The pressure society puts on women to lose the weight they gain during pregnancy is overwhelming, stressful, and frankly insane. There’s this unrealistic narrative that women should “bounce back” to their pre-baby bodies without any appreciation for the incredible task that their pregnant and post-baby bodies have performed.
Growing a whole human and either pushing it out of a minuscule canal or having your guts exposed to bring them into the world… It’s so insane, and there’s just not enough appreciation for how wildly amazing — and physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing — pregnancy and birth are. You know the patriarchy, gotta keep women looking slim, trim, and properly primped. Oh, and don’t do anything to make them think they’re, like, capable or strong or anything of that nature.
If your eyes rolled so far back into your head at that statement that you weren’t sure if they’d ever return to a front-facing position, you’re not at all alone. Thankfully, it’s becoming increasingly accepted for women to take their time recovering from giving birth, settling into life with a new baby, and gradually coaxing their bodies toward a figure more similar to their “pre-baby” bodies — because let’s be honest, having a baby is a life-changing occurrence, and our bodies are forever changed by the phenomenon. There’s really no such thing as “getting back” your pre-baby body, because it’s no longer pre-baby — and that’s nothing to be shamed or criticized for!
From Serena Williams and Anne Hathaway to Ashley Graham and Chrissy Teigen, these celebrity moms totally agree that the “lose the baby weight” train is a bunch of bullsh*t. Read on for their thoughts, and thoughts from other famous mamas, about their bodies and losing weight after having a baby.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2022.
We truly could not love Anne Hathaway’s outlook on her body any more. The actress took to Instagram in 2016 to share some important words about baby weight — and weight in general.
“There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all),” she wrote. “There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer’s are just too dang short for this summer’s thighs. Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)”
Eva Mendes was all about self-love and acceptance after giving birth to her daughter Amada Lee in 2016.
“I just don’t put a lot of pressure on myself,” she told Extra. “I try to take care of myself as far as eating right and things like that, but especially so soon after a baby, I’m like, ‘It’s okay, I don’t need to fit into my jeans for a while, I’m all right.’ Maybe if I never fit into my original jeans, it’s fine, it’s all good.”
Taking to Twitter to explain her worry-free mentality about her post-baby body, Chrissy Teigen wrote, “‘how do you eat like this??’ – basically I am 20 pounds heavier than I was before miles. he’s 10 months old, I never lost the last bit because I just love food too much. Just coming to terms with my new normal, when I had this certain number for so long!”
She added, “the thinnest I’ve ever been was right after Luna. Postpartum depression. I’LL TAKE THESE POUNDS AND THIS FEELING!”
During a 2014 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jennifer Garner shot down pregnancy speculation, explaining, “I am not pregnant, but I have had three kids and there is a bump. I get congratulated all the time by people I know. This one woman who had babysat for us said, ‘Oh, my gosh! I can’t wait for No. 4,’ and I thought, ‘What is going on?’” Garner said. “So I asked around and apparently I have a baby bump, and I’m here to tell you that I do!”
She continued, “From now on, ladies, I will have a bump. And it will be my baby bump. And let’s just all settle in and get used to it. It’s not going anywhere. I have a bump. Its name is Violet, Sam, Sera.” The actress hilariously added, “Forever and ever, not another baby. Just a bump like a camel. But just in reverse.”
After welcoming her third child, Reese Witherspoon told Extra in 2012, “I don’t know if I’m bouncing back. I’m slowly crawling back. You know all of your joints feel wobbly and your head is sort of confused. You just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of you know… Slowly get back to your health.”
Following the birth of her daughter Olympia, Serena Williams explained to Allure, “After I came out [of the hospital], I had a stomach, but I thought, ‘This is kind of cool. I have a stomach because the baby was there,'” she said.
Following the arrival of her first child in 2020, Ashley Graham shared with PEOPLE, “I’ve got more weight on me. I [have] stretch marks, and in the beginning I really had to have a lot of conversations with myself and tell myself, ‘Okay, new body, new mindset.’ But after this [Swimsuits For All] photo shoot, I felt so empowered because I was like, ‘Yes. I look good. I feel good. This is my new mom bod.'”
“You don’t need to be Victoria’s Secret-ready right away because you just did the most incredible miracle that life has to offer,” Blake Lively told Sunrise in 2016. “I mean you gave birth to a human being! So I would really like to see that celebrated.”
After giving birth to her eldest daughter, Lincoln, Kristen Bell shut down baby weight loss expectations with a simple Tweet: “I’m proud to sit out of the baby weight rat race.”
When Drew Barrymore gave birth to her daughter Frankie in 2014, she offered a refreshing explanation for why she wasn’t in a rush to lose the baby weight.
“It took nine months to build. It should take nine months to get off,” she told PEOPLE. “I wanted fettuccini alfredo. I didn’t want a barbell.”
Barrymore added that she doesn’t want to hear it from moms who have a quick, simple weight loss journey after giving birth. “I was like, ‘Don’t talk to me about how fast and fabulous you are or it came off.’ That was not my experience.”
Kerry Washington took a break from working out after giving birth to her son Caleb in 2016 — and she shot down any rumors that said otherwise.
“It was rumored somewhere that I was working out a week or two after he was born and it really upset me, actually,” she explained to PEOPLE. “I never talk about rumors in the media, but I was really sad that somebody printed that because I felt like, ‘Oh, that makes women feel like they have to start working out’ — like, ‘Oh celebrities work out right away.’ And I was like, ‘No way!’”
What are Tia Mowry’s inspiring words for moms out there who have just given birth and struggling with weight loss? “I’m just really taking my time, and I really want to be an example out there for women, that it’s OK if you don’t lose weight fast or rather quickly,” she told E! Online in 2018.
“It’s OK if you still have a belly bump. That’s what happens. It’s natural. It’s normal,” she said. “You don’t have to kill yourself trying to get to some place that takes time. I’m about focusing on my babies and enjoying [my daughter’s] growth.”
Hilary Duff opened up to Parents about maintaining love and patience for her body after giving birth. “It takes your body nine months to get there — really ten months. So I’m trying to be patient but I’m working hard. And I think now more than ever, I appreciate my body and what it’s done for me,” she said in the 2012 interview.
Three months after giving birth to her baby boy, Jameson, Pink posted a selfie of herself at the gym alongside a powerful caption.
“Would you believe I’m 160 pounds and 5’3″? By ‘regular standards’ that makes me obese,” she wrote. “I know I’m not at my goal or anywhere near it after Baby 2 but dammit I don’t feel obese. The only thing I’m feeling is myself. Stay off that scale ladies!”
When healing from the birth of her daughter, Willow, the singer also told People, “I was really kind to myself because I was actually really impressed with the fact that I had just had a baby. Like, I made a human!”
Kate Winslet is a legend for more reasons than just her breakout role in Titanic. After the birth of her third child in 2013, she told Glamour UK, “Having just had a baby, I’m not going to be thinking about my arse.”
Selma Blair put it plainly during a 2013 interview with Cosmopolitan: “Momma likes to eat. Momma is in no rush to look beautiful anytime soon.”
Amy Adams told Parade in 2010, “Being pregnant finally helped me understand what my true relationship was with my body — meaning that it wasn’t put on this earth to look good in a swimsuit. I was like, ‘Look, I can carry a baby! I’m gaining weight right, everything’s going well.’ And I’ve had that relationship ever since.”
She added, “I’ve been working out when I can, and I’m trying to eat in a healthful way, but losing weight is not my number-one priority. It’s part of my job to return to some semblance of what I was before. But I don’t feel I’ve ever made my career on my rockin’ bod.”
Jenna Fischer shared her baby weight loss journey with People in 2020, saying, “It’s taken me every day of 10 months to lose the weight. I did it slowly and I did it moderately … but if there’s one thing I could do for a new mom, it’d be to alleviate her of any guilt or any stress over the idea of having her body look a certain way.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt told Us Weekly in 2014, “I really thought I was going to be super consumed with trying to get my body back to the way it was before, and now that I’m a mom, I’m like, I don’t want to be that girl again because that girl didn’t have a baby and didn’t have a great husband and didn’t have this blissful existence that I’m having now.”
In 2012, Alyson Hannigan tweeted, “I think by Hollywood standards I’m supposed to be in bikini shape now that my baby is 4 weeks old. … My workout goal: Food drops in lap, not on belly.”
Leave a Comment