Once we’re no longer children, we generally look about the same from month to month, throughout out life. Sure, we might fluctuate sizes a bit here and there, over a period of years. But when you’re pregnant? You get to experience all of the most dramatic transformations that can happen to a person’s body in a scant nine months.
Sure, once we get to that second trimester, we might start to feel pretty okay about that dewy glow, firm skin, lush hair, and blooming baby bump. But when we go home from the hospital just 9 pounds lighter, still toting a six-months-pregnant-looking bump, where does that put us in the battle against detrimental body stereotypes glorified by the media – as well as the culture at large?
Everywhere you look on social media these days, you can see beautiful graphics, quotes, and blog posts celebrating body positivity, self love, and self acceptance. Now those are awesome, and important messages for us to absorb and pass on to our children. But on the flip side, it’s no longer “PC” to express dissatisfaction with the way we feel about our bodies. We’re told to shut up and think about the amazing thing our bodies just did for us. Of course we should think about that, but those ultra-positivity bloggers are missing an important piece: grief.
That’s right, there may be a legitimate need for a period of mourning for your former identity. That person is gone, and in her place is a completely new person who now sustains the life of an infant. Isn’t denying that reality and stopping the conversation about it just another form of mom-shaming? Nine months isn’t a very long time to undergo total body transformation, and it should be okay to talk about it.
Most women gain anywhere from 25 to 45 pounds during pregnancy, though some may gain more or less. If you’re underweight or carrying more than one baby, this number should be even higher! This is a big change to the way we both look and feel. One thing that makes many parents feel more positive and accepting of pregnancy weight gain is to learn more about why that weight is there, and how it is distributed for the purposes of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
So if the average expectant parent gains 30 pounds during pregnancy, here’s what those pounds are doing for you and your baby:
Up to 3 lbs: increased breast size to produce milk
Up to 2 pounds: increased uterus size
Up to 1.5 pounds: your placenta
Up to 2 pounds: your amniotic fluid
Up to 4 pounds: higher blood volume during pregnancy
Up to 3 pounds: higher fluid volume during pregnancy
Up to 8 pounds: fat stores for milk production
Approximately 7-9 pounds: BABY!
So our message is this: It’s ok that you haven’t bounced right back. Your body just did something amazing. Give it time and love on that little one for now.