Let me tell you a story...
She kept exercising five times a week and eating one salad a day throughout her whole pregnancy like a respectable lady ought to. Then she had a wonderful birth and the next week returned to her pre-baby body so she could continue her life as a professional fitness model as if nothing happened.
Her belly never resembled a cake sagging in the middle from overdoing the baking powder. She never once accidentally shat her pants or peed whilst reaching for a box of cereal in the supermarket, no way. And her baby was perfect and sleeping through the night by zero weeks of age, just in case you were wondering. And she lived happily ever after. The end.
So many normal and necessary changes happen to a woman’s body - and life - during pregnancy and after birth. And yet society and the media gloss over all the (literally) shitty stuff and instead feed us the unicorn fairytale version of what motherhood and parenting is "supposed" to look like.
No where is this more evident than in the whole idea of getting your "pre-baby body" back.
Diet culture is relentless in sending new mothers messages about needing to fix their so-called imperfections - that they need to "bounce back", lose the baby weight, and flatten their newly soft and stretched tummies within weeks.
Sadly, the way many new mums attempt to live up to this impossible standard is through restrictive dieting and over-zealous exercise, often taken on before the pelvic floor and abdomen have had a chance to repair. Neither of which are in the best interests of mum or baby, especially if mum is breastfeeding.