While eating disorders have many causes, one of the most powerful in women is the pressure they feel to meet certain body shape expectations. When we talk with people pursuing anorexia recovery in Roseville, and help with other eating disorders as well, we point out that while those expectations are unfair and unreasonable, they can still have an impact on the person who faces them. The postpartum period after a woman has given birth can be especially stressful.
Knocking Down Harmful Post-Pregnancy Statements
There are a number of things that people tend to say to a woman after she has had a baby that, although they may be well-intentioned, are not helpful to the new mom. Some of the more common statements are below.
“You need to get your body back.”
No, you don’t. You may choose to work at losing the weight you put on to support your unborn baby, but the expectation that you must do so is wrong. For many women, pregnancy produce body changes that become the new normal, and there is nothing wrong with that. The stress produced by worrying about getting back to some pre-pregnancy ideal isn’t healthy for mom, baby, or other loved ones.
“You need to breastfeed. It will help you lose your baby weight.”
It’s true that breastfeeding increases your caloric output. However, how it affects body shape is different for every woman. And, the decision to breastfeed (how much if at all, for how long, etc.) is a very personal one that should not be influenced by someone’s insistence that you do it.
“Check out that new mom. It’s like she was never pregnant.”
Here again, the goal to look like you were never pregnant can be a very harmful one, both emotionally and in some cases physically. What you should really be striving for is getting your overall health and energy level to where you want it to be for your own good and that of your baby.
A Commitment to What Matters Most
New moms have a whole host of challenges ahead of them as they work to ensure that their baby gets off to a happy, healthy start in life. They also have the potential for developing postpartum depression. Pressure from a spouse, friends, or family to “get fit” is not helpful and can cause significant harm to a person who may already be experiencing a great deal of stress. If you know a woman who has recently given birth, we encourage you to help her stay focused on optimal wellness for herself and her baby.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder — related to pregnancy or otherwise — our anorexia recovery in Roseville can help. Contact us today at 916-784-1120 to learn more.