In today's episode, we're talking about finding body neutrality after having children. We discuss the struggle to reconnect with our bodies postpartum, and how QUICKLY we are targeted by ads, social media, and society in general to try and ‘rewind the clock’ and fit into the version of ourselves we were before pregnancy.
In the first segment, you’ll hear from a handful of mamas as they share about their body image journeys - both before and after having children. As ALWAYS, thank you so much to these women for getting honest, getting vulnerable, and sharing a piece of their motherhood stories, so we don’t have to feel alone in ours!
My guest on the podcast today is Jess Brock-Pitts. She’s a licensed clinical social worker, turned certified personal trainer, and runs her own online fitness boutique called Enlighten Well LLC. She’s passionate about Health at Every Size, Intuitive Eating, and weight-neutral fitness/movement. This was such a great conversation, covering a wide-range of topics - from disordered eating, to C-sections scars, to the difference between body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality….I also ask Jess to share her tips for moms on mindset and mental health, particularly in this time when they are trying to find some sort of body neutrality. Click here to read her blog!
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LINKS FROM TODAY'S EPISODE:
Enlighten Well LLC (Jess’s business site)
@enlightenwell (Jess's Instagram)
Health at Every Size
Jess's 'Top Tips for Body Acceptance' - free downloadable PDF
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Rae Lynn Minke
HEY MAMAS, and welcome to Episode 8 of the Raise Your Hand Motherhood Podcast. I’m your host, Rae Lynn Minke, and today we’re talking about finding body neutrality, after having children.
In this episode, we’ll discuss the many different ways our bodies shift and grow and change and do frigging cool things during pregnancy......and we’ll also cover the pressures and challenges that many women face as a RESULT of these changes, both during pregnancy and in all of the stages that come afterwards.
Later in the episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with Jess Brock-Pitts - she’s a licensed certified social worker who pivoted careers and became a certified personal trainer. Jess trained and specializes in intuitive eating, body positive fitness, and the weight neutral movement (among other things) - and we talk about what ALL of that means in our interview together….it was a really interesting conversation, so make sure you stay tuned for it!
OK, Mamas - I’ll be right back….don’t go anywhere!
Did you know that the blood volume in a pregnant woman is almost DOUBLE that of a regular person?
Or that the body grows an entire ORGAN to provide nutrients and oxygen to the baby - thanks, placenta!
Or that hormone levels in your body straight up change to help relax your body and prepare for childbirth?
God - I could look up interesting facts about pregnancy and labor all day long….there’s certainly enough out there! How unbelievably STRANGE is it that a sperm and an egg can meet…..and, barring any unforeseen complications - less than a year later, a baby can be born?
But regardless of how cool the biology behind all of it is…being pregnant is an intense and body-altering process. Things change. Organs MOVE. Our bodies stretch, and shrink, and darken, and loosen….and some of it’s permanent, and some of it isn’t….and the process is different for EVERYBODY. Some of us gain weight faster than others during pregnancy. Some of us grow forwards, while others grow sideways, while others appear to have simply swallowed a tiny basketball. Some people get incredibly sick while others glow and radiate and exemplify the ideal pregnant person, by society’s standards. Some women, like myself, experience melasma and develop what’s referred to as a ‘pregnancy mask’ where the colour-producing cells in our skin create dark patches, most commonly on the face. Many women develop or see an increase in stretch marks, which are a result of tiny tears in the tissue when skin is stretched tightly. Some laboring women experience very smooth deliveries, while others experience a variety of physical changes postpartum, whether as a result of complications during or healing AFTER a vaginal birth or a c-section.
But EVERY woman is subject to the same societal pressure to ‘bounce back’ after having a baby. We’re considered quote-unquote ‘lucky’ if we don’t gain a lot of weight during our pregnancies…..and we’re praised if we’re able to ‘get back to our pre-baby’ body as soon as possible. We feel shameful if pregnancy doesn’t look ‘cute’ on us, like it does on so many social media influencers and celebrities.
Think about that.
Some women GROW TINY HUMANS in their bodies (from SCRATCH), and are made to feel shamed about the ways their bodies changed in order to make that miraculous thing happen! It’s a travesty!
And although there are probably mothers out there who are completely comfortable and at peace with their bodies after having children….the reality is that MANY MANY MANY moms out there are not. And with the way customized and targeted ads work nowadays in the social media we consume on a daily basis…..new moms can start getting harassed by diet pages, and magic pills, and how-to-lose-the-baby-belly solutions almost as soon as they get home from the hospital. It’s SO not OK.
I spoke with a few women about their changing body-image after having children.
(3 Mamas share their experiences)
INTERVIEW WITH JESS BROCK-PITTS
Jess Brock-Pitts may have taken an unconventional route to becoming a certified personal trainer, but her mission is laser-focused. She believes that EVERY body is worthy of love, respect, and dignity…just as it is. Jess aims to help women of EVERY size find or re-discover a love of movement, and believes that movement doesn’t have to be miserable in order to have health benefits. Let’s welcome Jess to the show:
Thanks for sticking with me ‘til the end, Mamas….and remember: you may feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfamiliar with your body after having children….but you are not alone in your experience.
I’m not trying to tell anybody what they should or shouldn’t do to feel better in their bodies, but I hope that today’s episode at least introduced you to the IDEA of health and happiness not being directly correlated to the number on that scale. Healthy is not one-size fits all….and although superheros don’t always have stretch marks or loose skin or wider hips than before childbirth, MANY of them do! So don’t forget it!
Thanks again to Jess and to the women who raised their hands and contributed their stories and experiences for today’s episode!
If you related to anything you heard in today’s episode, then I have one simple ask - share it. Share it on your social media, or tell a mom about it in your weekly baby group, or print out flyers and paper your local parks! (Laugh), you don’t have to do ALL those things, but why not share with ONE other mom you know, who’s experienced a similar struggle..
Alright Mamas - that’s all for today’s episode…..UNTIL NEXT TIME!
Hey Mama, thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the Raise Your Hand Motherhood Podcast - I made it for you, so I hope you enjoyed it! And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, so we can hang out again soon!
Mom in charge at Enlighten Well
Jess Brock Pitts is the founder and owner of Enlighten Well LLC, a virtual boutique fitness and wellness studio. She is an LCSW, with a background in alcohol and drug counseling, a mom, a powerlifter, and a gym class drop-out turned certified personal trainer & group fitness instructor.
In her therapy and mental health practice, Jess has specialized in working with people recovering from trauma and eating disorders. Jess is passionate about Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. When she discovered trauma informed strength training, she started incorporating those principles into her work as a personal trainer.
She loves the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a physical challenge. In her personal training and fitness programming, she emphasizes body positivity, exercising for health and enjoyment, and empowering other women who are fed up with dieting and fitness fads.
Jess is an ACE CPT & GFI, certified Girls Gone Strong Level 1 Coach, and holds several group exercise certifications, including Spinning. When she isn’t picking up heavy things and putting them back down, she loves hiking with her family.