The ‘Baby Weight’ is My Baby’s Jungle Gym

“Ugh, I hate that extra fat,” I thought to myself, moving her away from it. But then I looked up and saw her content face and felt her feet at my belly.
postpartum weight loss

Josefine is starting to come alive. Less like the fragile, sleepy newborn we took home on St. Patrick’s Day and more like a ‘real baby.’ Her eyes are always scanning and searching, taking in this brand new world around her. And most of the time, they’re locked on her dad or me. 

I watch in amazement as she studies my face and gives me a gentle, sweet grin. If I’m lucky, she’ll talk to me in a series of soft coos and gurgles; her big, blue eyes shining in delight. She’s discovered her hands and grasps at everything—her mouth, her bib, her onesie. But my favorite is when she reaches for my finger while she’s enjoying her bottle.

After weeks of struggling to breastfeed, another few weeks deciding to switch to formula, and more weeks of releasing the mom guilt, it’s a little way we now connect during feedings.

Most recently, she’s decided she likes to ‘stand’—and her dad and I will hold her up while she presses her feet on the kitchen countertops, the couch and, of course, us. The first time I tried it, she wiggled her toes into the extra ring I now have on my postpartum stomach, and my initial reaction was to wince. It wasn’t ‘tucked in’ to my leggings or contained by my three-day-old sweatpants.

“Ugh, I hate that extra fat,” I thought to myself, moving her away from it. But then I looked up and saw her content face and felt her feet at my belly. And I thought to myself, “That tummy gave me you.”

I let her continue dancing on my abdomen, and I felt a new weight of motherhood fall on me as I realized I’m not only a mom—but a mom to a daughter. Right now, she’s almost seven weeks old. But one day she will be seven, seventeen and 27—all ages I remember: climbing trees, then trying to climb into skinny jeans, then climbing for the ‘perfect’ size and shape.

The way I talk about myself—and particularly, my body—will become the first words she uses to describe herself. How I define my self-worth will be her guiding outline. How I discuss food and fitness, weight and confidence, will narrate her inner voice. I can’t protect her from society and headlines, but I can keep her home a safe haven of acceptance. And maybe her clean slate, her new beginning, can be healing for me.

Because Josefine doesn’t care about that ring around her mommy’s belly—it’s her jungle gym. She doesn’t see the postpartum acne that’s dotted along my jawline—it’s just her mom’s face that she’s only now starting to see clearly. She doesn’t care about the stretch marks—it’s just what covered her first home—my womb—so she could grow big and strong.

After being cleared for exercise last week, I worked out for the first time since birth today. I woke up excited—albeit a little nervous—and, afterward, I felt rejuvenated. Sure, I’ve lost some endurance, but I pushed through. I did it. It felt like I got a little piece of me back.

I came upstairs, and picked up my baby as I told her, “Mommy is getting strong again, JoJo!” And while, yes, I’ll hopefully drop some weight, I want her to know that it’s not about the number on the scale, the size of a pair of jeans. the perfect hourglass figure or the slimmest everything.

Fitness makes me happy—and it gives me the ability to push her in the stroller, hold her high up in the air as she likes, kneel on the floor as she does tummy time and cradle her when she’s lonely or hungry.

While I may tell her all the time she’s the most beautiful girl, I also tell her she’s curious. She’s strong. She’s loving. She’s brave.

She looked at me and didn’t see the sweat pouring off my face, the subtle shake in my legs, already sore from a day back at the gym. She didn’t care that my arms weren’t toned and my sports bra was two sizes bigger than it was pre-pregnancy. She just saw her mom, and she gave me a smile. It was her own quiet form of saying, “You got this, mama.”

And guess what? I do. Because I’m curious about my postpartum body and how it will take form. I’m strong—my body carried and gave birth to my littlest love. My greatest gift. I’m learning to love my new rolls and creases, stretch marks and changes. And I’m brave in this new body, this new identity.

I’m brave for me—and for my daughter’s self-worth. I’m brave because, well, I’m a mom. And I know if I can see myself through my daughter’s eyes and she can see herself through mine, we’ll both see what beauty is really all about.


  • Lindsay Tigar

    Lindsay Tigar is the co-founder of Mila & Jo Media, an award-winning journalist, two-time entrepreneur and mama to Josefine. She's also a parental leave certified executive coach. She's a frequent-flier, Peloton addict, and a coffee and champagne snob. Her friends are her family and her lifeline. Lindsay calls Asheville, NC home but spends much time in Denmark, her husband's home country.  Follow Lindsay on Instagram. and visit her website.

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