You know the one.
The one with a six pack at 38 weeks.
The one that flexed her abs in a mirror selfie @3 weeks post partum.
The one testing out that new extreme diet fad to lose 20 pounds in 20 days.
More power to those mamas. They’ve set their minds on achieving a goal and that’s admirable for any person – especially a mother. Everybody is different and every body is different. I consider myself a MILF: Mom in love with fitness! But I’ll never be “that” mom and this is why.
1. I refuse to buy into arbitrary beauty standards
Over time what has been considered good looking has changed. Whether you look like a renaissance frieze or a flapper, Marilyn or Twiggy, Ashley Graham, or Kate Moss or Beyonce or whom ever. At some point in time it was considered ideal. In order to procreate you had to have a certain amount of body fat. You were also able to produce more in the areas needed to sustain that life until birth and maybe beyond. If you’re healthy (without disease and disorder) you’re just fine the way you are. And if the magazines disagree, just wait a few years. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to return to your previous level of strength or endurance or losing those extra inches of padding where you made room for baby. But do it because you want to fit into your favorite dress not to fit into a cookie cutter shape.
2. I’m nursing
I gained more weight in my daughters first 2 months after birth than the entire 9 months of pregnancy. Breastfeeding is a physically exhausting calorie burning hunger inducing hormonal ordeal. It is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’m ok with the changes in my body because I know they were necessary to feed my baby the best way I can. I realize that not everyone is successful in their breastfeeding journey so I am grateful that I am able to use my body in this way. The Americans Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends breasts feeding mamas take in an additional 200- 500 calories a day for milk production. I dunno about you but I fully enjoy every last one- including the veggies!
3. I’m different
I realize and have come to terms with the fact that my body has been irrevocably changed. Did you know that breasts aren’t even technically mature until they produce milk? My organs have been jumbled and my skin has been stretched and cut and sewn back together. In exchange for my old body I have a new one plus the most beautiful little person as a bonus. I’m embracing my new body and loving it by taking care of it with regular exercise and yummy food that’s good for me and my nursing.
4. It took a while
All those changes didn’t happen overnight. I know it will take time to lose most of what I’ve gained, even after I stop breast feeding. While nursing, weight loss of more than 1.5 lbs per week is not recommended. I will get my body back, over time and through this fit mom lifestyle. I’m patient and realistic.
5. It is amazing
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the creation that is the female form! Becoming certified in pre and post natal fitness has given me such an interesting view into the physiology of our mom bods. There is rarely a day that I am not in slack jawed awe of the miracle of breast milk production. Have you seen the intricacies of placenta? As women our bodies are a work of art and the rawness and roughness that comes from our work as mothers need not be covered or hidden but celebrated as a complement to the wonder that we are!
Maya Angelou said it best
It’s in the arch of my back
The sun in my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style
I am a woman
Phenomenal woman that’s me
So as a fit mom I love my body because it deserves to be loved. I don’t punish myself with deprivation and extreme diets. I exercise for cardiovascular health, strength, and because it’s another fun thing to do with my daughter and our friends. I eat for fuel and for the enjoyment of a good meal. I’m not “that” fit mom. I’m this fit mom.