The Postpartum Rules for Not Totally Hating Your Fourth Trimester


a new mom takes a photo of her postpartum body in the mirror at the hospital

This is my second postpartum period, and this time I’m committed to doing it differently. With my first babe, I was determined to bounce back. I wanted to fit all my old clothes. I wanted to look the same. I wanted people to look at me and think, “Wow, she bounced back so quickly!!” I gave myself a 6-week grace period after my son was born then after that, I joined Weight Watchers, and I hit the treadmill. Over the following year, I tried every kind of diet plan under the sun. I berated myself for not being the half-marathon runner I once was. I counted calories, a practice that I’ve since decided is really bad for my mental health. I did all these things and still couldn’t come within 10 pounds of my pre-baby weight. It killed me. I cursed pregnancy for how much it changed my body, not just weight-wise but physically. My hips, my boobs, my stomach, my butt … everything was just different.


A little after Dom turned one, I decided I needed to change my mindset. I decided that I was done dieting and hating my postpartum body. This didn’t mean I was going to go on a junk food bender, but if I did have pizza a few nights a week for dinner, so be it. I was going to love and take care of my body as it was. 


Fast forward to today, and I’m postpartum with my daughter. During my pregnancy, I knew I didn’t want my little girl to grow up with body issues, and I also knew that started with me. I couldn’t hate on my body after it made my two greatest loves. So I signed a contract with myself. The Postpartum Contract. The rules are as follows:


Rule #1 – There’s no such thing as bouncing back.  We should honestly take “bounce back” out of the postpartum vocabulary. I understand this is super important to some women, and for those that can mentally handle it … get it, girl! But for those who can’t, this is simply permission to not. 


Rule #2 – Work out because I love my body and value its ability to move, not because I hate it and need it to change. Pretty self-explanatory, I’d say. 


pizza on a cutting board with a glass of white wineRule #3 – No fad diets or dieting programs. I will try my best to eat mostly healthy, but should I want pizza, fries, and wine one night, then I shall have pizza, fries, and wine that night. Life is too short, and momming is too hard to deprive myself of things I love (in moderation, of course).


Rule #4 – No body negativity. There shall be no smack talking on this body of mine. I will try to always remember what it did! As my coworker once said, “My hips aren’t the same, but I got a new wardrobe out of it!” 


Rule #5 – Spread love to other mamas. No mom is an island! We all need reassurance from time to time. I promise to always remind moms of the true beauty found in their strength. 


the words love yourself etched in a concrete sidewalk


Now I know this contract will be hard to follow on some days, but I’m committed! Day after day, I’m going to make the decision to love my postpartum body just the way it is. I hope you’ll join me!