The Myth of Disappearing Baby Weight

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My youngest daughter, who is also my first biological daughter after years of infertility problems, turned 3 on February 20th and I still have yet to return to my pre-pregnancy body. I added 15 pounds to my clinically-defined-as-obese frame during the gestation, and another 15 during a very stressful maternity leave (a newborn with colic and a needy 2-year-old toddler, anyone?)

There’s also my baby pouch–the saggy potion of my stomach in which Jo-Jo grew; my droopy breasts; faded yet visible C-section scar; and the dark under eye circles that only becoming a parent can cause. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no such thing as a return to the pre-baby or pre-pregnancy body. It’s a myth Hollywood and the PR industry colluded with celebrities to conjure. The fashion and gossip mags made it into a competition between female celebrities and regular moms like us.

Normally, I could give a damn about the oldest Kardashian sister, Kourtney, but the mini-scandal revolving around her baby weight last month caught my attention. In short, OK magazine doctored a photo of Kourtney with her then-seven week old son. In the doctored photography, OK magazine editors allegedly removed the excess belly weight she was still carrying. To make it worse, they ran it with a story where Kourtney reportedly bragged about already having lost the baby weight (we adjusted the headline above to show the truth). Kourtney, outraged by the blatant falsehood, countered on Twitter and via a statement that she was too busy bonding with her newborn to even think about losing weight. Don’t fall for the lies, she basically said.

Although doctors and the medical community give new moms the okay to start resuming sexual intercourse six to eight weeks after giving birth, they suggest waiting at least 18 months before getting pregnant again. They also recommend waiting three to five months to resume exercising because joints and ligaments are lose, and abdominal muscles are still healing. With that many restrictions after giving birth, why would anyone think that a new mother should get back in the gym, diet and lose weight immediately after delivering a baby? Shame on you OK mag.

Feeling the need to clear up things further, Kourtney granted an exclusive interview with Life & Style magazine. The headline to the February 15th story read “I Haven’t Lost the Baby Weight–and I’m Not In Any Rush,” and the intro says that Kourtney doesn’t want to worry about “unrealistic weight-loss goals.” Well, hallelujah! I dove right into the article hoping that Kourtney will rip into Hollywood and magazines’ obsession with being unnaturally thin even after carrying a baby for 9-months. Life & Style quoted doctors whose opinions supported Kourtney’s “defiantly relaxed approach to weight loss.” Nutritionist Joseph Mutz of New York City said that trying to lose weight less than three months after giving birth “can slow or prevent the healing process from childbirth.” But it is here the story takes a 180-degree toward the negative.

Suddenly, Kourtney talks about ways to kick-start her slim down before her son is even 3-months-old. She starts hawking a product called a Belly Bandit which she poses in. Allegedly it shrinks the belly and reduces stretch marks. Ah, now we’re back to focusing on getting back to that annoying pre-pregnancy body obsession. Even worse, Kourtney goes on how she can’t wait to start taking the diet supplement QuickTrim and revving up her workout. How disappointing. She goes from being a champion of accepting one’s post-pregnancy body on one page to jumping on the bandwagon to rush to skinniness on the next.

Her mom, in an appalling sidebar, goes on to reveal how she worked out like a fiend to lose the 55-lbs she gained when pregnant with Kourtney in three months. Instead of sage and supportive words of wisdom about taking it slow, Mama Kris praises her daughter’s plan to use the Belly Bandit and QuickTrim. “She’ll be sexy Kourtney again in five minutes,” she finally says.

So much for destroying a myth.

pregnant woman holding up her pink shirt to show her belly

A wht shout-out to Rakisha for baring all and sharing this real life image from late in her pregnancy. Ladies, see that miraculous baby making machine your body morphs into over nine months? It’s not coming off in three. And why should you try and force it? Rest, lounge and pamper your body for as long as possible, you’ve just signed up for 18 years of hard labor! Besides, who’s looking at you? All eyes will be upon that adorable, teeny baby your body just produced.


  • brooklynshoebabe

    Mom of two girls and married for 17 years. A librarian with a love for red carpet shows, make up blogs, romance novels, fashion days on QVC and HSN, plus-size protaganists, and pedicures.


  1. Bravo Rakisha, these Hollywood women with miracle diets and plastic surgery irk me to no end. I was a teen mom and my poor body went thru a lot. I will never rid myself of the baby pouch and I have stretch marks like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll never see a bikini again but honestly I’m not to upset about that. I saw that Kendra from the Girls Next Door want to get plastic surgery ASAP to help her get her body back. She is being applauded by the media because she said “I’m not going all Heidi Montag”. Having a baby puts your body thru a major major change. It also changes you emotionally. Many women suffer from PPD and I believe that stress to lose baby weight may contribute to this a bit. Enjoy as many moments with your new baby as you can, don’t worry about those extra pounds. If you are able to breast feed, this does shed pounds naturally. Give it a year or two and you’ll lose more chasing the little one around once he/she starts walking. Being a mommy is beautiful thing even when you are in your house sweats, with puke down the front of you regardless of what you weigh.

  2. This was SO great, Rakisha. And I especially appreciate it as the boy and I are in baby talks at the moment. We’re going to try and do it right (well, right according to March of Dimes) so in addition to prenatals before I get pregnant and eating better, I’m also in the process of trying to lose weight for a healthier pregnancy. But my selfish and vain side is rebelling at the thought of losing weight to gain weight…and THEN I have to lose it again?? Boo.

    But it’s so great to hear baby weight talked about in real terms rather than Hollywood terms. After being pregnant for nine months the LAST thing I want is to have to strap myself in some compression band for weeks on end. Like your poor organs haven’t taken enough of a beating… I just want to be healthy post-pregnancy so I can have enough energy to chase around that mess of a child I know I’m going to have.

    Thank you for this post, Rakisha. And for showing such a great pregnancy picture of you! By that smile on your face I know you weren’t worried about anything but that baby you were carrying! :-)

  3. Yeah, those Kardashians are some trail blazers, eh?

    And how about that Octo-mom? Expecting us to believe she’s back in bikini shape without the aid of surgery. How could a body hold 8 children and “bounce back”? I don’t care how long you spend at the gym!

    Thanks for being so honest about it all Rakisha.
    .-= stef´s last blog ..Cooking 101 – Marinara Sauce =-.

  4. Rakisha, you sure seem like a fantastic person and a wonderful mother! Bravo to you for giving people the real story of motherhood and the body. Mothers and their bodies need a break for all of the awesomeness they have achieved.

  5. Another great article, Rakisha! This one hits close to home too for me, as I had a baby 7 months ago…and is that baby weight off yet? Heck no! I gained 50 pounds and have so far shed 30 of them, but that’s through no effort on my part. Those 30 came off almost immediately from the process of birth and from nursing. I’m still nursing, but still hanging onto 20 pounds. It’ll come off eventually I tell myself. I would’ve liked them to be gone by now, but I’m trying very hard not to stress about it, as my main job and focus has to be taking care of the little one now, and making her food! On one hand I feel a bit guilty I haven’t been to the gym and think it might have a LITTLE to do with laziness, but on the other hand, I’m worried that actually too much activity will interfere with my milk supply, that’s already drastically cut from going back to work – so that’s my excuse that I don’t have to worry about it much until after I stop nursing – probably when she’s around 1 year old! Also, I believe (as a religious science teacher) that our bodies are designed for this job perfectly. After the baby is born, nursing prevents (or is supposed to!) getting pregnant again, by not allowing the body to ovulate, and therefore not having a period. It also pretty much completely inhibits any desire to do those things that make you pregnant (at least in my case!!), and I figure I may not be as attractive to my mate – but that’s ok because then his desire is inhibited too! Point being, all these things work together to allow our bodies the time to heal and focus on and take care of the baby. Now, does it always work out perfectly like that plan? Of course not. And sure I’d love to look like the pre-baby me, but to do so right now I feel would be selfish on my part (ok and I’ll admit, I enjoy not being “able” to do it a little, too!!). Lots of good issues raised here to think about – thanks for another great one!

  6. Rakisha, your post is thought-provoking and inspiring, and I’m forwarding it to a friend who just had a baby and is already worrying about “shaping up.” Your photo is beautiful, too :)

  7. Rakisha, thats a beautiful baby belly you’ve got there! And you’re absolutely glowing! Great photo :)

    It’s reasons like this that I hate to read fashion or gossip magazines. One second they’re telling you how to love your body the way it is and on the next page is an ad for diet pills or the latest celebrity diet trend. Ugh! No wonder we get such screwed up ideas about our bodies and how we should look. And don’t even get me started on the whole “real women” bulls***! We’re ALL real women, regardless of our size or shape.

  8. Mel, I didn’t know you didn’t ovulate while you nurse? Shows how much I paid attention in Health class. Or know about having babies…
    But your theory makes total sense and is really pretty amazing when you think about it.
    .-= stef´s last blog ..Davines De Stress Yogurt Shampoo & Conditioner =-.

  9. Another great piece Rakisha with lots to think about! I hadn’t paid to much attention to the OK photoshop scandal – I thought Kourtney’s “rebuttal” in Life & Style was only about those cover images – how strange that she went on to shill diet aids and “spanx for new moms’. Ugg – I’ve worn those types of constrictors for maybe a total of 10-12 hours of my life – I couldn’t imagine wearing one all day, while caring for a newborn with a post birth body.
    .-= Tyna Werner´s last blog ..My mortifying first period story =-.

  10. Great post.. Sad but true..

    Just yesterday I saw a way too skinny new mom with her newborn in a stroller- I even commented to my friend that it’s just not natural to be so thin.. as we strolled back to the office with toppings and 3 quarts of Haagen Dazs Ice Cream for a birthday party in the office. You know, what matters is this.. You should want to be healthy more than look thin.. If you are someone that is just born that way, than good for you.. Others are not though, and that’s okay too.. The key to me is aiming at being healthy.. Phooey on those who think otherwise!

  11. Great photo, Rakisha! I’d totally be one of those obnoxious people that had to rub your belly like a genie lamp :)
    Melinda–be careful about the thinking you don’t ovulate when you breastfeed. That’s usually true when you’re breastfeeding around the clock, but typically, as soon as your period starts back, you’re ovulating again. My aunt breastfed my cousins and my youngest cousin was conceived while she was breastfeeding the middle one. That was a huge shocker for her :)
    I admire all of you mamas on here. I can barely handle two little dogs much less be responsible for keeping a tiny human alive!

  12. Thank you everyone for the praise and good words. :-) I was extremely thrilled in that picture, because I was going into the hospital in three days for a required C-section. My pregnancy was so high risk that I was happy to get to this point.

  13. Rakisha your girls are so lucky to have a Mom like you! And you look so happy and adorable in that photo!!

    This is such a great honest read..I can attest for most everything you see in magazines being fake! I used to work doing retouching and believe me there was some real Frankenstein work going on in photoshop. Totally taking pounds and wrinkles off before the photos went to press! Many of the photos we see of “stars” aren’t real at all.

    And now many of these ladies are going to the surgeon to match up in real life to what happened in photoshop… It’s so sad, the way the media, magazines etc put such an emphasis on the body.. like baby weight.. instead of celebrating the fact that new little lives are here! They mention the mothers body 250% more often than the fact a new human is here!
    It’s a sad state out there on magazine stands.

    Thanks for the honest write up Rakisha!! Love your WHT Blog by the way :)

  14. I know Krista – that’s what I meant by you’re “not supposed to” ovulate while nursing! Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen for MANY women – me included! I started my period 8 weeks after giving birth :-(((((. So yes, every doctor says DONT rely on nursing to keep you from getting pregnant – it’s a great design but probably does only work when you’re nursing every couple hours as you said.

  15. @Melinda, I was just about to comment about that. I had an associate who got pregnant six months after giving birthy because she thought she couldn’t get pregnant while nursing. O/T there is a hormone free IUD which is a no fuss birth control option, and is usually suggested to nursing moms.

  16. Great post! And you do look like a happy little lady in your photo Rakisha! :)

    I agree with you Christy, why aren’t we more focused on the little baby that came to the world? It’s such a miracle, much more incredible and note worthy than getting back to a size 0. (liars!) haha.

  17. Wonderful post Rashika. I will say the younger I was, the easier it was to shed that baby weight right after birth. With my first I was in my twenties and I didn’t do anything special to melt away the weight. With my second, I was in my thirties and it was so much harder. I had those extra 10-15 that just wouldn’t go away. I waited two years after my daughter was born to finally go on a diet which basically meant eating really healthy and exercising (two things I had gotten very lazy with). I did it the right way and didn’t starve myself silly. The weight finally came off and since hasn’t returned, but I did make some major lifestyle changes. My body certainly isn’t in the same shape it was before kids though and I don’t really care. I wouldn’t trade my children for anything. I’ll keep all my sags, stretch marks, and scars.

    I can’t even imagine being a celebrity with the pressure they have to stay skinny and look good every minute of the day. With every gossip magazine watching their post pregnancy weight the pressure has to be just crazy. I don’t envy them one bit and actually feel a tad sorry for them. Can you imagine if Heidi Klum had another baby and didn’t bounce back right in shape? The whole world would be talking about it.

    Raskisha I love your belly pic! Just gorgeous! Thanks for a great read.

  18. So grateful for someone speaking up about the realities of baby weight. Keeping in shape over 25 is hard enough and then pregnancy on top of it…there has to be some give somewhere. I think it is in our minds and with each other that this permission is granted.

  19. i’m not a mom yet, but i thank you in advance for this article :)
    i think kourtney is somewhat of an unlucky victim – she’s in the public eye, so if she’s realistic and carrying pregnancy fat all the women will appreciate that, but the media will really give her a hard time.
    plus, after hearing her mom (and watching her on tv) you see her role model and understand that she was raised like that… i didn’t mean to diss anyone, i just don’t think mama kris did a very good job.

  20. After reading Kris’ side bar, I wanted to shake Kris by the shoulders really hard. No slaps, no punches, just shake really hard.

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