How to Deal With Post-Pregnancy Body Critics
“So, when are you due?” Um, three weeks ago? Though you’re now getting firsthand experience with postpartum body changes, random people (like your two-year-old’s daycare teacher and the well-meaning barista at the corner coffee bar) seem to think you’re preggo. We’re guessing you love your killer curves, but it can still be stressful to stay polite with people who draw attention to your post-baby bod. If you think you might lose it if you hear “bet you can’t wait” one more time, take a deep breath: Even somebody following a model’s pregnancy fitness routine will love these tips for responding to those who are quick to point out that baby weight.
1. Go with it. Sometimes you don’t know the person well enough to bother with a real response. What’s more, they really do seem to mean well. A kindly, grandma-looking woman sitting next to you on the subway smiles and says, “How many more days? You look like you’re ready to have that baby any time now.” She’s not intentionally body shaming you. Is it worth the energy it would take to go into a whole “thing” right now? There’s no ill will, so it’s not the worst thing to simply smile and say, “Yep, any time now.” Then go back to your book or change the subject.
2. Tell it like it is. You’ve already had the baby, but not everyone’s in the loop. Maybe you ran into your barely-an-acquaintance coworker, and she doesn’t know that the big day already happened. She’s never been pregnant and doesn’t realize that “baby” weight is more than the baby, so she makes a bit of a blunder. Just say with a smile, “Last week!” (or whenever it was you delivered). Put a time stamp on it to let her know the due date is history. If she feels a little awkward, it might help her learn to not make assumptions next time.
3. It’s a perma-bump. Yes, you have a “baby” bump. No, there’s no baby in there. You had an entire other person inside of your abdomen for most of a year! Unless you’re a supermodel or an Olympic athlete, chances are that your bump will stick around for a while. If this isn’t your first pregnancy (or you had multiples), that bump could stay for even longer — or maybe you’ve always had a belly. Give yourself a break: You’re the only one who can decide what your body should look like and what (realistic, not plastic surgery) timeline it should change on. A sweet but firm “It’s a permanent fixture of my mom bod” gets the message across in a way that reminds them you’re in charge without making things too serious.
4. These clothes are comfy. You got asked for your due date again, which as of three weeks ago isn’t so much a “due date” as it is a “birthday.” Getting tired of people looking at your maternity wear and thinking that you’re still expecting? Respond by sharing, “I just like feeling comfortable.” It’s a light way to take the focus off your still-there belly — and a chance to brag on your no-doubt excellent wardrobe.
5. Laugh it off. You shouldn’t expect to lose baby weight right away: It’s just not realistic. Why leave in a huff or secretly cry after the offending person is gone when you can laugh their question off with a silly response? Let that comedian inside you come out to play. Instead of dragging yourself through another tedious lecture on the typical timeline of weight loss after giving birth, come back with, “I’m not pregnant — I did eat the whole cake though!”