If there’s one term new mums are sick of hearing, it’s the “post-baby bounce back”.
Women have been calling bullsh*t on it for years, gritting our teeth at the glossy magazines that love to lead us to believe celebrities magically drop all their pregnancy weight in the precise millisecond they push a baby out of their vaginas. But finally, it seems the stars are trying to join our crusade.
Within the space of a week, we have seen two high-profile women share their post-birth journeys in a way that we can actually get behind.
Gossip Girl actress Blake Lively, 30, shared last week she allowed herself 14 months to return to her goal weight after the birth of her second daughter, Ines. She also was honest about the professional help she used to get there.
Now, Grey’s Anatomy star and mother-of-three Katherine Heigl says she’s also given herself more than a year since giving birth to her son.
“It’s been almost 14 months since Joshua Jr was born and it has taken me about that long to really get back in shape,” Heigl writes.
Heigl draws on the huge effort she has had to put in as she prepares to begin shooting a new movie in April.
“I’ve had a full year to find those ab muscles and get my butt back up where it belongs and wasn’t forced by work to snap back into shape, but it is time to make the strength, fitness and overall health of my body a priority.”
Of course, there’s a caveat. These photos are both relatable and… well, exasperatingly unrelatable.
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Prioritising your emotional wellbeing and physical health post-birth is crucial. And that’s the message both Lively and Heigl are trying to send: Don’t pressure yourself. Respect the incredible nine months you have just gone through, and the new life you are raising now.
But on the flip side… most of us will never have the money nor the time to achieve abs like those. Because over in the real world, mums don’t have the trainers and chefs and nutritionists and nannies on-call that make said abs possible. Also… we’re not freaking movie stars.
And then there is the problematic implication that losing weight is not an option, it is a necessity – even if it takes you a year to get there. Gaining weight during pregnancy is not only normal – it is healthy. The tiny human growing inside you needs the extra energy. Every body is different, and women should never be told to then squeeze themselves into the mould society has created for them. Your shape and your health are not the same thing.
But so long as we keep all this in mind, posts like these from Heigl and Lively are a good step forward. Let the “bounce back” die.
What do you think of Katherine Heigl and Blake Lively’s post-baby body posts? Tell us in the comments below.