Until recently, Jessica Biel didn’t know a lot about reproductive health. “When I was thinking about starting a family — I mean, obviously I know how to do it — but I didn’t quite know how to do it,” the actress admitted on Tuesday during The 2018 MAKERS Conference.
But it’s what came after she gave birth to son Silas, now 2½, that was a “real shocker.”
“This idea of ‘I need to lose weight as fast as I possibly can and be skinny again and look fabulous again,’ and there’s so much pressure from outside and it’s kind of like this mom competition to see how fast you can be skinny and it’s actually the worst possible thing you can do to produce a future baby,” she said.
However, Biel’s not the first celebrity to speak out about the pressure moms feel to drop their post-baby pounds. Keep reading for more from Pink, Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, and other prominent parents.
In a mirror selfie from the gym shortly after having her son Jameson, the singer shared on Instagram, “Would you believe I’m 160 pounds and 5’3″? By ‘regular standards’ that makes me obese. I know I’m not at my goal or anywhere near it after Baby 2 but dammit I don’t feel obese. The only thing I’m feeling is myself. Stay off that scale ladies!”
“You have to remind yourself that everything takes time. I feel bad for those women who are desperate and want to bounce back three months after having a baby,” the actress said after having her twins. “It’s more like — ‘Breastfeed! Stay home! Sleep! Your kid is only 3 months old, what are you going to the gym for? Catch up on f—king reruns of some sort!’ I definitely took a break and trusted that my body was going to bounce back when it was ready. I never wanted to push myself.”
After the Scandal star’s manager made a comment about Washington returning to her pre-baby weight, she clapped back. “She meant it as a total compliment, but we had this great conversation where I was like, ‘You know what? I try really hard not to use that language, because it’s not about going backward in life,'” she told Self. “I’ve been really focused on not being ‘back’ to anything, but being the best version of myself right now.'” She added, “My body is the site of a miracle right now. I don’t want to be pre-miracle.”
“After I had Saint, I decided to set goals for myself,” the reality star wrote on her blog. “I was motivated, but it was tough! It isn’t easy to just bounce back. I was so jealous of women who had these cute little baby bellies and would gain 25 pounds — and then, a few weeks after giving birth, somehow look exactly like they did before they were pregnant… That’s not me… As North gets older, she’ll start to be more aware of herself and her body. Her attitude toward her body is directly related to my own, so it’s my responsibility to make sure she understands that positive body image comes from having a healthy self-esteem. We all have our hang-ups and things we might want to change, but my curves make me who I am. So I embrace my body and the changes I’ve gone through. If anything, those changes remind me of what I’m able to create with my body: two little angels that I love beyond words.”
“I have to say, as a woman, you hate certain parts of your body. You go through those periods where you look in the mirror and you think, ‘Oh, if only I had different legs or arms or whatever,” Knightley told ELLE Magazine in September 2015. :You go through pregnancy and labor and then feeding the kid and you go, Wow, my body is totally amazing, and I’m never going to not like it again, because it did this, and this is fucking extraordinary.”
“There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever),” Hathaway wrote on Instagram. “There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer’s are just too dang short for this summer’s thighs. Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It’s all love (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.) Peace
“After making two babies, holy cow, does your body do some crazy stuff! It’s hard to stay positive and love yourself,” Barrymore told Glamour in 2015. “You feel like a kangaroo with a giant pouch; everything’s saggy and weird. But you think about how beautiful it is that you’re able to make children. When I lose sight of that, I exercise, read Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and spend time with my kids. Then I start to see things that are bigger than myself.
“I’m still 15 pounds heavier so it’s nice that people think I lost my baby weight,” the Gossip Girl said in 2015, according to the BBC, after giving birth to her first daughter James. “I still haven’t lost a pretty good chunk of it, but it’s also the pressure—who cares? There’s pressure to lose it, or women are supposed to look like they did when they were 19 right after you give birth to your child, I think it’s silly.”
She also said in an interview with Yahoo Australia, “It’s so unfair though, because it’s so celebrated,” she said. “It’s like, this is what someone can look like after a baby. I think a woman’s body after having a baby is pretty amazing… You don’t need to be Victoria’s Secret-ready right away because you just did the most incredible miracle that life has to offer. I mean, you gave birth to a human being! So I would really like to see that celebrated.”
“I feel like we can be really hard on each other. That whole term ‘bounce back after pregnancy’? I don’t like that terminology,” Mendes said on the Wendy Williams Show in September 2015. “Look, if you get into the bikini two weeks after, good for you, but that wasn’t me. And that’s OK. I feel like we as women need to support each other more.”
When asked about the topic on The TODAY Show, Kristen Bell had the best response: “Who cares?” She continued, “I didn’t lose my baby weight for over a year. And when I look down, even now, at the extra skin on my belly, it’s a reminder that I’ve done something spectacular. It’s a reminder that I’m a superhero. And I’m proud of it.”
“So you feel the pressure because of what people write about you. Not that they’re personal attacks, but obviously, when you see “Hilary Debuts Post-Baby Body!” you want to tell people, ‘No, actually, I was just going out to get a coffee,'” she explained to Parents. “There are some women who look the same right after — I think they are freaks of nature! I don’t know how that happens. I’m not one of those people. It takes your body nine months to get there — really 10 months. So I’m trying to be patient but I’m working hard. And I think now more than ever, I appreciate my body and what it’s done for me.
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