The singer gets real about how her body changed after having a baby.
We’re used to seeing the softer side of new motherhood from Hollywood stars and music moguls, when they post dreamy pics of their babies on Instagram. That’s all well and fine, but when singer Kelly Rowland gave birth to her son Titan in 2014, she realized she had another mission: To keep it really, really real.
That’s the goal of her new book, Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened), a funny and frank roadmap to understanding and accepting your post-baby body.
Rowland decided to tackle even the most taboo of subjects (Hemorrhoids? Check. Incontinence. We’ve been there.) when she realized that today’s new moms are thoroughly prepared for pregnancy and labor, but woefully under-informed about their body’s changes after the baby is delivered.
“I was so upset that nobody told me this stuff,” Rowland confessed, chatting over the phone with Working Mother from her home in Los Angeles. “They said, ‘Oh, you’re not going to get any rest.’ That’s surface stuff.”
So the former Destiny’s Child star and current coach on The Voice Australia teamed up with her OB/GYN of over 10 years, Tristan Bickman, MD, to create a refreshingly candid take on what to expect when you’re no longer expecting. We asked her to share the surprises that freaked her out the most after she became a mom, and in the spirit of the book, Rowland didn’t hold back:
1. Your vajajay isn’t just a little different—it’s a lot different. “After I just had Titan, I went to use the bathroom, and I felt like somebody had just pumped air into the lips of my vagina,” she laughs. “And it’s one of the things you worry about the most! ‘I’ve got a great husband—is it going to shrink back to my pre-baby size?’” As to that, Rowland recommends, “Kegels, kegels, kegels.” Noted!
2. It takes time for your body to bounce back. “I didn’t have a snap-back situation at all. I wore waist cinchers and everything. Finally, a friend said to me, ‘Everybody’s body is different. It took nine months for that baby to develop, so give your body time to go back.’”
3. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when breastfeeding. “When I was pregnant, I was so excited to have these huge jugs walking down the street. I remember thinking I was going to be this great breastfeeding mom. But my milk didn’t come in as quick as I thought it would, and I was super disappointed in myself. My lactation nurse was able to work her magic, but my supply was not quite enough, so I had to supplement with formula.”
4. You’ll compare yourself to others—but you shouldn’t. “I had a belly belly. I was looking at all these pictures of these skinny heifers everywhere, and I even hung up photos of myself from Shape magazine for inspiration. But I just kept thinking, ‘Why can’t I look like this?’ So I took them all down. I just allowed my body to slowly go back—and still it’s different.”
5. Stretch marks are here to stay. “I still have stretch marks on my belly, and I can’t lie—I’ve paid money to get them lasered off. When I was pregnant, I think I put more oil on my stomach than my head to keep my body moisturized, and it still didn’t work. I found that exercise helps the most, and they look a little better now.”
6. Your skin and hair may never be the same again. “My hair fell out, and my skin changed. It got super dry. It still affects me to this day.”
7. Even your muscles change. “I struggled with diastasis recti—ab separation. I was getting ready for an award show and I picked my foot up to put it in my dress, and I couldn’t move. I had the most excruciating pain shoot through my back. I fell to the floor and cried. A girlfriend of mine, who is a physical therapist, scooped me up and started working on my back. She turned me over, put three fingers between my abs and said, ‘This is your problem. We have to fix your core.’ I’ve been doing physical therapy, and it’s been much better, but it’s a constant journey to keep it strong.”
Written by Audrey Goodson Kingo for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.