Loving My “Mom Bod”

Black woman smiling while pushing a stroller down a city street

There is an overwhelming pressure to snap back after pregnancy. A pregnant body gets so much praise for its beauty and wonder. But once the baby is delivered and we still look pregnant days and weeks after delivery, the countdown clock begins ticking to get back to our pre-pregnancy body. It took us months to grow a healthy human, yet we must get back into shape as soon as possible? This pressure from ourselves, from family and friends, or from society is not in tune with reality.

Personally, it took me a whole year to even feel remotely like myself again in terms of my stamina and endurance. I was still not where I was before pregnancy, but I felt like I finally had ownership of my body again. Like many new moms, I struggled with the body I saw in the mirror. My body had physically changed in ways that will probably last forever, and I had to keep reminding myself that this body birthed a healthy beautiful baby girl.

Dieting after pregnancy never seemed right to me. Why would I restrict or punish myself as a consequence of being pregnant? This is when my idea of “fit” began to transform. No longer would it be defined by drugstore magazine covers. I wanted to be the mom who could pick up her fast-growing little human, chase her down as she runs through the aisles of Target, or push her up hills in her stroller during neighborhood walks. How would six-pack abs or a particular number on the scale guarantee I would be ready for these moments?

That’s when I decided it wasn’t about the glamour muscles anymore. I was already mom strong mentally, so it became time to physically embody mom strong. My focus shifted from diet culture to eating meals that filled me up to have energy for my day. My workouts transformed so I wasn’t worried about being a cardio queen who ran “x” amount of miles each week; instead, I focused on mobility, flexibility, and strength. Funny enough, even with this shift in thinking, I still experienced muscle toning and definition, but it was no longer the driving force behind my routine. I’ve learned a lot from becoming a mom, but I never expected it to teach me how to truly love my body.

With the season of pumpkin everything in full swing and the holidays approaching quickly, I’m not considering a new diet or fad lifestyle to survive the closing months of the year. I’m not considering another resolution to bring back my pre-pregnancy body from three years ago.

I’m a changed woman.

Instead, I’m committing to my health so I can have the endurance to stroll through the orchard for apple picking or zig-zag through the streets for trick-or-treating. Just as we get acquainted with a whole new life after becoming a mom, I embrace and honor the body I have today, in this moment. And frankly, I love it even more now than I did before.

Darcel Hunt-Finegold is a wife, mother, and life-long Bostonian. Her life passions are education and fitness. She is a proponent of public education and works as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Darcel's own personal health journey inspired her to earn a personal training and group fitness certification as well as create her brand, “Living the QuoBreaking Life.” She encourages women to step out of their comfort zone to create life by their design via mindset and fitness. Darcel loves to run, hike, cook brunch, and discover new places in the New England area with her daughter, husband, and Pomeranian, Brady.