We Need to Stop Telling Moms to “Bounce Back”
What's the first thing new moms hear after they've gone through working hard for nine months, delivering a baby, and recovering enough to, you know, go to the bathroom without very real pain?
Oh, that's right–
It's time to bounce back, ladies!
According to any celebrity magazine, one would think that all of us mothers in the world are obsessed with “getting our bodies back” and bouncing on into the postpartum jeans and dieting until we can erase any and all signs of what our bodies actually did. Because that would just be wrong if our bodies betrayed the facts that we grew people, right?
I admit that I've lost many an opportunity to snuggle a baby because I've been too focused on how much I hated my body, primarily my stomach. (The non-pregnant stomach, let's be clear — although it often still looks pregnant.)
And while I am slowly trying to change my thinking into being healthy and accepting that my body has changed in ways that not all moms' do, I've looked to other women who promote a positive body image for mothers.
One mother who has been especially inspiring to me is Taryn Brumfitt. After showing pictures of her transformation from the “perfect” body as a competitive bodybuilder to a mom of three who dares be comfortable in her own not-perfectly-taut tummy, Brumfitt pointed out that true health isn't always physical. For some women, who may not be genetically inclined to look like a supermodel, looking a certain way costs a “heap of blood, sweat, and tears.”
I love her message that, instead of women focusing on “bouncing back,” it's more about moving forward. We aren't ever getting the bodies back that we had before we had our babies because we didn't lose them — we just changed them.
One mom summed it up the best way I've heard. She said, “I'll never have the body I had before I carried these two little gems, but my body can work in ways it never did. I'm scarred and droopy and different, yes. But I am strong and beautiful in ways I've never been before.”
What do you think? Should we stop pressuring moms to “bounce back”?