The expectations for a woman to go back to her pre-pregnancy size is never more apparent than in the entertainment industry. Cameras are often at the ready as soon as a new mom sets foot outside the hospital doors. But for a professional dancer whose job it is to perform in front of the cameras every week, it seems that the pressure to be slim right away must be extraordinary.
Dancing With the Stars dancer Peta Murgatroyd decided soon after coming home from the hospital that she would do her best to set a more realistic example of what it looks like to be a new mom. A post she recently put up on Instagram quickly went viral showing off her still-pregnant looking belly eight days after giving birth. She writes, “Real life: I took this photo 8 days post birth. I left the hospital looking 5 months pregnant.”
Murgatroyd goes on to explain how too many have unrealistic ideas of what a woman should look like after delivering a baby. She says, “Many people think a woman should shrink right back to her pre-birth weight immediately. That is just not the truth for most. The female body is incredible and resilient, but healing and strengthening take time.” She adds, “Now it's time for patience and hard work. Lots of love to all the new mamas out there on the journey."
What do you think of Peta Murgatroyd’s message about her post-baby body?
Do you think there’s too much pressure put on women to immediately shrink down to pre-pregnancy weight?
I do think there is a lot of pressure for women in the postpartum period overall, including unrealistic expectations about body size. However, celebrities who use their public platform to dispel common myths are doing a great service by shattering the notion that a woman's body returns to "normal" immediately after having a child. Women need to give themselves time to recover from the physical trauma of childbirth and spend time adjusting to the major life change that bringing a baby (beit be the first, or subsequent) home creates.
I think this took a lot of courage. Good for her! I was very lucky to shrink back to my old size, I think it's because I was breastfeeding. I know lots of women though who didn't. We should all be realistic about weight gain in general, it takes time and lots of effort to get it off.