When You Don’t Bounce Back: The Weight of Holding on to the Baby Weight


Never did I think that at two-and-a-half-years postpartum, I’d have 30 pounds of baby weight to lose.

Before I got pregnant, I was killing it in boot camp. I had a half-marathon and several 5Ks under my belt. I was at my ideal weight and could do 40 real push-ups in a minute. An avid gym goer for 20 years, I actually thought I would have CONTROL over what my body might decide to do as a result of bearing a child. I thought I’d be the “before” picture “after” the pregnancy. 

And really, during my pregnancy, everyone told me: “You are all belly. It will be gone in no time.”  

  • Then, I fretted at 12 weeks postpartum when I finally gave in and bought clothing three sizes larger so that I could return to work dressed decently.
  • A few months later, I agonized even more when at six months postpartum, I had to buy new summer clothes that would carry me through my first postpartum summer.
  • A year has gone by, and now two. This new clothing became the permanent wardrobe I never wanted.

Why did my spare tire never go away?

It’s always with me–the pregnant body I still haven’t shed. I look pregnant, but there’s no baby in there.

  • No, I didn’t breastfeed. Shame on me for not taking advantage of that calorie-burning opportunity!
  • Yes, I am over 40. But yeah, I know Halle Barry and Mariah Carey were over 40 when they shed their bellies, too.   
  • It’s true that I probably did not sleep for more than three hours straight for the first two years of my son’s life. But I know plenty of slender moms who also survived on zero sleep.
  • I don’t know if I have diastasis recti; but yes, I had some childbirth injuries that continue to prevent me from engaging in much more than walking.
  • No, I do not indulge in donuts, Big Macs, or all-you-can-eat buffets.

It’s heavy–both the extra poundage and the guilt that accompanies it. Oddly enough I don’t have one stretch mark, but I have a tummy I’d never expose at the beach.

baby weight magazine coverbody after baby magazine coverYou can’t pass a checkout stand and not miss which star recently shed 40 pregnancy pounds in two months.

When I saw ABC’s Ginger Zee’s dance moves on Dancing with the Stars just weeks after she gave birth, I was in awe. As my husband said to me with a shrug, “Well, she can afford it.” And I won’t even get into the Kardashians and their post-baby weight loss covers.  And then there are my mom friends and relatives who don’t look one iota different after having one, two, or even five children. Not fair. Bottom line: we are all supposed to bounce back–and it’s a badge of honor to do so quickly. There’s no room to “let yourself go” in a society that scrutinizes pregnant and portpartum women–and really, how women look in general.

And yes, I am aware that diet is 80 percent of the battle.

Subsequently, I really try to keep my noshing in check. I do catch myself nibbling on the food my toddler doesn’t eat. Admittedly, I reach for crackers more often than I’d like to admit. But I am not raiding cupboards at midnight or sitting at the drive-thru. This was not supposed to happen to me. For fun, I counted my calories one day to see if I was really eating too much. Nope. Not even close to 2,000 calories but well over 1,200. 

Do people think I am lazy? Am I an example of someone who’s “given up” to them?

Sometimes I want to hide. I want to explain to people, “I had a baby. Yes, it was awhile ago, but it has not been easy for me.” And then I think, “Why am I apologizing for myself?” The weight of carrying around all of this wears on me emotionally and physically–just in time for swimsuit season.