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Body After Baby

Body After Baby

I think it’s pretty well documented that there’s an expectation for new mothers to lose baby weight and get their “body back” in no time. Society piles a lot of praise onto celebrities and socialites who seem to snap back to their pre-baby size overnight (and, really, good on them), but for most women who have to work and take care of a family without the benefit of a personal trainer or nutritionist, it’s just unrealistic.

I can only speak as a celebrity, but I get asked about when I’m hoping to get back in shape – got to be ready to fit into those Dancing With the Stars costumes, right?

As a lifelong dancer, I’ve always been active and health-conscious. I love the feeling of dripping with sweat from a session on the treadmill or the burn that comes after a dance rehearsal. (I guess I’m crazy like that.) So it was important for me to eat well and work out as much as I was able while pregnant with Shai.

Doctors told me that, ideally, I’d gain 25-30 lbs.; I figured, “I’m an athlete. No problem,” right? I ended up gaining nearly 40 lbs. And when I did finally give birth, I walked out of hospital looking 5 months pregnant still!

But you know what? It’s totally worth it. Sure, that may seem like a lot of weight to gain, but it’s exactly what Shai needed to be born healthy and fully developed.

Look, I’m all for losing the baby weight after giving birth, but I really do feel that everyone’s journey is different and no woman should be pressured to stick to a timeline for her body. That’s why I don’t really have a set time for when I want to get down to my pre-baby size.

Instead, I’m just listening to my body. It still feels like my organs are all jumbled up and in the wrong place, which makes lifting weights out of the question. So I’m concentrating on eating whatever will make the thickest, creamiest milk for Shai and, as far as exercise goes, just doing what I can when I can (though I’ll admit that by day 8 I just had to move, so Maks and I snuck down to the basement to try out some Rumba exercises). Would I love to have my flat tummy back by the time Dancing With the Stars premieres? Of course! But for now, I’d be happy to get to, I don’t know, a 4-pack if that means I get to spend more time with Shai in my arms.

I guess what I’m saying is this: I’m a professional athlete with years of nutrition and fitness experience. Even with that background, I know that losing all of the weight I gained during pregnancy will take time and hard work. My boobs won’t ever be the same. My body may not ever be the same. But to be able to hold Shai and snuggle him and watch him grow? That’s worth every pound and every stretch mark.

If you are determined to lose that baby weight, the important thing to do is check with your doctor to make sure you’re not doing anything too strenuous or damaging. Beyond that, listen to your body, set realistic goals and remember to love yourself even when there are setbacks.

So all you happy, healthy mums out there – whether you took three months or three years to lose your baby weight, or even if you never do – you just made, grew and nourished a life with that body. Not your partner. Not your doctor. Not the person on the cover of a magazine. And that’s pretty incredible, if you ask me.

Photo Credit: Shane Russeck

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  1. OMG are you kidding me?! YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!!!!! Do what makes you feel better about yourself, but know the rest of us think you look STUNNING!

    Posted by: Liz on March 28, 2017 at 8:50 am
  2. PETA I am so excited to read all your post baby posts. Thank you. Your fresh perspective as necessary and so refreshing. You are so on point. Keep listening to your heart

    Posted by: Perla Rosenberg on March 28, 2017 at 3:06 am
  3. Peta your article made me feel so much better! I just had a baby and my body pre baby was a size 2. You are right about all the pressure you get to get your pre baby body back. Thank you for making me feel better about myself, it is nice to realize there is a celebrity who is going through the same things I am!

    Posted by: Nicole Lavelle on March 27, 2017 at 10:51 pm
  4. I love your post! More mom’s like you need to talk about their post baby journey so we all know that it is okay when the weight doesn’t fall off right away and the skin does sag for a long time but, eventually we come out okay with our bodies physically showing marks of love from our child. This is a beautiful post and I have to echo what other people said. You have always been beautiful but when I was watching you dance last week I just kept thinking that your body looks the most beautiful and sexy in this season of your life then you have in all of the moments we have seen you dance before. Keep embracing the beauty your little boy has brought to your body.

    Posted by: Kristin on March 27, 2017 at 2:12 pm
  5. I think you look more beautiful, healthier than even before your baby! You look amazing

    Posted by: Jennifer on March 27, 2017 at 12:49 pm
  6. Love this read. thank you for the realistic encouragement. I have a 6 week old and definitely needed to read this. Thank you!

    Posted by: Jen on March 26, 2017 at 10:00 am
  7. My body never wanted to “get back to normal” until after I stopped breast feeding. Then it did. Take care of you and be patient with yourself. I have 5 kids and I feel pretty good about how fit I am right now. And I always but my babies first.

    Posted by: Janice Armstrong on March 23, 2017 at 9:01 am
  8. Thank you so much for using your platform to share an honest and realistic look at an active post-birth lifestyle. It’s a much needed perspective!

    Posted by: Nicole on March 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm
  9. Thank you for your honest take on being a mum and losing the weight. Celebrities make it look easy. I’m happy you are showing you are only human and it is ok to take your time and enjoy your baby.

    Posted by: Alissa on March 22, 2017 at 8:38 am
  10. Nice read Peta! You look more beautiful than ever!

    Posted by: Sheryl on March 21, 2017 at 7:23 pm