Pregnancy Is Not Kind To Our Stomachs (But I’m OK With That)

Moms Nicole Richie and Ali Larter make motherhood look easy…

* Fitness Review Fest of the Week:

I’m a healthy person. I’m not Gwyneth Paltrow/Natalie Portman healthy (subsisting off of lettuce, kale and isometrics alone), but I run around after my kids, eat normal portions and turn to Cheetos only on rare occasions. But despite my pseudo-in-shape status, I simply refuse to become a slave to fitting in to a certain size. As a single mom, busy dance teacher and (obvious) writer, I cannot afford, nor find the time, to attend a gym, fitness class or training session on a regular basis. Do I wish I could leave my sweet kiddos in a play-care area for 30 minutes of uninterrupted treadmill therapy? Heck yes. Is that expense ever going to outweigh the important of feeding my girls or supporting our life? Unfortunately, no.

So for me, I have to find alternative methods to staying in shape. And even though my girls and job keep me on my feet most of the time (and a weekly dose of ballet barre doesn’t hurt), there is one thing I can’t seem to change: my stomach. In actuality, I did everything “right” when it comes to recovering post-partum. I ate mindfully throughout both of my pregnancies, kept my core engaged with a variety of annoying exercises (before and after), and even attempted to breastfeed. So why the heck do I feel like Mario Batali when I’m looking in the mirror?

Let’s be honest with ourselves ladies: no one talks about their tummies after baby. Even if we look slim and trim beneath four pairs of Spanx and those suck-me-in-jeggings, our midsections feel like an overstretched pair of maternity underwear that has been worn one too many times. It doesn’t matter how much weight we gained or how many crunches we did after kids… some of us just don’t look the same. This is one of the many reasons why I love the website The Shape of a Mother or short films like Birth Markings. They let real women (you know, the ones who don’t get tummy tucks during their C-sections) show what real babies do to our bodies, and in turn, be proud of it. In other cultures, a mother’s body is revered for what it’s endured, what’s it created and how powerful all of us really are internally and externally. A stretch mark is not something to be ashamed of or hide in a tankini at the beach: it’s a battle scar that shows we are warriors of life.

So why are we all so embarrassed of our extra “something something” after babies? Having to look at the likes of Angelina Jolie and Heidi Klum doesn’t help, for starters, but why aren’t we putting women like Amy Poehler, Mya Rudolph or even Christina Aguilera (yes, I just said that) on the covers of magazines? Women who, although of course beautiful and healthy in their own right, are not afraid to show the absence of a washboard or toothpick biceps now and again? Or gosh forbid, maybe we should celebrate us for a change? The women who grow a human being inside of ourselves, bring it into the world and are still expected to look like a prepubescent teenager/pedophiliac dream two months later. Guess what? I’m a woman, not a little girl. I make life, I raise life, and I still find time to wash my hair (on occasion). A mother is not meant to look like a version of her former, less wise self (who thought that making out in the backseat of a car to Chumbawumba was romantic), but rather the developing, intelligent, nurturing, gorgeous creation that a female is intended to be.

And if that’s not a miracle worth reveling in… than I don’t know what is.

* If You Still Don’t Want To Give Up The Fight….Try This: It Works! Body Wrap Pack

Even if you can’t completely embrace your body after baby (which is something I continue to struggle with, so can’t say that I blame you), there are many alternatives to surgery or crazy crash diets. It Works! is one of the great options for tightening up your tummy region post-partum, without turning to something drastic. Choose from a variety of tightening, firming “wraps” that you apply to your skin easily, to help tone and firm the area when nutrition and fitness aren’t cutting it. You can even throw a “body wrap” party for your friends to learn more about the products (and maybe get candid about what really happens during pregnancy for a change). Sign me up!

* Sound Off: Have you come to peace with your post-partum stomach?

Makeover Momma occasionally receives cosmetic products for review, with no obligation to positively promote or cover said brand. Receiving products has absolutely no influence over our recommendation of any particular product.

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