Just how every pregnancy is unique, the post-pregnancy experience varies from woman to woman; from baby #1 to baby #3.
Whether it's deflated breasts or the belly pooch that seemingly never disappears, many Mamas aren't sure what to expect from their postpartum bodies -- or how to accept and love the transformation.
In a survey from The Bump, new moms offered honest thoughts on their bodies' changes.
Some Mamas noted while the scale has stayed the same, their weight had been redistributed. Others lamented stretch marks across their tummy and breasts. We had a small round-table here at The Spoiled Mama HQ, and each Mama shared her own story.
For me, a former fitness competitor in my 20s, my body has certainly changed. Now I am 36, and after two babies (both C-sections from high risk pregnancies), my Cesarean scar is a daily reminder of my identity as a mom -- and it's a badge I wear with pride!
Still, fitness has always been important to me. As I complete week four of my fitness kick (with the rest of the office), I'm amazed at how my body is bouncing back. Age and babies have taken a toll on my body, but I believe having a healthy mindset is just as critical to physical fitness as crunches and burpies. I refuse to sit back because I'm "just a mom with two kids."
The most difficult thing about being a Mama has nothing to do with my body or diet-- it is finding time to take care of me.
(Photographer Jade Beall of Tuscon captures bodies of "real women" after childbirth.)
Monica, our Spoiled Mama office manager, has also had two kids -- though her story is different from mine. Interestingly, her postpartum body also varied with each birth! Both Monica's births were natural, with exercise and activity prevalent during her first pregnancy. She told me:
"I did walk a lot with my first, and was more active everyday until the day before my daughter was born! I gained no weight and got my body back, though I would say I looked better before I got pregnant."With her second pregnancy, Monica believed her body would bounce back the way it had with her first. As a consequence, she was less active and has found the weight never fell away:
"I did not walking at all, and even drove to the corner store that was seriously half a block down the corner. When I had my daughter, the pregnancy weight did not go away at all, and has stayed with me still. That’s what I get for being lazy and thinking I’m going to have it good with this one because I had it good with the first. But that isn't the case -- you have to stay active, even if it's just running errands."
Here are what other moms told The Bump about their post-pregnancy bodies:
"My arms are skinnier, but my stomach is flabbier. I fit into my pre-baby clothes, but would like to get fit again." -- mamatobe5425454
"My post-baby body is pretty much the same as pre-baby, just a little 'bouncier' in the midsection from all that stretching and since my muscles aren't built back up yet." -- bethail3
"My breasts suffered some stretch marks but that's to be expected with a barely-A cup!" --yoniandjoey79
"I'm amazed at how much your body stretches in the process [of pregnancy and birth]! But I don't like my postbaby body, and I'm having a really hard time accepting it." -- suziequzie9
Reclaim your postpartum body
For moms who use our organic pregnancy skincare to help aid them through the first nine months, GOOD NEWS: we've got your back (and the rest of your bod) post-baby too!
How has having a child changed your body? How do you feel about your postpartum body versus pre-baby?