she doesn’t grow up with her head permanently turned to the right. I want to talk about anything other than her cellulite and my lack thereof.
What I really want to do is shout, “Who cares?”
I endured nine months of carrying a kicking, hiccupping baby with her elbows permanently stuck under my ribs. Then, I endured six hours of natural childbirth, threw up in front of family members I barely knew, tore my happy parts down to my not-so-happy parts and pushed out a baby with a head circumference in the 100th percentile.
Does anyone want to talk about that?!
The woman at the salon went through some version of this eight years ago. We could exchange birth stories, or talk about weaning babies off of pacifiers; the list of things that unite mothers goes on forever.
Our weight shouldn’t be one of them.
I am not taking anything away from those who make a real effort to lose weight right after having a child. I give major props to the woman who virtually squeezes her babies out, throws them in a baby Bjorn and goes to the gym. I love seeing those ladies, buff and sweating, pushing their gigantic stroller as they jog uphill. In between bites of my Chipotle burrito, I look at them with genuine admiration.
That being said, the obsession with how a woman looks postpartum needs to end. If it takes you a year to lose even one inch that wasn’t there before your little one, so be it. I can imagine you might have had some other things on your mind.
I just hope it doesn’t stop you from inhaling two or seven doughnuts while your baby is taking that wonderful morning nap. If you were thin before the baby and you’re thin now, that’s awesome, too.
It doesn’t matter that the woman at the nail salon had a tough time losing baby weight and I didn’t.
Some time this week, my baby is going to get fussy at a moment when I am so tired, I couldn’t even spell exhaustion. Around the same time, her eight-year-old is going to do whatever eight-year-olds do that’s annoying.
What matters is that when it’s over, we’re both probably going to reach for the ice cream.
Because we deserve it, darn it.
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Assist Editor: Sanja Cloete-Jones/Editor: Bryonie Wise