There is so much in the media about celebrity moms “bouncing back” quickly after having a baby. Although most women know not to compare themselves to famous people with trainers and personal chefs, it’s still hard to see. Actress Zoe Saldana, who had twins last year, is reminding us that it’s ridiculous for anyone to hold themselves to the Hollywood standard for how a mom should look weeks after having a baby. It’s about time someone said it.
Saldana tells People of “women that hide in a cave” and “don’t come out until they’re a size zero.” She says “that is a very misleading message to send out to women, especially when women here in L.A. are the skinniest women out there. And that should concern us. We’re too busy thinking about our appearances and not really thinking about our mental health first as well.”
While her comments make perfect sense, it’s not surprising that a new mom would be thinking about her appearance immediately after birth. Having a baby is life-changing in every way and it’s normal to want to be back to your old self after sharing your body for nine months. However, Zoe makes a good point about mental health needing to come first. With many moms suffering postpartum depression or anxiety, worrying about getting back to their pre-baby state is just one more thing to make life more difficult. Seeing magazines plastered with celebrities looking svelte seemingly right after they give birth is misleading. According to the many headlines we see, it’s a victory for a new mom to look like herself right after having a baby. Many women then make the deduction that taking time to lose the weight must equal failure. This is a harmful, yet, common way to think.
Zoe points out how Hollywood moms might “hide” until they’ve lost most of their baby weight and only emerge once they’re perfect again. But how many new moms reading about these magical “bounce-back after baby” stories are keeping that in mind? All they see are gorgeous and slim women on magazine covers holding their babies while they struggle to wear anything other than maternity clothes and yoga pants. It’s become so common in our society to expect women to look amazing soon after having a child. Frankly, it would be nice if these stories stopped. What purpose do they serve other than making women feel inadequate?
Zoe says “I feel bad for those women that get super desperate and want to bounce back three months after having a baby. Breastfeed. Stay home. Sleep. Your kid is only three months old! Like what are you going to the gym for? Catch up on f—ing reruns of some sort!’” Besides adding in “bottle-feed” in addition to breast, she is spot-on. As strong as the pull can be to want to get back in shape, it’s important for a new mom to relax and recover as much as her lifestyle will allow. Getting back in shape can happen later on down the line. No new mom should feel pressured to do it immediately.
Pregnancy and life with a newborn is stressful, both physically and mentally. We owe it to ourselves to take it easy and appreciate what our bodies went through rather than trying to bounce like a supermodel by our six-week check-up. It’s all a Hollywood illusion — and a harmful one at that.