Few weeks after having my first set of twins and we were finally home, people started to ask me what I did to lose weight, and in the same breath asked if I was eating well, “Shei you know you are breastfeeding twins oh.”
Some would zoom in on my relatively flat tummy and ask me how I had managed to get that. I always told them about the hot water pounding I got every morning for several weeks after I gave birth. I wince at the memory of that routine and actually dreaded it, but the truth was, it helped to relieve the pain in my aching body and engorged breasts. Let’s just say it was my own personal spa and massage session.
By the time my kids were six months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and still losing weight. I was so thin that it worried my mom, and it set tongues wagging about how my hubby was not taking care of me. It was that bad. This was same me, that now had a very large appetite, all thanks to 33 weeks of eating recklessness while pregnant and weeks of marathon breastfeeding.
It got to a stage where I have mastered the mantra, “It’s too much stress that’s making me thin oh”, and that is the only explanation I have for having gone below my pre-pregnancy weight and ideal BMI but I have stopped sweating it and started wearing clothes that do not show off the “sunken wells” (that what my mom calls them, ) of my neck. I can’t be answering too many questions jare after how many years. That’s just me.
Another mom, Temmy, whose last child is almost six years old, was recently “accused” of starving herself to lose the baby weight. Oh no, it was not a case of, “So, what did you do to lose the baby weight, because you weren’t like this a few years back.” It was something along the lines of, “So, how did you lose your baby weight? Did you starve yourself or what?”
Hmm! Temmy’s blood had boiled at that and this was from a mom she doesn’t know that well, but family nonetheless, only for her to be accused of starving herself to lose the baby fat. What this family member and fellow mom does not know was the battle to get to a size 12 had been on for five whole years and still counting. That statement pulled her back into the past, when she used to be overweight.
What that mom doesn’t know is the daily struggle to maintain that size 12, from meal prep to detoxing on a regular basis, to having to get her whole family involved in her healthy eating journey, just so she could maintain it.
That woman’s question didn’t feel like a question at all. For Temmy, it had felt like an accusation. She felt the other woman was telling her how unhealthy she looked (welcome to the club, Temmy), and that the only way she would have been capable of losing the weight was to go to great lengths, because there is no other way to do it.
Clearly, for that particular woman, if you worked hard to lose the weight or if you lost it because you enjoyed exercise and clean eating, you were unhealthy. Being chubby was healthy to her.
Ironically, this same woman previously had complained, alongside several other people and family members, that Temmy’s weight was getting out of hand. So, you can imagine her stress when she came at her for losing that same weight she had in the past complained about. Besides, what is her business sef with Temmy’s dress size?
On the other end of the baby weight spectrum is my very own cousin, Modupe, who was on the big side, even before she got pregnant. Her last child is already three years old and she is still struggling with weight gained from the combination of the effect of her two pregnancies.
Every single time we meet, we always end up talking about weight, albeit from different perspectives; she wants to lose weight, and I want to gain weight. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a way to make that swap possible and may never.
Even more recently, Nicole and one of our new moms in the community were discussing this weight business and how to lose it. Nicole had said she was still struggling to lose hers, five years after. So the mom, whose baby is less than a year, should take a chill pill and get on with life. The weight might drop or it might not, the important thing is to be healthy, whatever the scale says.
As women, our bodies go through so much, yet we put our minds through more by overthinking and creating bigger problems. With this attitude, we cannot win. If we lose the baby weight (how dare we lose it!), we are criticized for being unhealthy, starving ourselves, or having too much time on our hands to work on our weight.
If we don’t lose it, something must be wrong with us. We get beaten up for that too, we even beat ourselves up for it. We are made to feel lazy and unmotivated. We tear ourselves down every single day. And the sad place it has taken some of us is a place where we equate losing baby weight to our self-worth. It’s quite sad.
It’s just the way I feel right now, that spending even one minute thinking there’s something wrong with me because of some extra pounds of flesh I don’t have is just a waste of my time. And if you are on the other end of the weight spectrum, its pure waste of time to be worrying about the extra weight too. Like I said earlier, being healthy is more important.
For a moment, just think of all the things we could be conquering with the time we spend beating ourselves up over how we look?
Food for thought!
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