4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies

It’s 7:47 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I’m hustling to get a spot in my very popular 8 a.m. step class. The usual crowd is made up of mostly women in their mid- to late-30s through their early 50s. However, this morning I find myself striding through the doors of my upscale suburban gym behind two young, first-time moms. Here’s what I overhear:

“You look amazing. You’re so thin,” says Mom #1 to Mom #2. Both are carrying very adorable children under a year old.

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Mom #2 grimaces. “Oh, no. I’m still a few pounds heavier than I was before Charlie.”

I look at this woman. She is, without question, thin. As a body conscious mom of three, life-long exerciser and current Jawbone UP addict, I think I’m a decent judge on this score.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” says Mom #1. “I still can’t run as many miles as I used to before Chloe and it’s so hard to keep the weight off. I just don’t want to give up my wine.”

You go girl. Do not give up the wine. Meanwhile, this woman is even skinnier than her friend.

I get it. After the initial shock of bringing home baby fades and you’ve settled into the whole motherhood thing, you turn your laser beam focus on “getting your body back.” Somehow, even though we know that life will never be the same, we expect our bodies to be.

I watch the women head towards childcare, knowing exactly how they feel. Here’s what I want to tell them:

1. You will never look the same again. Your body has changed. Forever. Even if you get back to your pre-baby weight, those pounds will be in all kinds of different places. The terrain has shifted and stretched, drooped in the most inconvenient spots and plumped up in others. For me, some bits feel worse than others: the way the bottom of my bum hangs out of my bathing suit; the new fold of skin at my knees from carrying all that extra weight for nine months (times three); my sagging belly button. Other parts emerge more beautiful than they were before: the curve of a hip; more pronounced cheekbones; lush, hormone-infused hair.

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2. Your body will not function like it once did. Not only is the way your body looks irrevocably changed, but the way it works is too. I probably won’t ever be able to run five miles again without feeling that painful tweak in my right hip. A totally flat belly may be a thing of the past, no matter how many reverse curls I do in a day. I can’t do jumping jacks without squirting pee. Holding plank without pooching out my belly or hunching up my shoulders is forever a goal. Two and a half years after my third daughter arrived, I’m still figuring out what works and trying to let go of what doesn’t.

3. Instead, your body will do amazing things you never dreamed it could do. Your body will not fail you as you get up for the fourth time in the middle of the night to feed a hungry baby. You will be able to hold an infant or a 1-year-old or a toddler for ridiculously long periods of time — cuddling, soothing, shushing — and your biceps will grow strong and defined from it. Your core will tighten and hold you firmly in place as you lift your child from the crib or catch her as she jumps from the bed into your arms. I didn’t know how fast I could sprint until my toddler slipped from my grip and darted towards the parking lot. You will surprise yourself. Marvel over what you are capable of with this new mama body.

4. Beauty is where you find it. The talk about post-pregnancy beauty is relentless. We get it: yes, our bodies have sagged and crinkled and jellied and no, that doesn’t mean we’re suddenly ugly, but we each catalogue those changes with varying degrees of self-acceptance. Our body-obsessed culture doesn’t help prepare us for our newly hewn post-baby bodies or feel good about them. The challenge is to blow all of that off and realize it’s not just our bodies that have changed. The way we view the world is different too. Beauty abounds in the most unexpected places, making the minor and mundane suddenly magnificent. I remember looking at my daughter’s impossibly long eyelashes as she slept thinking they were the most gorgeous things I’d ever seen. And who hasn’t called their new baby’s poop beautiful? The trick is to include yourself in this expanded version of beauty: the soft lines around your eyes, whether from smiling or lack of sleep, make you more interesting. Your rarely used singing voice now sounds sublime as you soothe your child to sleep. And that rounder booty? It’s hot. Period.

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These are the truths about my post-baby body. Realistically, I still struggle over accepting the body I’m in and what it can and cannot do. I won’t deny being jealous of celebrity moms with their trainers and ready-made, low-calorie meals. I’m not psyched about my incredible shrinking bladder, my forever-sore lower back and the fact that I own a pair of Spanx.

Still, there’s no going back, so why waste time feeling bad about it? The choice that makes the most sense sanity-wise is to champion the mama body I’ve got and never, ever give up the wine.

Related post: Excuse Me, But Is That A Third Boob In My Armpit?

About the writer


Lisa Sadikman is a writer living in Northern California with her husband and three daughters, the third one arriving somewhat late in the game, just as she began dreaming of a life beyond motherhood. Instead, it’s déjà vu all over again except this time she’s wearing heels. You can read about her adventures parenting tweens and a toddler, managing marriage and living a grown up life on her blog, Flingo, at the Huffington Post and by following her on Twitter @LisaSadikman.


Mac 1 month ago

Still waiting for my body to come back…. I’ve tried everything so magic or a miracle are my only 2 options. I just put up a youtube video based on my post birth experience and what to expect and how to prepare for taking care of yourself and your recovery. I wish someone had done this so I would’ve been better prepared!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQesYiqru4Q

K 3 months ago

I am so tired of comments like “Yeah maybe my body is destroyed, but I am a mother now!” Like that magically makes this horrible sacrifice worth it. I didn’t get pregnant and suddenly become only a mother. I was a person before, with wants and desires and self-worth, I should be able to keep at least one of those things.

Marianne Ryan PT 6 months ago

I really enjoyed reading this post, it is so realistic! If you are interested I would love to send you a copy of my book which was just published last month, Baby Bod – Turn Flab to Fab in 12 weeks Flat. I think you would learn why there are so many lingering changes after childbirth and some tips on how to combat them.
Please email me if you would like a copy of the book, I would love to hear what you think of it:)
Thank you for helping woman in such a fun way!

Priya 6 months ago

Beautiful!! :)

Cayenne 6 months ago


Amber 6 months ago

This just makes me so sad… (first time mother; Age 30)

I have always struggled with my weight, and I was making real progress before I got pregnant. (I had lost almost 200 pounds, and I was finally getting toned.)

what’s the point of even trying now??? :(

Melissa 6 months ago

Ahhh….thank uoi.

Roma 6 months ago

So last night I decided to torture myself and I looked at my body for the first time after having both my kids, you would think I would have been mortified, discusted or repulsed. I WAS NOT!!! I was empowered, this is the first time in my life where I have felt good in my own skin. To know I have created two beautiful children, and in return as I carried them In my womb my stomach area has strech marks and each strech mark tells a story, my incision from my repeat cesarean shows the strength, love and determination I had to endure to meet my boys (I was scared to no end when having my c-sections) becasue of my boys I know what it feels like to love myself for the first ime and to them I am greatful. I love you Hunter and Mason.

This was a post I put up on may 18th, and it still holds true

bebek ürünleri 8 months ago

lovely photo..

Candidkay 8 months ago

Oh, I hear you. And these are wise words. The toughest part is when you divorce. Then, the body you loved and your ex loved–the one that brought you both those beautiful children–is now under scrutiny by guys that it did not bring beautiful children to–guys that never saw you as a size 4. I’d love to say I’m more enlightened than to worry–always thought I was–but guess what? It’s hard. Thanks for the reminder of sanity.

Chrisi 8 months ago

The only thing I don’t like about my body are my “saddle bags”, which I had before my son. As for my tummy, I love it! My stretch marks and “flobs” (as my DH affectionately calls them) show that I was blessed to carry a baby for 9 months. I had a C-Section and ended up with that little somethin’ on my belly, but I’d do it again! I want to have 3 kiddos! We’ll see :) Genetics do play a big role. I ended up with spider veins. One of my sisters had 6 kids and looks pretty thin, but she also works at it. She also has spider veins and varicose veins. Getting back to the point, be happy with your body! It’s beautiful and remember, there are women out there who wouldn’t mind these things at all if it meant having a baby of their own.

Karen Whitley 9 months ago

Do we worry NO!

Jennifer Shanteau 9 months ago

So true

Linda Carp 9 months ago

Yes our bodies change in ways we don’t like,but I’m a mom and it was worth every pound and stretch mark! I wear it proudly!!!

Faith Savage 9 months ago

Here’s the scoop four kids all breast fed
Youngest now 17
I am strong
I need to remain strong to raise four kids
My body deserves respect
It did such a good job breast fed four x 3 months
All kids allergy free
I am strong cause I eat well and. Work out
I want to be able to run ski walk water ski with my kids
I can
All the rest doesn’t matter
I want to be able to stay up late at night and be sure all four get in safe and sound kiss me good night I wanna wake early and make a huge breakfast
I wanna love them
Know them
The rest doesn’t matter

Dani Graff 9 months ago

Hmmm. 33 weeks pregnant and all I’m getting from this is “depressing”.

Lauren Henry 9 months ago

Great little article. We all need to get reminded about how beautiful and strong us Mom’s are. Sure we may not have the perfect bodies but damn we can make some perfect babies :)

Lindsay Templeton 9 months ago

I never had digestive issues until I had my son. He is 3 and some days I look like I am 5 months pregnant from a diastasis. I gained 80 lbs with my son. I’m not expecting things to be the same just wondering why my digestion is so bad and the mommy pooch is painful at times.

Alyssa Ferrucci Lanoue 9 months ago

Post baby right here. No stretch marks and guess what else….I had my right hip replaced at 5 mo the post partum and my left hip replaced the mo the before my daughter turned 3. I am now 5 months post op. It’s all what you do with yourself and how you treat your body. I also enjoy looking fit and hot for my husband. Plus if I feel good about myself it makes me happier. And a happy me is a happy wife and Mommy!

Pat Shaughnessy 9 months ago

Now we need a book called post menopausal bodies are not the same. LOL

Alice Thomas 9 months ago

And don’t even let me get started on the deflated goat utters… 3 kids all breastfeed! Someone got an air pump cause these balloons need some inflating

Sherri Norris 9 months ago

Cindy Crawford’s completely un-retouched shoot for Marie Claire, a Mom’s body!

You’ve got to read the men’s comments!

Alice Thomas 9 months ago

My mom gave me following advice… “After you give birth do NOT look at your huha immediately after!!”… Unfortutely I did not follow that advice….. but I will be giving that advice to both my daughters

Bonnie Wilson 9 months ago

I see all these young women today having babies and saying they can’t loose the baby weight! Bull shit! I had 3 children and when I went back to work in 6 weeks, I was right back at my normal weight of 115 pounds! it’s not easy now days with all the fast and frozen foods! I know it’s hard but until you loose the weight you have to use a little self control!

Marian Engler 10 months ago

I always told my self when I was pregnant was that my body is supposed to look this way. My body will not be the same as when I was 20 and I’m OK with it.

ML 10 months ago

Maybe I’m living in denial. I’m totally convinced that if I workout hard and eat really clean, I can get my old body back. I’m not willing to accept a overweight version of me yet.

Jessica Ann 10 months ago

Bodies after babies vary as much as bodies before babies! Everyone is different

Angela Smith Slocum 10 months ago

Yep! Stuff isn’t quite where it used to be. Lol.

Kristy Beltram 10 months ago

Yup jumping Jacks and jump rope are a never at the gym. Isntantly pee.

Joyce Kuczma 10 months ago

Whatever happens… it is soooooo worth it!

Cierra Custer 10 months ago

A lot of factors go into post-baby bodies. Age, whether you had twins, how you treated your body before and after your baby (s). Some people don’t bother with the gym, others make it a priority. I was an exerciser by habit and exercised leading up to my due date. Naturally I went right back into it because it was part of my lifestyle and the gym gave me the “me time” I never got at home with the baby. It helped me get back to my old body aesthetically (minus my stretch marks and I’m a little more “soft” than I’d like to be). For the first year of getting back into running, I would pee a little when I ran and had to get my digestive system back on track. Eventually things were ALMOST like they were before, but I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. Most importantly I always feel like superwoman, and so should all mommys. We made little humans with our bodies and that right there is amazing and beautiful :)

Erica Lee 10 months ago

I’m happy with myself and completely healthy as are my babies.

Jenie Smith 10 months ago

If you work hard, yes you can look good or even better than before.

Katie Cuccia Weeks 10 months ago

Totally agree! I would love to even have my first time mom body back. The more children you have, the older you get, the more your muscles change. Plus the logistics of working out with three kids is a nightmare if you can’t afford to buy a gym or have a young baby. I have a severe diastisis recti and feel judged by myself and others at times. But they likely have never given birth to three very healthy children. I need to give myself some grace. I pretty much want to slap my first time mom self (and anyone else) for being hard on me.

Dana Crossley Gross 10 months ago

I could careless if I dont have my prebaby body! I have a healthy baby girl who I adore. She is worth the extra skin in my abd area! PERIOD!

Brandie Doss 10 months ago

I read this as I work my ass off in the gym…preparing to be in a beach wedding where all the other women are at least 3 years younger than me with prebaby bodies (talk about pressure to look amazing) and I know things will never be the same with my body yet I’m trying so hard to make it look the way these other girls do…this made me stop and think, while I may not have the bodies they have I have a human…a little soul who is way more precious than any flat belly or time thigh…they’re the ones missing out!

Katie De Oliveira Anderson 10 months ago

I look way better now than before had my baby, maybe because I work out harder now and take serious, I’m much more happy now with my abbs which I didn’t have before. I took care of myself while pregnant. A lot of ppl blame the kids for having the body they have, please!

Sydney Pauley 10 months ago

You actual can get your body back. Never say never. What a negative article!

Ana Galvano 10 months ago

I needed this

Katina Mckain-Kerkhof 10 months ago

I just had the hernia fixed from having my daughter 7 years ago . I wish the dr had felt it needed fixed then . My abs and pelvic floor feel totally different and I no longer feel the urge to pee all the time . No more pain either . Btw I left hospital both times weighing less than I did when I got pregnant but the weight has never been in the same place .

Hillary Kelln 10 months ago

Haha, this is why I always like to say I’ll have arms of steel by the time little man is big enough to run around on his own.

Laura Sharp 10 months ago

Iv had two babies and I don’t pee when I laugh cough sneeze hardly got any stretch marks this time and my stomach has shrank really fast yea i have some weight to lose but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t x

Sarah Paterson 10 months ago

This discussion thread is depressing me a little I have to say, the green eyed monster is rearing her head a little lol. I carried twins to 38 weeks and my body is completely unrecognisable from what it once was, I could lose all the weight but the stretched loose skin from my tummy being so humongous, or the hard “bump” from my tummy muscles completely splitting apart, is never going away! It bothers me sometimes, but at the end of the day they’re my battle scars, they’re signs of my body safely carrying my twins to full term and I accept that, I only have to look at my twins and it’s OK, we went through a 5 year battle with baby loss, (miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies, losing both my tubes), infertility & 4 rounds of IVF to have them and we are so blessed, this is a small price to pay. I do still have weight to lose and I’m working on it but I know I’ll never be the same again but it’s OK.

Joanna Lo Lutz 10 months ago

Me too

Gina L Tin 10 months ago

When I was pregnant with my third baby, I felt my belt fat change positions. All the fat seemed to drop, and street she was born, I now have a flap. It makes me so mad!

Delaney Rosales 10 months ago

I snapped back like 3 months after birth. Super lucky but I’m unable to keep my blood sugar up, my spine needs corrective surgery and I can’t tolerate eating red meat anymore weirdly . But I’m OK as long as my son is happy. I’ll gladly take my wrecked insides if that means my kid can have a healthy life :3

Amanda Mcgowan 10 months ago

Never, ever give up the wine!

Rona Loewen 10 months ago

She nails it!

Jillian Wade 10 months ago

Great little read, I have only one problem with this article.

And I quote: “And who hasn’t called their new baby’s poop beautiful?”

Um…me…right here, I haven’t, EVER.

    Itzel Alvarado 10 months ago

    Lmao, I Google the texture and color once in a while… but I have never called it beautiful! !


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