What Women's Post-Baby Bodies Really Look Like

Stefanie Wilder Taylor's post-baby bodyStefanie Wilder Taylor's post-baby bodyNow that Jessica Simpson's had her baby, it seems the race is on for her take off the weight. I personally loved that she seemed to have a devil's-food-cake-may-care attitude about her weight gain and seemed to be giving the media the middle finger for daring to report constantly on her expanding belly. But I guess it's because she had a multimillion dollar deal with Weight Watchers to cushion the sting. The rest of us are not so lucky.

We real women have to deal with constant headlines featuring celebrities who are celebrated for losing weight quickly -- and might I add, completely unrealistically. Headlines from People magazine read: "Model Alessandra Ambrosio Drops 45 Lbs. of Baby Weight in Three Months to (Nearly!) Bare All" or "How Victoria's Secret Model Heidi Klum Got Runway Ready in Two Months." More recently, we've been treated to "hot mama" pics of Jennifer Garner, Candice Crawford (Tony Romo's wife), Hilary Duff, and the no longer babyweightalicious Beyonce.

Don't people realize that new moms have better things to worry about in the weeks after giving birth than the state of their abs? How about keeping the baby alive, figuring out how to breastfeed, or sleeping more than five minutes in a seemingly endless 24-hour period? Real, non-celebrity moms don't get to sleep, let alone exercise! But it doesn't stop the media from making us feel like we are less than if we're not on a fast train back to sexyland.

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It's tough, unrealistic, and downright unhealthy to try to drop pounds quickly after birth. Your body needs calories to breastfeed, you need carbs to provide serotonin to combat the drop in hormones (I sort of made that up because I'm not a medical doctor "per se," but it makes sense, right?). Add that to the fact that most women don't have personal trainers or nannies to nurture our babies while we tackle the elliptical machine. There's no reasons to be so hard on ourselves. In fact, it's time to set the record straight. Here's what 7 real women look like after giving birth. I think they look damn good.

Carissa, 1 Week Postpartum Carissa, 1 Week Postpartum 1. Carissa, 1 Week Postpartum
"This is me one week after naturally delivering a 9lb, 11oz baby. I took this picture because I was in awe of what my body was capable of, and I wanted to have a reminder of everything I was feeling, the physical changes I was going through, the whole experience in general."

Desiree, 5 Weeks Postpartum Desiree, 5 Weeks Postpartum 2. Desiree, 5 Weeks Postpartum
"Here I am five weeks after baby #2. My son is my personal trainer, so suck it, Beyonce!

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Kelly, 2 Months Postpartum Kelly, 2 Months Postpartum 3. Kelly, 2 Months Postpartum
"Clothes hanging over the couch, sweatpants on, diapers and burp rag handy, and my nice stretch mark roll hanging out. These were the happiest days of my life."

Pauline, 5 Months Postpartum Pauline, 5 Months Postpartum 4. Pauline, 5 Months Postpartum
"Hollywood can kiss my cellulite."

Jen, 6 Months Postpartum Jen, 6 Months Postpartum 5. Jen, 6 Months Postpartum
"I have to say that pregnancy and breast-feeding were probably the greatest things that ever happened to me in terms of body-image acceptance and treating myself kindly regarding food and weight. Pregnancy helped me view my body as a vessel for this baby, not some shallow quest for perfection."

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Marta, 1 Year Postpartum Marta, 1 Year Postpartum 6. Marta, 1 Year Postpartum
"I also wore this dress when I was pregnant. I may, in fact, often wear things that I wore when I was pregnant..."

Jessica, 3 Years Postpartum Jessica, 3 Years Postpartum 7. Jessica, 3 Years Postpartum
"Three years later I still get 'So when are you due?' Rather than get depressed, I respond, 'Oh no, I'm just still fat from the first one.' It tends to end that conversation."

- By Stefanie Wilder Taylor

For 13 more real post-baby bodies, visit Babble!

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Stefanie Wilder-Taylor has written humorous memoirs about motherhood, including discussing her usual glass or two of wine to "take the edge off." But when she realized that the habit was more similar to a drinking problem, she shared her struggles with the blogosphere and found herself rallied by supportive readers.