Don’t let the Oscars tell you how to look after having a baby

Did you happen to catch the Oscars a few weeks ago? No doubt you were dazzled by the gorgeous celebrities and their stunning appearances. Who doesn’t love seeing what the fashion will be on the red carpet and what surprises might show up?

But I’ll tell you this: If you are a newly postpartum mom who happened to watch, chances are you noticed Scarlett Johannson or Zoe Saldana. These new moms gave birth recently—Johannson in September and Zaldana (to twins!) in November.

And what was it that everyone was talking about with them? Why, how they got their bodies back so quickly, of course! How they make such “hot mamas!” Because, of course, that’s what we care about!

I am here to tell you, the new mom who was sitting on the couch, still in your maternity pants, eating ice cream, and feeling anything but beautiful as you watched these women walk down the red carpet: how they look is not the standard. It is not normal. Don’t try to be them.

Now, of course, I can’t comment on these celebrities’ individual health regimens and whether or not what they are eating or how they are exercising is healthy. But just like those commercials for the latest diet phase: “These results are not typical.” Chances are they have a team of nutritionists, personal trainers, chefs, nannies, stylists, and make-up artists who are helping them achieve their flawless selves. Heck, we new moms are just thrilled if we get to shower before dinnertime, right?

It’s perfectly normal to want to get your body back after having given birth. But the focus should be on staying realistic about your goals, doing it for the right reasons, and understanding that as gradually as you put the weight on is how gradual it should come off.

Unfortunately, our media doesn’t make keeping this perspective easy, does it? One news outlet that covered Scarlett Johannson’s appearance gushed, “But there was one part of her dress we couldn’t keep our eyes off of—her teeny tiny waist! We would love to know what her secret was because her body bounced back in record time!”

Really? Is that really what matters—her teeny tiny waist? Is this the right message to send to moms and women in general; that the media will only gush about you if you immediately fit into your (already super tiny) pre-pregnancy clothes?

I’m not too interested in her secret, quite frankly.

So new mom still in sweatpants: Be healthy. Exercise and eat right when you can. But don’t worry about your baby pooch. You just grew a human and birthed him or her. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to carry around a few extra pounds!

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About Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, Medical Director, Pregnancy

Dr. Jennifer Lincoln is a board-certified generalist obstetrician/gynecologist and attending physician in Portland, Oregon. She primarily works on labor and delivery has recently been certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.


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