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The One Thing I Don't Want to Talk About After Birth

Photograph by Twenty20

In August, I will give birth to my third baby. So I am pretty well-versed in how this whole postpartum thing will work. I will spend a week in bed, maybe more, soaked in breast milk and dozing off between feedings. My amazing friends will bring me awesome, home-cooked meals. And, without fail, at least one Beach Body, It Works, or Isagenix rep will message me about their solution for my new body problem. I will ignore their messages and happily slip back into my maternity jeans for weeks, maybe months, after I give birth.

My postpartum body isn't broken. And I don't need wraps or shakes or DVDs to fix my soft belly or aid me in buttoning my pants.

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I am not trying to be difficult or rude when I deny your requests for free samples or a trial membership. I am not at all trying to knock your efforts to make an income while staying home with your kids. I am simply asking you to pick a new target customer, because I don't believe there is anything wrong with my four weeks postpartum body.

Trust me, I didn't used to feel this way. After my first, I was enthusiastic about buckling down and getting my body back. I believed that my postpartum body was something that needed to be fixed and I did the whole dieting while breastfeeding shuffle. I was exhausted, underfed, moody and struggled relentlessly with a low milk supply. And then, I swore I wouldn't do it again.

This new body, soft as it may be, isn't broken. It gave me three children.

I promised myself that next time I would really care for my postpartum body. Instead of a diet disguised as healthy eating or a much too ambitious exercise program, I would be eating every single time I am hungry. I would opt for a slow walk around the block over a bootcamp or I would skip exercise altogether and fall into bed an hour early. More than anything, I promised myself I wouldn't be talking about my postpartum body.

This season, right after giving birth, is difficult enough. There are sleepless nights and fluctuating hormones. Most of us are heading back to work too early because of a lack of paid leave, others are juggling toddlers along with their new babe. The last thing I plan to do is make my life any harder by focusing on fixing my body when it was never broken to begin with.

If you want to talk to me about my life after the birth of my third, ask me about my baby. Ask me how I am feeling, if I need anything, if I am managing to get a few quiet minutes alone each day. Ask me if I have been able to escape for an hour for some time alone with my husband or to grab a glass of wine with a friend.

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But don't ask me about my jeans. I don't want to talk about how far I am from my pre-baby weight or if I have been doing anything to lose the weight. Don't ask me if I am making time for exercise or if I want to try your meal replacement shakes. I don't want to see before and afters of a mom who is just like me.

There is nothing wrong with my body. It doesn't need to be fixed or disciplined into submission. I don't need a cleanse or supplement to get back to my old self. This new body, soft as it may be, isn't broken. It gave me three children. In return, I will be kind to this body and care for it with rest, healthy food and little indulgences. It's the least I can do.

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