Motherhood is all about evolving – evolving to bring forth a new being, to be a nurturer and a carer for life. This evolution also brings about a lot of changes – physical, emotional, personal, and social. And sometimes, physical and emotional changes or social expectations can get a bit overwhelming.
As I write this piece, I am still marvelling at the sheer joy of holding a little baby. I didn’t believe there could be a bliss greater than this. But after I had settled down enough to have an interface with the outer world, something struck me. I started looking at things within the context of my newly acquired motherhood and found that we mothers are under too much pressure and scrutiny – pressure to reach a certain body ideal. Newspapers, magazines, superstores, parenting sites, and even the gourmet food outlets are offering suggestions and solutions for your pregnancy and post-pregnancy weight gain.
While I didn’t pay much attention to all these things earlier, it did start to affect me a little. When I saw celebs or the mums around me holding up the image of a ‘yummy mummy’, I realized that maybe they were a step up on the ladder, raising babies and trying hard to lose weight, be healthy and active, thereby maintaining their style and charm.
I really thought it was an emergency, where if I became happy and settled with my postpartum weight, I would be forever obliged to keep it as my life-long, loyal companion. So, I had to do something about it.
For the firsts, I joined one of the expert programs that claimed to transform a new mum into her pre-pregnancy shape. It boasted of nutritious meal plans specifically designed for aiding weight loss alongside expert advice, reviews on progress made, tips and pointers from the successful ones, and many more things.
I imagined myself walking my baby in the park, snug and attractive in fitted clothes, and I jumped into the program with a firm resolution to lose the excess weight.
However, within two weeks of trying it out, I was more exhausted than ever. The pressure of continuously monitoring what I cooked, what I ate, how much I walked, how much I slept or how much I delegated work to someone else to give myself time for a workout, was getting a bit too regimental. With the new baby, my days were already an arbitrary mess. Taking care of the little one and looking after the household chores took enough of a toll on me and following a strict weight loss program thereafter felt too stifling.
I have always been fairly active – walking about 8000 steps, running errands, cooking meals, doing housework and carrying a little baby for almost all his waking hours is no less than a workout. So, when I restricted my dessert cravings or indulgences during elaborate family dinners on holidays, I wasn’t being fair on my tired mind and body.
I also understood that the celebrity mums who flaunted their bodies had a staff support that made workouts or eating certain diets a possibility for them. Even the mothers, who were like me, without outside support were being victims of body shaming, which forced them to try too hard and feel miserable once they failed.
Of course, I don’t endorse being a couch potato and gaining weight over a pack of munchies when the baby is sleeping. I definitely support weight loss and staying in a healthy shape. But it has to be an organic process – slow, steady, consistent, and natural. If I rush into it, I might do myself more harm than good.
My baby looks perfectly blissful cuddled into my squishy tummy, my husband doesn’t give a damn about my weight, and I am in my happy space. I wonder if I really need to worry about some extra inches that I am sure will go away gradually. When my body is less tired, my baby is a little bigger, I will have a more regulated schedule and a little more time for myself.
Till then, I am enjoying, basking, and evolving through this beautiful experience of motherhood!