What Do “Real” Women Look Like After Birth?

I know I shouldn't do it, but anytime I see a headline that announces “Latest Celebrity Shows Off Body After Baby!” I can't help but click on it. 

After having my fourth baby last summer, I am struggling to get back in shape. Really, really struggling. So I admit when I see all of these celebrities and women who still look bikini-perfect less than month after giving birth — or less — I definitely wonder 1) “How on earth they do it?” and 2) “What in the world is wrong with me?” 

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Image via Flickr/ makelessnoise

The most recent culprit in my feeling bad about my body occurred when I clicked over to check out Blake Lively “modeling” her “trim post-baby body” less than two months after giving birth. Of course, she looked great and, of course, I felt defeated since I gained weight in every single part of my body and not just my belly. 

But here's the thing. Even though Blake looks great, and even though I fully recognize that she gets paid to look good at some level, I know plenty of real-life women who look equally as fabulous after giving birth. 

We are tempted to proclaim that “real” women don't bounce back after giving birth — that “real” women have stretch marks and battle scars and struggle with postpartum weight loss. But truth bomb? 

That's just not completely true. 

Some women genuinely do have different postpartum and post-birth experiences. Some struggle to lose the weight, some don't. Some gain a lot of weight, some don't. We are all different, from diet to exercise routines to the genetic make-up that makes us us. 

{ MORE: It's Not Just You: Most Moms Hear Negative Comments About Their Post-Baby Bodies }

“Real” women have stretch marks and lingering rolls long after the baby is gone. But “real” women also have flat stomachs after birth and can still rock a bikini like Heidi Klum.

We are all “real” women, and we can't let the thought that motherhood is some sort of vicious competition to look the best, be the best, and raise the best get us down. 

I can celebrate women who look great after birth and acknowledge that, more likely than not, I will never be one of those women. But I can still celebrate me, my body that has given birth, and my journey forward into getting back into shape and feeling good in my own skin. 

Did you struggle to lose weight after having a baby? 

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What Do “Real” Women Look Like After Birth?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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2 comments

  1. Kathleen says:

    I gained 42 pounds. I had GD and developed high bp. I was induced at 39 weeks.

    I lost 30 pounds in 9 days and was down to my pre baby weight by the time my sone was 2 months old. I didn’t try to lose weight, it just happened. I think breastfeeding helped, but this also happened to both my sisters and my mothpher. It’s just in our genes.

    I felt guilty about it because every time someone saw me they commented on my weight and asked what I was doing.

    I actually lied to some of my friends who struggled.

  2. Ambur says:

    This post was more balanced than I expected. I do have stretch marks and have to work pretty hard for my postpartum weight loss. But a lot of people assume I’m “naturally thin”. Which means that they think it has been easy and effortless for me to get a decent body after baby. I am a little jelous of those who do bounce back after only a month. But I would never try to say they aren’t real women. They just have different bodies than I do. And maybe they do in fact work very hard. Someone else looking great after a baby isn’t going to make me feel bad about myself. I do thake a little more time. And that’s ok.

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