Family life

Can we please stop talking about baby weight?

"What bothers me more than the junk in my trunk is the obsession we have with women in their postpartum state."

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

In three weeks, the tiniest member of my household turns one. Juliette Evangeline, the smiliest baby with the worst temper, granted us with her presence 11 days early last August. Now she’s cruising the furniture, eating us out of house and home and still refusing to sleep through the night. She is a joyful little soul who brings light to our days, even though she has learned to open the dishwasher and upends my laundry baskets at every turn.

When Sophie, now three (and three-quarters, she would tell you), was one, I was back down to my fighting weight. This time around, I still have more than 15 pounds to go. I could list all the reasons why this is the case, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. And frankly, for me, it just comes down to time. I don’t make the time. I haven’t figured out how to keep all the balls in the air and get my ass to the gym or out for a run. Maybe that makes me a bad role model for my kids, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out in the coming months, but for now, it’s less of a priority than figuring out our new routines and evolving with our ever-changing girls. I do watch what I eat and I do walk whenever I can, but I know it will take a more hardcore approach to be back in all of my pre-pregnancy clothes.

But what bothers me more than the junk in my trunk is the obsession we have with women in their postpartum state. You see it on every gossip rag out there—“A six pack and a six-week-old!”or “[Insert celebrity name] on how she lost the baby weight.” Do people know that when you were pregnant, you were growing a HUMAN?! Shouldn’t that be more front-of-mind? Or how about the fact that Lady Land ends up in shambles a lot of the time?

I wish someone would write, “Wow, she’s out for a walk with a three-day-old, and she didn’t even have to sit down halfway!” When Juliette was six weeks old, I was just barely healed. For me, a good day was washing my hair and getting her to sleep in her crib for longer than 20 minutes at a time. If Blaine and Sophie came home to a clean(ish) kitchen and dinner started, it felt like it took a Herculean effort. (I’m lucky to live in Canada, where we can take time to get to know our new babes and our new bodies—I don’t envy our friends south of the border who don’t get the same kind of mat leave we do.)

Even now, a year in, people will say “Wow, you look great!” and I know it’s not really true. I look great in comparison to what I looked like seven months ago, maybe, but I don’t look like me yet. I love the compliments, of course—I’m working at just saying thank you, rather than saying something sarcastic and self-deprecating—but I almost wish the compliment could be something like, “You really seem to be figuring things out!” That would be equivalent to calling me Superwoman. Having someone acknowledge that parenting is hard, and that it takes some time to find your sea legs, would go so much farther for me than someone telling me I look like I have it together from my BMI and my outfit. In fact, I’m going to start doing that for other women right now. I’m going to start saying, “You’re doing an amazing job.” And for brand new mamas? “I can’t believe you took a shower and you don’t have any spit up on your shirt. You’re incredible.” If that’s not tabloid-worthy, I don’t know what is.

Walmart Live Better editor-in-chief Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization—a lot. Now imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie, Juliette and her husband, Blaine. Read all of Katie’s Type A Baby posts and follow her on Twitter @katie_dupuis.

Read more:
A love letter to my postpartum body>