While I was nursing my 11 week old at 3:44AM my fiancé shared this article with me about #fitmoms and I immediately wanted to write a response because I totally considered myself a #fitmom – that was like three months ago. That’s my #fitmomreality.
So this article, in summary, is basically highlighting the trend(?) of fit moms becoming internet famous #fitmoms because of their tiny baby bumps and super fit prego bodies. It gave me pause because I definitely used the hashtag fitmom, and I like to think of myself as a “fit mom”, but I was definitely not rocking abs of steel over my baby bump, and I definitely am not down with body shaming or body intimidation. I was under the impression that a #fitmom could be anyone who tried and I mean tried (not necessarily succeeded) in staying fit during their pregnancy and after. So, is #fitmom a real problem?
Not really. I don’t know every single preggo out there, but I did my best to join one million online and IRL prego support groups, and never once did I hear any moms-to-be bemoaning their lack of a washboard baby bump. Rather than longing for a tiny belly, the most common belly-size complaint I heard was from moms, who had tiny bumps, wishing it was bigger. One of my best friends had a tiny baby bump and had to suffer through months of people telling her that her baby was too small (by the way, they were wrong). It seems like most pregos want the “perfect”round baby bump that lets the world know that they’re expecting (if for no other reason than to finally get a seat on the subway!). Not all moms get that bump though because we don’t get to all wear one of those standard movie pregnancy costumes. So some moms may want a smaller bump, and plenty of moms out there are longing for a nice round belly, but I think the majority don’t care what shape their belly is as long as their baby is healthy inside.
This author does seem to be reacting a bit negatively to the general idea of staying fit while pregnant. She talks about wanting to just take it easy and get soft during pregnancy, which is fine (kind of), except she is throwing shade on the whole idea of being a #fitmom. No one thinks that pregnancy is a time to start going for major PRs and gains at the gym; however, staying active is recommended through out pregnancy because of the benefits to mom and baby. I definitely felt like staying fit through out my pregnancy helpped me get through labor which was like the worst best marathon ever. When I say “staying fit” I mean staying active, not staying my fittest. I mean walks, runs or stationary bike when possible, and like trying not to eat all the doughnuts. It’s hard though, you’re tired and hungry and sick and achy on and off for 10 months.
The internet can be a great place for encouragement and inspiration, and I think that a proud workout selfie with a #fitmom tag can help connect you to the other #fitmoms doing their best to drag their butts out of bed and move when they just want to practice balancing a milkshake on their belly. Now that I’m a post-prego #fitmom, I still need to toot my own horn a little when I find time to leave the house and exercise when I just want to use my free time (haha) to nap, or eat with two hands, or stare at my baby like a creeper.
But, could #fitmom be a real problem? Yes, of course. Not only is the goal of being a super fit preggo potentially unhealthy and unrealistic, but it’s also an added stress post pregnancy. I definitely struggle with this side more – I feel a real (self-imposed) pressure to lose my baby weight and regain my pre-pregnancy fitness. I don’t think this pressure is all bad – I mean, no one should eat the number of doughnuts I want to eat, and eating healthier is good for my baby since she gets what I get, but stressing about my actual weight and body shape (though hard to avoid) is a waste of stress. Post-pregnancy is a time of SO much stress and emotion because of all the hormones and of course the reality of keeping a tiny human alive, if unrealistic #fitmom expectations are adding to that stress, then yeah, it’s a problem.
I’m trying to embrace my #fitmomreality which means sometimes I’m a #notsofitmom, sometimes I’m a #lieonthecouchmom or a #eatallthesnacksmom. My fit mom reality right now means I’m going to do my best to be active when I can and I’m going to try to pat myself on the back even when my best isn’t what I want it to be. My fit mom reality is ab separation, and unwieldy new boobs, and run/walking, and a suspended gym membership, and eating all the snacks, but trying to keep the snacks healthy, and sometimes a little pee, and slow improvements, and new post-baby-PRs. I think #fitmom can be a washboard baby bump or a soft squishy post-baby everything and there is no shame in any of it. So, I’m going to keep being a #fitmom , whatever that means.