19 Nov What Six-Pack?
By: Stefanie Castro, RN, BSN
I was recently scrolling through Facebook, when my thumb stopped on a headline from People. The cover featured Khloe Kardashian on her birthday; emphasizing that she was finally back to her pre-baby body. I stopped there; partly in awe that someone could have a six-pack shortly after giving birth, but also in horror that this is what many in society expect from women after childbirth. How is this acceptable? Since when was that the priority after having a child? And why? I felt angry, disappointed and for a second I questioned my own body all based on this dumb cover.
When I was pregnant with my babies, I did this crazy thing. Now I want everyone to finish taking that sip of coffee, because I don’t want you to spit it out when reading this next line. I ATE WHEN I WAS PREGNANT! Yes, I know. And no, I didn’t just gain a cute 10 pounds. I am a woman who spit fire and pointed lasers from my eyes if someone tried to remove food from me. My husband once suggested I eat vegetables instead of the chips I was demolishing. The poor man never saw my reaction coming. I went bat-sh*t and threatened to let him sleep outside if he ever uttered such craziness around me again. To his credit, he was simply taking a suggestion from a parenting book. That was the last piece of advice he took from that book.
So it should come as no surprise that I was not a size 2 following the birth of my children. Nor am I that size today! I work out daily and still struggle to meet my fitness goals. I remember wearing a size 4 in my younger years and thinking, “Why don’t I fit in a 2?” Ugh, if I could go back and slap that conceded B, I would! Today, to get into a pair of jeans, I’m jumping up and down, sometimes yelling terrible things into the universe, definitely breaking a sweat just to get those damn things on! And then when I finally get my gapless thighs into those proclaimed skinny jeans, I have the battle of buttoning them. Oh what a battle! No wonder my yoga pants scream my name 99% of the time. I’ve even gone so far as the jegging just to feel better. So to say I miss my pre-baby body is an understatement. But the reality is, I had children. I love my children. Do I love my body just as much? Not every day! And now I wonder, why don’t I love the body I have today? Maybe it’s due to headlines like these, where it’s almost designed to make you feel bad about not bouncing back into shape as quick as some.
I battle between my love of food and my love for my waistline. And let me tell you, lately, food is winning. And yes, there are going to be those people who chime in and say, “Oh, but isn’t it all worth it? You got your beautiful children.” Yes, yes, of course it is but there’s still a part of me that would love to hold my kid in one arm and sport that sexy-ass bikini without even batting an eye, or the extra rolls! Yes, I said it! I want my cake and I want to eat it too, damn it! And it doesn’t help that every celebrity that has a kid seems to bounce-back quicker than I can put my pants on! It’s frustrating. Much like my teenage years where I’d have to look away from the ads in magazines that use their witchery of airbrushing, I find myself doing the same with mom celebrities. And with social media, it’s constantly in my face. Unlike celebrities, I don’t have nannies and personal chefs 24/7, nor do I have a personal trainer yelling at me to finish my 100 burpies before I can have a sip of water! No, I have kids yelling at me to feed them, a house to maintain, a business to run, and the list goes on. I guess I could add a few pushups in-between to keep my heart rate up—not!
Adulting, although not a true word, is a term I constantly use. It’s hard and definitely an eye-opener to how simple things once were. My body has changed in so many ways. I’ve gotten older, grown life, given birth to 2 humans, had 9 surgeries (none of which included me coming out with a larger bra size or a tummy tuck)—all ways that my body has gone through tremendous alterations. The fact that I don’t look the same as I did when I was in college is inevitable. I do wish the pressure to lose weight and get back to that pre-baby figure was not something we emphasized, because I know a lot of moms out there would appreciate it. Motherhood is hard enough already, let alone finding that extra time to go to the gym. Speaking to all mothers out there: don’t look at the magazines. Try not to compare yourself to those celebrities or even other mothers that may be losing the weight differently than you. I’m the first to say it takes a lot of work (and sometimes genetics) on top of the already demanding job of parenting. And when we start to compare ourselves to others (I’m guilty of this on a daily basis), we start to give less value to ourselves and the lives we lead. If getting fit is a desire you have, because you want to take better care of yourself, by all means, find a way to add that into your life. But if you’re trying to keep up with another mom you know or that new celebrity mom you look up to, please look further than how they wear their clothes. There’s so much more to parenting, to life in general, than making sure we can keep up with others around us.
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