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Dear Tracy: An letter on baby weight loss, from realistic mums everywhere

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#1 F.E.B.E

Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:31 AM

Posted on behalf of Amity
The pressure for new mums to lose their baby weight is in the spotlight again, with celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson saying women use pregnancy as "an excuse to let their bodies go".

Anderson, who’s credited with sculpting the post-pregnancy bodies of Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow, got back to her pre-baby weight just six weeks after giving birth. In the September issue of Dujour magazine, she argued that while the “journey of getting back to your best level of performance physically is very hard" it’s also an "incredibly empowering place to be".

I can already hear you shouting at the screen in indignation. So I thought I’d write a response to Tracy, on behalf of those of us who didn’t lose our baby weight in six weeks.

Firstly, good for you! You look amazing, as does J-Lo and Gwyneth, so kudos to all of you. I’d love to look like you guys at any time in my life, let alone six weeks after having a baby.

But here’s the thing: we all know that to look like you ladies do, it takes WORK. Hours of sweating, pain and effort. And you know what? Most of us just aren’t that into putting ourselves through that, because we just had a baby! And we want to hang out with those babies. Feed them, hold them, get to know them, and try to figure out what the hell we’re doing. Many of us waited a long time to get these babies, longed for them for years, and went through trials to get them. So now they’re here we kind of want to soak them up for a bit.

We also find that on some days, just getting out of our pyjamas - let alone out of the house - is tough. We’re tired, we’re not sleeping much, and, quite frankly, when we do have a moment to ourselves we’d rather eat cake than go to the gym.

Look, your dedication to fitness is impressive, and your intention to encourage new mums to be healthy is fair enough. But when most of us read your words and look at your body we don’t feel inspired - we just feel bad. Bad that we don’t look like you do, that we’re not motivated to go to the gym in the little time we have, and that people will judge us for "letting ourselves go".

We don’t want to feel bad. We want to celebrate the amazing achievement of having a baby. We want to feel like superheroes. To be applauded and praised because a baby came out of our body. Not inferior because those bodies don’t look like they used to.

Being fit and looking good is your job; it’s what you’re paid to do, your passion, and clearly what you’re good at. We have passions, jobs and things we’re good at too, but you don’t see us in magazines proclaiming that everyone should do what we do. I wrote a musical in the weeks after I had my second baby. I would write when she was asleep, and sometimes in the middle of the night when I was feeding her. I wrote in every moment I had spare, just like you work out. It made me happy, it stimulated and inspired me. So should I do interviews suggesting all new mums write a musical, because it’ll empower them? Um, no, because the mums who weren’t into writing musicals before they had babies probably aren't going to be into afterwards. It’s unlikely to be a helpful suggestion.

Some people are saving lives in the months after they have babies. There are mums coming up with scientific discoveries, teaching, nursing and representing people in a court of law. Do we compare ourselves to them and feel inferior because we’re not doing what they are? Are they in magazines proclaiming how "empowering" their life choices are post-baby, and encouraging us to do the same?

Of course not. That would be silly.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes we forget that comparing ourselves to people like you is equally silly. We let your toned post-baby body make us feel inferior, instead of realising that the vast majority of us didn’t look like you before we had kids, so it’s unlikely we will afterwards. We forget that we don’t have the time or the money to dedicate our lives to looking like you and Gwyneth, and that even if we did we’d probably want to spend it on something less exhausting and more fun.

You are right - we shouldn’t lose ourselves when we become mums. We should allow ourselves a bit of time to eat cake and not leave the house, but also stay healthy. For our children and ourselves, our mental and our physical confidence. We should go for walks, eat vegies, drink water and do our pelvic floor exercises. We know that. We don’t need to see you in a bikini to remind us of it.

So from now on when we see a picture of you, instead of feeling bad about ourselves, we’re going to try to remember that we’re just different. We have different lives, passions, skills, priorities and body shapes, and we don’t need to aspire to be like you any more than we need to aspire to be like the mum who is saving lives. We know we’re doing the best we can, focusing on being good mums and doing the things that make us happy. And that is what is empowering.

Kind regards,
Mums who haven’t lost their baby weight xx

#2 JillyJellyBean

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:10 AM

How about those of us who would love to work out but we have to work full time, raise a family and keep a home.  I love going to the gym, but just where will I find an extra $1000 a year to pay for a membership? Perhaps if there was another 2-3 hours in the day I could pull it off.

Its not always about choice.

#3 BetteBoop

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:15 AM

I've written a letter to Tracy too.

Dear Tracy

Bite my big, wobbly bum.


#4 The Cat

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:22 AM

... not to mention that when we have a baby, no matter if it's our first or not, we are more focussed on the baby and not our appearance as an un-thought out choice, since we want to talk about our 'roles' as women.

To me it is as simple as that.  I know I was focussed on the baby and all involved with the baby (changing of family dynamics and the way we go about living this new life with an extra person involved), 'getting back in shape' wasn't a priority for me. I didn't feel any sort of guilt for not being the certain body image I was used to pre baby... it wasn't until a quite a time after I'd had a baby I'd start to think 'hmmm, that didn't used to be like that' * poke poke* LOL

Edited by The Cat, 04 September 2012 - 11:25 AM.

#5 cira

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:23 AM

biggrin.gif well written.

#6 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE (BetteBoop @ 04/09/2012, 11:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've written a letter to Tracy too.

Dear Tracy

Bite my big, wobbly bum.


Amity's letter is good, but yours is more succinct.  original.gif

#7 ComradeBob

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:33 AM

Ah bless. I'm sure I could have lost all my baby weight too, if that were all I had to focus on, and had people around me to look after the baby, do the cooking and cleaning and all those other fun things that don't stop just because you've had a child.

#8 hiccamups

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:53 AM

I've written a letter to Tracy too.

Dear Tracy

Bite my big, wobbly bum.


You said it all so eloquently.  

If I hear another person trot out the "pregnancy as an excuse to let yourself go" thing again, I'm going to shoot somebody.  Maybe some of us are overwhelmed with low iron, fatigue, additional children, lack of support, financial stress, work obligations, family dramas, and who the feck knows what, and our bodies do become one our last concerns (aside from being generally healthy).  

I think some people use "pregnancy as an excuse to let their brains go".

#9 hiccamups

Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:56 AM

And these women are applauded and worshiped for returning to societies expectations of them - perfect and beautiful looking.  

No wonder young boys grow up with unrealistic expectations.  The media needs to become more socially responsible and put an article like that into a small, one column article lost somewhere in there with all the other useless information.

It's so degrading to women the world over, that this stuff graces the front pages, that we are forced to even talk about it.

What has feminism ever done to deserve this?  Now we have the 'freedom' to resemble the perfect yummy mummy, just weeks after dropping the load.

#10 CallMeFeral

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:06 PM

Dear Tracy
If the most important thing in life to me, was looking hawt, I'd probably find a way to as well, rather than 'letting myself go'.
Fortunately for me - I have better things to do.

#11 gabbigirl

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:07 PM

Nice letter, thanks amity.   Advice from celebrity mums is soo boring....

#12 WaitForMe

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:12 PM

6 weeks, ha! I hadn't even recovered from the injuries suffered from birth at that time!

#13 Zahhy

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (gabbigirl @ 04/09/2012, 12:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice letter, thanks amity.   Advice from celebrity mums is soo boring....

Too right!
Do it all without your armies of nannies, housekeepers and personal shoppers to help and pick up the day to day boring stuff that needs to be done, THEN I might place some value in your opinion of my post baby body.

#14 roses7

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:24 PM

Does it occur to people like Tracy that many women don't have anyone available to look after their newborn so they can go to the gym?

Not to mention many of us who had caesareans who were barely driving a car by 6 weeks post partum, let alone doing ab crunches  rolleyes.gif

Sure, encourage new mums to get out with the pram in the fresh air, it's great for your physical and emotional well being. But piling on the pressure to look fantastic within weeks of giving birth is just ridiculous.

Nice letter Amity, I wholeheartedly agree.

#15 Suz01

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:24 PM

Nice letter, on a different track - I'm looking to have baby #2 in November, and I found that I was still getting over the birth at 6 weeks, as well as the baby blues etc etc, but can anyone say what impact that type of exercise would have on your volume of milk?  I BF DD and what really held be back from exercise was a. time and b. milk production.  did anyone else find they could actually exercise and eat right and still BF?

PS. On the day I was discharged from hospital from having DD (8lb), I took some things down to the car and to get some fresh air and on the way back to maternity floor, a female ambulance officer asked when I was due....  so clearly I had a long way to go to getting post baby body back to pre baby body biggrin.gif

#16 Datrys

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:35 PM

In general, I agree.  I care about my appearance, but it's somewhere on my priority list between "make sure there's food in the house," and "remember to talk to my parents occasionally."  I also recognise that I can do a lot, but not all at once, and there's a whole bunch of other stuff which is going to be prioritised above torturing myself to someone else's timetable.

QUOTE (EBeditor @ 04/09/2012, 10:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We want to celebrate the amazing achievement of having a baby. We want to feel like superheroes. To be applauded and praised because a baby came out of our body.

This, however, makes me feel ill.  I do not want to feel like a superhero, or be applauded and praised for being a fertile mammal.  I'd like to be respected as a person, and the biology of parenting is a small and (to me) frankly rather off-putting part of the whole package.

#17 busy_bee

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:50 PM

I don't really remember the first 6 weeks after DS was born! With a baby that didn't sleep and getting back on feet again (after spending most of pregnancy needing a walking frame and then being bed bound) it has all been a blurr.

Somehow, I managed to get through that 6 weeks, do that data analysis for my Master's thesis and then get the thesis written and handed 3 months later.....no time for the gym, I'm still carrying a few extra kilos 16 months later.....BUT I will gloat in the knowledge that although I jiggle at the edges I still have a Master's degree and a great DS!

#18 Catbiscuit

Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:54 PM

The body stores fat as fuel for breast feeding. On purpose. Getting rid of all that fuel seems counter intuitive, and forgive me, but kind of selfish.

There is a big difference between a tasty balanaced salad after a nice walk for cardiovascular health and healing and the kind of strenuous exercise & extreme dieting that this mad trainer seems to favour.

#19 Nataliah

Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:28 AM

I find the whole 6 week timeframe a little hard to believe.  My personal trainer and I were only discussing this topic this morning during my session.  Her daughter is just about to turn one and my trainer is just now feeling like her body is back to what it was.  So for a PT who trains hard, has the time, equipment and expertise on her hands and was really lean before pregnancy its taken 12 months.  Six weeks is ludicrous....

I have zero respect for Tracey Anderson as a 'trainer' anyway.  She basically prescribes really low calorie diets and really light weights.  She was on Oprah saying that a woman should never lift a weight bigger than 3lb... puleeeese, my handbag weighs more than that.

#20 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 07 September 2012 - 06:51 PM

Nicely said again Amity. We don't always agree but we're usually in the same book if not on the same page.

My baby is 13 months and I'm seeing a dietician next week - that's reasonable no laughing2.gif

#21 Lulu Pumpkin

Posted 07 September 2012 - 07:35 PM

These celebs also have night nurses. They actually get to sleep through the night!

Does anyone remember photo spreads of them with their newborns? Do any of them look tired?


Are any of them sleep deprived and still looking after siblings, husbands, getting the dinner on, school runs.................don't think so.

I hold no value in anything they would say.

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