Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Good Enough Mother came across something last week that nearly made her head spin right off its precarious perch. You know that Bravo reality show, Real Housewives of New York City? Well, one of the housewives, Bethenny Frankel, had a baby last month. First, a disclaimer. I have never seen one frame of this show because I am busy BEING a real housewife, carting kids to and from school and music lessons in an eight year old car filled with trash and dog hair. However, these women are impossible to escape when they’re staring back at you from every check out line in Target.
So Bethenny had a 4 pound, 12 ounce baby girl, on May 8th, nearly a month early. Now, three weeks later, she has lost 29 of the 35 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. While GEM thinks it’s commendable to get back on that horse (or back in those jeans) this causes me more than a little concern.
I think it sends the wrong message to the REAL HOUSEWIVES, who may have just given birth. After I had my daughter Casey, I lost 37 pounds in 9 days. The problem for me was that I had GAINED 55. So I still had nearly 20 to go. I nursed Casey for 5 months but the weight lingered. Yes, I watched my diet, yes, I exercised (gingerly at first as I was recovering from a c-section, which Frankel also had) but nothing I did whittled my waist the way I wanted it to. Then I just gave up and started concentrating on good, nutritious meals, getting enough rest, and enjoying the time with my new baby. And guess what? When I stopped trying too hard, the weight came off.
Most real, new moms are horrendously sleep deprived (they have no nanny, don’t ‘cha know), have erratic schedules – which makes exercise tough – and now the added pressure from “LOOK WHAT I DID IN JUST 3 WEEKS” Bethenny Frankel. Thanks Bethenny.
Frankel is a natural chef with two books under her belt. She’s admitted in interviews that she’s battled food issues and exercise addiction in the past and while documenting her pregnancy, worried about the weight she was gaining, to the point where she reportedly nearly stopped eating during this critical time of her baby’s development. Isn’t this the time to consider the baby’s health and development rather than our own waistline? What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, that is coming more into focus as she turns up on the pages of all the tabloids touting her remarkable weight loss. Her sample diet of a muffin and fruit for breakfast, a vegetable sandwich and soup for lunch and BBQ chicken and half a sweet potato for dinner, hardly sounds like enough food for the average adult, much less a nursing mother, who requires an additional 500 calories a day just to make milk. I call BS!
Good Enough Mother has to give credit where credit is due. Frankel claims to have gained 35 pounds during her pregnancy which is average. In my first pregnancy, I saw a big ol’ green light on all previously forbidden foods and living in Texas at the time, of course meant guacamole with every meal. And chips. And steak. And cheese. Okay you get the picture.
Frankel was also active during her pregnancy and this is critical. With Casey, I did a bit of walking but the majority of my exercise came from running from the sofa to the drawer where we kept all the take out menus.
I learned my lesson after I gave birth and months later was still wearing the most god-awful maternity jeans (UGH they were SOOOO ugly!). When I got pregnant a second time, I LISTENED to my doctor, followed the prescribed diet and gained exactly 35 pounds. I exercised up until the moment of delivery and, even after a second C-section, felt pretty good after the second kid was yanked out of me.
Look, everyone is different. Some women will drop massive amounts of weight post pregnancy. Some will hang on to the last 10 pounds or so as long as they continue to nurse, which is also quite common. While I admire her determination, I do hope Bethenny Frankel gets over her admitted issues with food for the sake of her newborn baby daughter, and frankly, for the rest of us mere mortals. She may be a ‘Real’ housewife – but there’s nothing ‘real’ about setting impossible standards for the rest of us…