“A lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to let their bodies go, and that’s the worst thing…I’ve seen so many women who come to me right after [having children] with disaster bodies that have gone through hell, or they come to me years later and say, ‘Oh, my body is like this because I had three kids.’” – Celebrity Trainer, Tracy Anderson.
I know that she has since apologized for appearing to judge moms, but I thought I should write this as a woman who did “let herself go.”
By now I guess you know that there are, perhaps, three topics that you shouldn’t broach when you know your words could be heard by an audience of people who will not agree with you– abortion, religion, and what becomes of a woman’s body when she has children.
As a mom whose had two children, when I heard your comments I, like many men and women in America, was appalled.
“How dare she call a woman’s body a ‘disaster’!”
“How dare she not allow women the right to say that it’s a beautiful pregnancy that’s made their bodies look like ‘disasters’!”
“How dare she judge!”
But then I got off my high horse and remembered how during my first pregnancy, my pregnancy was my excuse, and a darn good one, to eat everything I wanted in the name of a good cause. And it was a good cause. Having a baby is a good cause to gain weight. You must gain weight to support your pregnancy and your health during and after a pregnancy.
But…there’s another side of that.
I don’t think I looked like the “disaster” you had in mind when you made these comments, but I did begin down a spiral of self-less abandon during my pregnancy that was tied to food…and how much I ate of it.
I gave all of my body to to my baby in pregnancy. Or that’s what I said in different words because that’s what I thought that my baby needed of me. No, I take that back, in part. That’s what I thought I, as a new mom, needed of me. That’s what I, as a new mom, assumed was expected of me. To lose myself.
But then when I had my first baby, and it was just me in my body and I began to feel anxious about my new identity as a woman, the other message kicked in. Then I switched gears from being okay with losing myself to grasping tightly to the idea that all would be lost if I lost myself.
The not wanting to “let myself go” thing was like a mantra that played in my head, daily. It was the thing that inspired me to fight the crazy fight that I felt I had to fight at 6 AM every morning in order to maintain the parts of me, not the mother me, but the “real” me, that, I assumed, mattered most to defining me.
But, even in losing the weight, I was still changed.
My belly button still stuck out weird and my breasts looked different. Oh, and my life? Well, yeah. I was a changed woman. The woman I was before children was still there, but mostly, I was someone else.
That women will lose themselves and become something more beautiful, I think, is what’s missed in conversations on what celebrities look like in a bikini after a baby and “letting yourself go when you have children.”
From my experiences with my first and second pregnancy, I can say that I agree with you, in part.
So, Tracy, I did let myself go. It wasn’t the worst thing, it just was. My body and I, we became something else, that I’ve learned to love and embrace and honor. I lead a healthy lifestyle not from a desire to become the “self” I once was, but from a desire to be the most beautiful form of”self” I am today.
Thank you for listening.