New moms face a lot of pressure. They’re encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for six months, feel pressured to return to to physical and sexual activity after six weeks, and many return to work in 60 days (or less, because maternal care in America sucks). They are also expected to thin down, tone up and “bounce back” immediately. And while there is so much wrong with this mentality — so, so much — Katrina Scott wants new moms to know their postpartum body is beautiful, no matter what.
The BlogHer alum and co-creator of Tone It Up recently shared two postpartum pictures on Instagram in the hopes of breaking down this BS belief.
“Instead of posting a pic at 9 months pregnant, I chose a pic at 3 months postpartum because 3 months is where everyone kept telling me I’d be ‘back’ to where I was. I’d have the fitness SnapBack [but] that wasn’t my journey,” Scott wrote. “I was not disappointed… nor was I sad that I didn’t live up to the expectation a lot of people had on me. In fact, I was the opposite — I was happy, proud & body positive. And my mind was healthy… I mean, I made it through the 4th trimester.” But “imagine if I was hard on myself, ate my emotions, hated the body that gave me a beautiful daughter, or if I tried to live up to what I thought everyone expected of me,” Scott continued. “I don’t think I would be where I am today.”
And she’s right. If Scott let the shamers and the societal pressures get to her, she wouldn’t — truly couldn’t — be as proud and strong about her postpartum body as she is. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I’m a writer, a runner, and a mother who has placed ridiculous amounts of pressure on my postpartum body to look like what pop culture tells us is “normal” — to “bounce back.” And you know what? My mental and physical health have suffered.
In fact, I’m five months postpartum, and still struggling to get by and feel good about myself.
So what can new moms do? According to Scott, it’s imperative we respect, appreciate and honor our bodies today. In this very moment. “I want u to know that ur postpartum body is remarkable… I appreciate my tiger marks, my dimples that stayed on my booty cheeks, my tummy that expands more than ever when I eat, & the new skin I’m in. I also love that I can do yoga, I can do our @ToneItUp postnatal workouts & I can carry Bella around for 12 hours a day!”
And while everyone’s journey will look different, our paths don’t matter. What matters is that we stay the course. “Let’s not compare our chapter 1 or 3 to someone else’s chapter 30,” Scott wrote. “If ur feeling down or defeated, I want u to know it’s ok. Start with this 1 thing — kindness. Everything u say to ur body is important bc it’s listening. And someday, that baby of yours will hear u too. Do it for her (or him!). So start now. Start with ‘I am beautiful. I am capable. I am worthy of my goals & dreams. I am exactly where I need to be today. I can do this. I am loved. And I am so grateful for this body, my beating heart & my beautiful mind.'”