35 Women On The Weirdest Ways Their Bodies Changed After Having A Kid

Growing a human is a big deal. So why do we expect our bodies to “bounce back” like it’s nothing? In our survey of 500 Canadian women, 39 percent of moms said they’re insecure about their post-baby bodies, that they don’t look like other moms’ they follow on social media. As an antidote, we asked women to be real about how their body changed after baby. Here’s what they told us.
“The biggest surprise by far was the hair loss. Breast changes and stretch marks are natural and I feel can go back to normal, but the hair loss was extreme and shocking. It was terrifying as it happened (as it’s happening?!).” — Tasha, 36 
“I wasn’t the partner who carried our child, but I can still say that I have gained a little bit of extra weight since becoming a mom. Self-care has really gone out the window — we’re spending all of our time caring for our son. I’ll be chasing him around to make sure he puts sunblock on and then I’ll get a crazy sunburn because I didn’t bother for myself. Or we’ll be really intentional about feeding him a nutritious diet and then when he’s in bed it’s time to order a gluten-free Domino’s pizza.” — Kate, 36 
“With my first pregnancy, I lay around and ate whatever I wanted and I gained a ton of weight. And then with my second pregnancy I thought, okay, this time I’m going to be healthy: I ate well, I did a lot of swimming. And I gained two pounds less. I never did lose all of the baby weight, but I’ve never felt better. And luckily I no longer think of a protruding collar bone as something worth envying.” — Maggie, 35 
“I’m someone who has always dealt with body image issues and insecurity. I remember I was getting dressed and my two year old looked at me and said, ‘Mama, is that your tummy?’ I said, yes and he said, ‘I like it.’ I can’t even explain how much I loved him in that moment.” — Franca, 41 
“I went up a shoe size, I have a gap in my once straight teeth and chunks fell out of my formally soft, thick, lustrous hair while I was dealing with postpartum depression. I could go on for days about the changes my body has been through, and it's been a work-in-progress getting back on track. All I can do is continue to take it one day at a time. Believe everything you read and hear about the changes that could happen! And be patient with yourself.” — Ann Marie, 44
“Everyone said I would bounce back. They lied. Everything just flopped forward.” — Linda, 28
“The lack of sleep made me look MUCH older, my boobs did truly sag after I weaned the babes, and my belly will always pop out where my uterus is. However, I actually feel more beautiful and confident in my looks. Having two tiny humans who think you are a queen and a hubby who appreciates you as a mother and wife makes you feel strong and sexy.” — Emily, 35
“My belly skin is looser, not as tight or flat. I also had lower back pain in the spot where the epidural was injected.” — Akilah, 39
“I didn’t know I could get stretch marks on my thighs.” — Bernisha, 36
“I didn’t snap back, but it hasn’t been the biggest priority. I’m so much softer than before, but I feel hella cute about it. My baby snuggles into my softness, and it reminds me that my body is made for love.” — Kim, 33
“My feet grew a size and never went back to normal. All those cute shoes? Done!” — Naomi, 40
“I was hoping my boobs would go back to a smaller size. And they have not. This is not a good thing. I was a G cup before baby. I'm further down the alphabet now…” — Gail, 42
“How should I put this: Everything gets worse when you’re older. During my first pregnancy I felt so vibrant and attractive. Everything went smoothly and my body more or less snapped back into shape. This time around, not so much. The fat just distributes differently. I have a fat pocket above my ass. How does that even happen? And my boobs! I’m not breastfeeding, but I still had to deal with my already large chest getting enormous. They’re pretty much at my ankles now.” — Lindsay, 40
“After two C-sections I have a perma ponch. I’m a one piece person now, but I think my kids give me a lot more joy than walking around in a bikini ever did.” — Aleks, 34 
“It was more about how my mind changed. The depression, the loneliness, the ‘none of you in this house understand what I'm going through so just leave me alone.’” — Camille, 37
“I’m no longer allergic to apples.” — Tanya, 40 
“I had a healthy, active pregnancy. Then I got sick about eight weeks after birth. The fatigue was overwhelming. I went to the doctor and learned I had anemia, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis. I honestly felt overwhelmed and worried I couldn't be a good mom because of it.” — Jaeda, 40 
“I have a lot more aches and pains. I’m far more susceptible to hurting myself if I'm not careful. Before it was about shoes that look good, and now it's about what gives me the best support.” — Meghan, 36
“One of the biggest surprises was how much my hips widened in order to give birth. During the last couple months of my pregnancy, I had terrible hip pain; I’d often wake up at night and they’d be burning. When I came home from the hospital I thought I looked amazing because I didn’t have that huge tummy anymore. Then a few days later I tried on a pair of my pre-pregnancy shorts and couldn’t get them up past my hips. That was a nice little reality check! But I was also surprised at how fast I regained the strength I used to have once I started kickboxing.” — Abbey, 26
“Everything is softer and squishier. I found the body-positivity community after having my first kid. I didn’t want to pass on the terrible dieting and body image-issues I had, and knew that I could only break that cycle through appreciating my body rather than trying to conform to a bull-shit standard. It’s a daily struggle but it’s helped free up so much mental energy for other things. But motherhood takes a physical toll! I have pelvic/hip issues from pregnancy and weird muscle imbalances from carrying around my kids. I’m trying to work on treating my body better, but it definitely gets pushed down the to-do list.” — Chelsea, 29
“I finally got hips! And I actually appreciated my body more after giving birth. I used to hate my muscular arms. Suddenly, these arms were prized possessions that could carry a car seat with an infant inside up and down stairs. This body birthed a human.” — Brenda, 35
“I came to have a new appreciation for my body because of what it did. However, my boobs were my biggest shock. While breastfeeding I was loving life with those things. Now they're belly-button scratchers.” — Cassandra, 28 
“I was surprised by how long it took to get my strength back. My back was killing for about a year while my core strength only very slowly increased.” — Felicidad, 35
“I just feel like I’ll never be happy with the way I look ever again. The way the fat redistributes makes no sense and all of my clothes hate it.”  — Dese'Rae, 36
“The biggest surprise for me was the fact that I remained pretty much the same after birth. I had my daughter young (at 17) and I assumed I would go through the transformation everyone speaks about after a baby. Hips get wider, breasts bigger, overall you develop into a more womanly shape. Not me. I still look and feel like prepubescent teen! Not a lot of women acknowledge the insecurities women like me feel.” — Hanan, 26
“I lost a lot of weight, and eventually weighed less than pre-baby. I couldn’t gain anything while I was nursing and I wasn’t happy with how I looked. Also, my boobs are smaller!” — Kayla, 24
“I couldn’t believe how much energy I lost. I had my baby at 44, so I guess that’s a big part of it. I also now have acid reflux. I carry around Tums everywhere.” — Melissa, 44 
“For the first two weeks I was just numb and indifferent. I wish someone had told me that was probably just hormones exiting my body. My body has never been fit, now it’s just less fit. It’s not something I’ve obsessed over.” — Marie, 39 
“I don't have abs anymore. I’ve been doing Pilates for years and I’ll do crunches to the point that I’m going to puke, but it’s just not happening.” — Indira, 39 
“My breasts didn’t work for breastfeeding, so that was pretty frustrating. ‘I have big boobs — they’ll work,’ is what I had always assumed. I still look pregnant! It’s been a month and I’m like, okay, why does my stomach still look like this. I try not to get too caught up in it. I’m a new mom — this is not the time for my eating disorder from the ’80s to rear its ugly head. I guess the only time it really bugged me is when we visited the midwife and there were other women there with babies as young as my son, and they didn’t look pregnant. My partner said it was because they were wearing flowy dresses, but I’m pretty sure he’s just being nice.” — Lindsey, 40  
“I have boobs now, which is a first. I will put on a bra and it actually serves a purpose.” — Ash, 35 
“I think we hear a lot about the pain around labour, but I definitely didn’t have any idea of how long it could go on afterwards. I was in excruciating pain for weeks. I couldn’t even go to those first doctors appointments because I couldn’t sit down in a car. People say you don’t remember the pain. I remember! It was so bad that I wasn’t sure I was going to have a second kid.” — Alanna, 36
“I’m actually fitter than before I had kids. My goals have changed, so it’s more about strength and wellbeing. The community around wellness and motherhood has been really great for me. I think I’ve been lucky to meet lots of fantastic women who share this desire to be well in body and mind.” Nat, 34
“Oh my god, the changes can be brutal. Like, varicose veins. I had to wear these horrible compression socks that go all the way up your calves — in Florida!!!” — Kelly, 36
“I was surprised by how quickly my body bounced back. Given my age, I was prepared for a different experience. I assumed I’d be one of those women who’s still joking about losing the baby weight 10 years later, but that didn’t happen, so that was a positive surprise.” — Sandy, 43 

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