The Toxic Myth of “Getting Your Body Back”

You know what I wish? I wish that postpartum parents and the people who love them would abandon the notion of “getting your pre-pregnancy body back.” Just forget about it! Not because postpartum parents can’t be fit, strong, healthy, beautiful, and sexy. Rather, because the idea of going back to before your experience of birth is ludicrous. It’s laughable! It’s also low-key insulting. Every birth is transformative, and we deserve to acknowledge those experiences, honor them, and move FORWARD, not back, as stronger and more complex human beings.

The very notion of moving backwards through one’s life experiences is nonsensical, if you think about it. We don’t put pressure on ourselves to get our bodies back to the way they were before we started having periods, before we grew hair on our legs, or before we needed deodorant. These are all natural body processes, just like giving birth. Furthermore, we don’t ever hear folks yearning for their “pre-marathon body,” or their “pre-PhD” body, both of which are enormous personal accomplishments. . . just like giving birth.

Birth givers, you don’t deserve to go back to the way things were before. You deserve more than that. You deserve all the love and respect that you’ve ever had for your body, plus MORE. You deserve honor for what you’ve achieved and acknowledgement of your accomplishment. You deserve to feel strong, sexy, beautiful, and empowered. You don’t deserve to go back. . . you deserve to go FORWARD.

I get that these words might bounce right off a dead-set intention of weighing a certain number of pounds, or occupying a certain volume of space, or having your body parts be a certain density. I get how our self-worth can be caught up in those numbers and I’m not saying to just turn off your desire to look or feel differently. What I’m saying is to work towards those goals for the new you, the one who has given birth and discovered a strength you never knew existed. Stop comparing yourself to who you were before going through something this profound. You don’t need to wear that person’s jeans. You deserve your own jeans. Work for the new you. Keep moving forward.

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