From Bethenny Frankel to Mariah Carey and Miranda Kerr, we constantly see a slew of Hollywood mamas go from pregnant to bikini-sporting perfection in a matter of weeks. Good for them, but it really sucks for the rest of us mortals, who beat ourselves up for not having the willpower to do the same. But they're far from the norm, and a new study proves it.
In fact, a new British study says it takes the average mummy a LOT more time than that to get yummy again -- and they're not just talking weight. In a recent study of 1,000 women, they looked at how long it took a new mom to get back her "mojo," which includes things like sex drive, energy, and yes, figure too. Instead of just mere weeks, they found it takes the average woman ...
An average of 409 days to feel like herself again. That's one year, one month, and two weeks, which is five months longer than most women thought it would take. Now THAT sounds a whole lot more reasonable, right? Of course, that's just the average, so it will take some women less time and some women more time, but I think it's important for women to know what "normal" is, because Frankel and gang aren't it.
It's not to discredit anyone for an amazing post-baby body. I've known more than a few women in "real" life who snapped back amazingly quickly too, but whether due to genetics, personal trainers at their disposal, or an army of nannies on call to watch the baby while mama works out, not all of us are blessed with the same advantages. And that's okay. Also, just because they're looking good on the outside doesn't mean they're not struggling with the other issues like exhaustion and lack of a sex drive.
Interestingly enough, the study found there was one thing that helped moms feel like their former pre-baby selves more than anything else -- finding a job that provided a good work/life balance. Personally, I think true work/life balance is nothing short of a myth, but I understand what they're saying about going back to work. I'm sure plenty of stay-at-home moms will disagree, but for some women their career can be an important source of their self worth, and getting a least a piece of that life back is sometimes what it takes to feel like themselves again.
The bottom line here is that for every bikini-clad celebrity you see holding her newborn looking fresh and unfrazzled, there are millions of other mamas out there, who are struggling to find their former selves -- physically and mentally. And that's okay. THAT's the norm for most. While the goal of snapping back into shape as quickly as possible isn't a bad one necessarily, and we should begrudge those who do, the fact is it can take awhile, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up if it does. For all of the amazing parts of motherhood, it's also incredibly difficult, and to think that our lives and bodies won't be affected by it in big ways and small is unrealistic and just setting ourselves up to feel like failures.
How long do you feel like it took you to get back your "mojo" after having a baby? Or, if you're pregnant, how long do you think it will take you?
Image via sebrenner/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside