Being pregnant

Post-baby body: Why am I so worried?

Monica Reyes worries about having body image issues after pregnancy.

PostPregnancyBody-October2013-iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Monica Reyes resides in Vancouver with her husband and neurotic dog. She’s also a soon-to-be first-time mom who is excited and terrified about her new life. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

I’ve never given much thought about my looks. I’m not into makeup and I’ve never owned a bathroom scale. I always figured that, after I have my baby, I wouldn’t worry about fitting into my regular clothes because it seemed highly unlikely I would ever be that shape again. Maybe because my due date is creeping up — or the fact that I just found a stretch mark — but I’ve been thinking more about how my body will look post-baby.

Read more: The truth about stretch marks >

Women’s bodies are being scrutinized now more than ever. It’s not just the media who pick apart celebrities, everyone has an opinion on them and the Internet makes it easy to broadcast what people think. When you’re not pregnant, you can be too thin or too fat. When you are pregnant, you can be too thin or too fat. Once you have your baby, you must be slim and stunning. OK! Magazine criticized Kate Middleton’s body as soon she stepped out of the hospital. We’ve stopped recognizing what normal bodies look like because of all the attention we put on “ideal” body types.

This photo has been making the rounds on the Internet. It’s a photo of an extremely fit mom with killer abs and her three children around her. Above her, it says “What’s Your Excuse?” The comments have been divided into two camps: people cheering her on and people thinking she’s setting moms up with unrealistic expectations.

I live in Vancouver and it’s an active city. You can do everything here from snowboarding, hiking up mountains or running along the seawall. Being here, I see fit moms everywhere. It’s not unusual to see them doing the Grouse Grind with a baby on their back. I’ll admit that I’ve felt the pressure to get into shape after the baby is born because of these moms.

I have no idea what my body will look like after pregnancy. I still have seven more weeks to go and by then my abdomen could be covered in stretch marks. I may never lose the baby weight. Or maybe I’ll be left with loose stomach skin that never goes away. I want to be able to feel good in my own skin and just rock whatever I have. The feminist in me is disappointed because I’m realizing that I’m not as comfortable as I’d like to be in accepting my post-baby body the way it is.

I’m hoping that when the time comes, I’m able to let go of these body image hang-ups I’m having. I want to be able to enjoy the time with my baby without worrying about a workout or diet plan so I can look the same as I did pre-pregnancy.

How did you deal with your post-baby body? 

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