Blue Ivy Carter’s mama stepped out on the town twice this week to support hubby Jay-Z’s back-to-back performances at Carnegie Hall and she looked stunning both times. Not just okay, not pretty good for someone who just had a baby — she looked amazing.
The first night, Beyoncé rocked a figure-hugging Alice by Temperley red dress that showed off her newly plumped “girls” and the second time she donned a dark, sequined, figure-flattering creation from Monique Lhuillier.
Sure, Spanx likely helped make Beyoncé’s first post-baby pics a smash, but that alone does not account for that hour-glass figure. The first question everyone asked was: “How did she lose the weight?” Baby Blue is only a month old, after all. Those who cling to ridiculous rumors will say Beyoncé just took out the “pillow.” Those with sense may sincerely wonder how a woman could look so together so soon after giving birth. Is it even possible to change one’s body that drastically in such a short amount of time in a healthy way? The honest answer to that is… it depends.
“A lot of postpartum weight loss has to do with genes or the individual woman. Some women will look like they were never pregnant shortly after delivery, while others will struggle with weight loss,” said theGrio.com’s health editor Dr. Tyeese Gaines. “A fair amount of women actually never lose all of the weight and they bring that weight into their next pregnancy, with more weight gain on top of it.”
For those who have to put in a bit more work to shed the baby weight, there are restrictions, especially for women who have had c-sections. “A cesarean (or c-section) is a major abdominal surgery. The woman’s muscles and uterus have stitches holding them closed where the baby came out. Until that fully heals, that new mom doesn’t want to be lifting anything much heavier than the baby or pushing herself too hard,” Dr. Ty explained.
So even if you have all the motivation in the world to get back to your pre-baby shape, you might have to wait several weeks or even longer until your obstetrician gives you the go ahead for exercise. That goes for new moms who have had vaginal births as well.
Trying to emulate someone else’s weight loss can have dire consequences physically and psychologically. Engaging in vigorous exercise before those stretched abdominal muscles have properly healed can have painful consequences. Additionally, anticipating a dramatic weight loss will likely lead to disappointment.
“The biggest blow postpartum when it comes to weight tends to be body image. No new mom wants to be mistaken for pregnant weeks after having a baby,” Dr. Ty said. “Adding extra pressure to get back to her pre-pregnancy body in say, eight weeks, is only a setup to disappoint someone who is already hormonal and prone to postpartum blues.
“That being said, watching television or celebrity icons meet those typically unattainable goals makes it even harder,” noted Dr. Ty.
The bottom line is that it’s not good to base your personal body image and expectations (especially during and after pregnancy) on another person, whether it’s Beyoncé or the woman down the street. That is, however, easier said than done. No one is completely immune to societal pressures and cultural beauty standards. Black women in particular have never had an easy road when it comes to body image. When big lips, ample behinds and tanned skinned fall out of favor in the mainstream media (and they will), we black women will still have those features and will simply have to find a way to keep appreciating our beauty.
In the meantime, find ways to make your own life as healthy and joyful as possible. Happy, smart people don’t have the time or interest in spreading insensitive rumors about celebrities.
Most women do not (and could not) have Beyoncé’s pre-pregnancy body, so it’s not a stretch to assume that her post-baby figure is equally unattainable to the masses. Beyoncé comes from a different gene pool and tax bracket than most of us anyway — her resources are a tad different. Let’s just accept that and move on.
Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope