I am a (almost) 50 year old woman. I have had 6 pregnancies, resulting in 4 live births and 2 very late (mid second trimester) miscarriages. My “babies” are now aged from 19 up to 25.
When I started having my children in the mid-80s I was considered to be slightly overweight (5-9 and 165lbs), after I had my first daughter (1986) I was 5’9 and (185) – try as I might I never lost that weight and was made to feel such a failure because of it. Forget that I was successfully breastfeeding this gorgeous little creature that I had successfully made and given birth to, all that was concentrated on was “getting back to normal” with absolutely no regard that – for me – “normal” would have to be redefined as I was now a mother and had done something amazing.
Let’s fastforward some 7 years and 3 more children (and 1 of those miscarriages) later and I gained another 5lbs with each of the pregnancies. EVERYBODY and I mean everybody was soooo concerned with how I looked – my own Mother was constantly nagging at me to “get back into shape” (forgetting the fact that she NEVER had!). I began to consider myself totally worthless.
I felt an absolute failure, all of my friends seemed to be able to do it and I couldn’t. I guess that started the terrible relationship with food that I have to this day. 20 years down the line and 1 Gastric by-pass later, I’m once again 165 and now I look at myself in the mirror and think “Ok, so not so good naked but GREAT clothed!” lol.
I really think that had I realised 25 years ago that it doesn’t all “go back to ‘normal’” and that I should redefine normal I’d have felt far less pressured.
I think younger women should realise that this is something that has been happening for generations – It’s great that women are becoming more open with each other.
With today’s scattered families, frequently we can’t ask our parents (I live in a different country from my parents) so we have to learn from other women.