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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. Absolutely spot on!! Everyone is different as you said. No one should be your judge either! Life is what it is, whether you are in the spotlight or not. Just keep doing as you have been doing….and love on those men in your life…big and little. Blessings for happiness and health to you all!! (Very mature and good advice by the way!!).

    Posted by: SANDY THOMPSON on March 20, 2017 at 11:54 am
  2. Excellent​ advice. Enjoy every minute with that little guy!

    Posted by: Joanne Luyke on March 20, 2017 at 11:34 am
  3. I had twins in April of 2014 and I gained about 40lbs. And a gigantic belly! They were born via C-section because of labor complications and now that I’m almost 3 years post part-um I’ve lost the 40lbs but because of the surgery I have this little pouch on my tummy that I can’t get to go away completely no matter how many sit ups I do. Peta, I follow you and your amazing family because even though you are a celebrity I can relate to you in many ways. I thank you for this reminder. My babies were born perfect and healthy at 39 weeks,(which is great for twins!)and that makes this little pouch 100% worth it!

    Posted by: Jessica on March 20, 2017 at 11:25 am
  4. I am amazed that you are returning to DWTS after two months of giving birth! You look fantastic and I see photos of you working out! Tough stuff! Some women never lose their pregnancy belly. Good job! So happy for you & Maks!

    Posted by: Peggy Avila on March 20, 2017 at 11:09 am
  5. Well said Peta. I first gave birth 15 years ago and I still don’t have that pre-baby body back and perhaps I never will. You know what? It hasn’t stopped me living my life and enjoying dance. I discovered dance after the birth of my second child when I was 28. It’s joyful whatever your size. Watching amazing dancers like yourself just inspire me to do more. Also, as a trainee midwife I really appreciate you promoting baby-led practices – especially breastfeeding. Be proud your a wonderful mamma and an inspiration to many ❤

    Posted by: Leigh on March 20, 2017 at 10:53 am
  6. I had a woman once tell me that since she didn’t put the weight on in a month or two she was expecting it to come off in a month or two! I am four months out from my 4th pregnancy! I went into the pregnancy lighter and stronger than I had been for any of my others. I am about 6 lbs away from prepregnancy weight but like you Peta I am more concerned about good creamy milk for my little one and spending time holding her and snuggling her! They are only little for a little while! Thank you for your realistic view! ❤️

    Posted by: Alisha on March 20, 2017 at 10:24 am
  7. This is an excellent blog, thank you so much for writing it!

    Posted by: Priscilla on March 20, 2017 at 10:22 am
  8. Very well said!! Before I had my daughter my weight was 115, I gained 20 lbs during pregnancy, but I didn’t care because all I wanted was to have a healthy baby. After I had her, it took me about a year or so to atleasts be 120, lol. But, I did have people ask me about when will I be going back to my 115 weight. It upset me at first, but I learned to brush dose comments away. I am happy with weight, but most of all I am happy my to have my daughter.

    Posted by: Mariana Vazquez on March 20, 2017 at 10:21 am
  9. It is wonderful hearing such a realistic way of looking at having a baby. It takes time to get your pre-pregnancy body back. But it is possible and seeing someone such as yourself do it shows us it is possible with hard work.

    Posted by: Cathy on March 20, 2017 at 10:14 am
  10. Peta,
    You’re amazing. Beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing you journey and your beautiful family pictures with us.

    Posted by: Lauren on March 20, 2017 at 10:00 am