10 Reasons I'm Not Killing Myself to Lose the Baby Weight

US WeeklyUS WeeklyThis is not one of those beautiful, poetic odes to the female body and all its child-rearing powers. Yes, pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding (if you choose to do it, which I didn’t — here’s why) are amazing but I do not glance at my stretchmarks and think of my sweet children, I think damn, I’ll never wear a bikini again. I do not grab my muffin top and remember how that muffin top housed my sweet baby girl for nine months, I think, wow, I’d rather not have this gut (I can only imagine what Jay Mohr would say if I forgot to wear spanx!). My body changed and I plan to have it change back. But I’m not sweating it. I had a baby, my third, seven weeks ago. I am squishy and chunky and still have 15 pounds to lose (I gained 35). This is normal. And yet the pressure to lose seems to be on from the moment we give birth. I can’t walk past a newsstand or open my homepage or scroll through my newsfeed without someone telling me how to drop the baby weight--fast! Google “celebs, baby weight” and 34,000,000 results come up. That’s a bit much, no? Sure, I want my “body back” as the Us Weekly coverlines put it, but I refuse to obsess about it. Here’s why:

  1. Because I’m not a celebrity. I have always maintained that it would kind of suck to be a celebrity and I double that sentiment for celebs who’ve given birth. Every other week some A-lister (or D-lister we revere like an A-lister) is on a cover flaunting “How I got my body back.” Bethanny Frankel was in a bikini on Us Weekly three weeks after giving birth! That particular celeb bar is set so damn high. God forbid a mom is caught by the paparazzi--or Jay Mohr--before she has her body back (check out Alyssa Milano’s awesome response to his fat shaming). It’s no wonder most of these stars drop the weight so quickly. As far as I know no one is snapping unflattering pics of me walking into the dry cleaner so I’m safe. For now.
  2. Because I have nine months of teetotaling to make up for and, well, a glass of wine has a few more calories than a glass of seltzer. It tastes better, too. 
  3. Because I know I will. I’ve done it twice before and I’ll do it again. With my first, it took a full year before I was back to my fighting weight and my clothes fit right again (the former does not always mean the latter). With my second it took six months. I plan to be rocking my full pre-pregnancy wardrobe by spring. Ish.
  4. Because leggings are really forgiving. Dangerously so. My regular thin-me clothes are all pretty tight, which means if I gain a few pounds I feel uncomfortable (i.e. I notice and I right the ship). But leggings and an oversized sweater hide a lot and they happen to be the perfect winter wardrobe. Full disclosure: I did get back into my favorite skinny jeans (red, slightly stretchy low-rise Citizens of Humanity) for a New Year’s Eve party. Well, most of me got in. A good chunk of me was hanging over the sides hidden under a blousy black top. I may still have marks from where the fabric dug into me. (It wasn’t that I was trying to prove anything by squeezing myself into them, it’s quite literally that I had nothing else that fit and my husband wouldn’t let me wear yoga pants — I tried).
  5. Because I have nothing on my calendar. No weddings, no potential run-ins with exes, no tropical vacations. I don’t even have an office to go back to after maternity leave. Nor do I have a maternity leave (I work from home as a magazine writer and blogger which is another reason all those leggings are totally acceptable). Oh, and it’s winter and currently in the single digits in New York so everyone is rocking the fully-covered, layered look. 
  6. Because it’s my third kid so I’m just more laid back about everything. When the baby’s pacifier drops on the floor I don’t sterilize it (or, um, wash it), when my older two ask to watch TV in the morning, I let them and when I want a flat everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, I eat it. Not much overthinking going on here these days. 
  7. Because it’s my third kid, which means I have three kids now and one of them is a newborn and there just isn’t as much time to work out/be mindful of what I put in my mouth. I am often eating dinner one handed (left handed) while holding the baby. You would think this would be a diet in itself but I like food way too much to let a little handicap like that get in my way. Sure, I could jump on the treadmill after my kids go to bed or before they wake up but I’d rather be sleeping. I’m trying not to set expectations too high for anything this go around, including my body. 
  8. Because no one has asked me when I’m due. I was asked this after each of my other kids and it’s devastating. And motivating. Full disclosure: my belly took longer to subside post-partum (breastfeeding would have helped with this but I wasn’t able to do it) so for a week or two my kids liked to ask me if there was another baby in there and when he or she was coming home. I do not count this.
  9. Because I happened to give birth right before the six-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas when everyone in the world packs on the pounds. The deck was clearly stacked against me and any traction I had toward my pre-preg weight was gobbled up with the turkey and gravy (damn you, Ina Garten!) and bacon-wrapped dates and egg casseroles and cookies (so many cookies!) and washed down with eggnog and mimosas. So I’m kind of back to square one. Or maybe square two. And man was it worth it.
  10. Because, like everything in parenting, it is not a competition. Sometimes I have to remind myself this but it is worth remembering. I have friends who’ve posted their post-partum “back in my skinny jeans” shots before their babies belly buttons have fallen off and I’m not mad at them. Good for them! Everyone is different. Every body is different. I have another friend who looked like Jenna Dewan Tatum’s cover pic before leaving the damn hospital. Then there’s that mom who got kicked off of Facebook for flaunting her mom bod and taunting others. And this woman. But here's the thing: That stuff only gets in your head if you let it. And I don’t. (PS, the fact that I have never in my life had ab muscles to speak of takes a lot of this post-pregnancy pressure off!)

Bottom line: Because once I do, I know I’ll never go back. Before I got pregnant with my third and final child, I spent about three years at a weight that made me feel really good about myself but did not require being hungry or deprived--ever. I eat mostly good, healthy foods (i.e. lots of veggies and fish) because I prefer them but I also eat movie popcorn and spaghetti carbonnara because I like them. I exercise as much as I can (mostly walking and the occasional sit-up) and take good care of myself and am generally happy with what I see in the mirror. I will get back to that place and I am on my way there but I am not rushing it. Fortunately I learned long ago that life is way too short. No one is holding me to some ridiculously unattainable ideal, so I’ll be damned if I hold myself to one. Don’t tell Jay Mohr.

So, how did you approach the post-baby weight loss journey? Do you feel pressured by society's obsession with it? Let’s discuss!