Jennifer Garner’s advice to new moms: ‘You will get your bodies back [and] your lives back’

Jennifer Garner was a co-host on Ellen’s show this week for the Mother’s Day episode. She opened her interview with a story we haven’t heard before, about how she learned of her first pregnancy, with daughter Violet, now 12. The home pregnancy test was positive with a faint line, but the doctor told Garner she wasn’t pregnant when she was. Garner also said she was more nauseous with each pregnancy and that she got sicker throughout the day. That sounds awful. Then she told the story of the huge scarf her daughter Seraphina, 9, made for her for her birthday and it was cute. (I’m not excerpting that part, you can watch it in the video below.)

On her doctor telling her she wasn’t pregnant when she was
I woke up that morning and I just knew. I peed on the stick and it was so faint. I called my doctor and said can I come in and have a test. He gave me one and said ‘you’re not pregnant, it’s negative.’

I was like ‘yeah, I am.’ She’s 12. I don’t have that doctor anymore.

Every [pregnancy] I was more nauseous. Each kid it was worse and worse. With my middle daughter I had to listen to Yo Yo Ma at night. It got worse throughout the day. With the third kid forget it.

I carried a baby in the back as much as I did in the front. I would catch myself in the mirror. There’s another thing growing back there.

Her advice for new moms
Here’s the thing. You will get your bodies back, you will get your lives back. You can still travel. You can still have fun. You can still go back to work or not. You can breastfeed or not. You will be best friends with your kid then someday you will realize you’re actually angry with that and that’s ok. You’re going to do great because it’s your experience and it’s your baby and it’s your body. It’s going to happen the way you want it do.

[From video of The Ellen Show via People]

I don’t get this “knowing you’re pregnant” concept at all. There have been plenty of times when I was worried I was pregnant that I wasn’t. It does happen that the tests are wrong for whatever reason, like not enough pregnancy hormone. I would question why Garner is telling pregnancy stories, but the audience was full of pregnant ladies and the episode was sponsored by Pampers, they gave away a year’s supply to everyone in the audience. It’s likely they asked Garner to tell a pregnancy story to appeal to that demographic. Garner also has that organic baby food brand, Once Upon a Farm, which she plugged after doing animal impressions. Plus she did a silly “rap” about new motherhood and also helped Ellen give away a bunch of products. At about 2:45 into this video they scare Garner with a puff of air, like the kind that surprises you in a funhouse. Say what you will about Garner, she’s game and she’s good at shilling stuff.

As for her advice to new moms she tried to cover a lot of bases and be diplomatic. It would have been nice if she didn’t lead with “you will get your bodies back” but the ladies in the audience were pregnant, you technically do get your body back to yourself once you have the baby. I don’t think she meant it that way, but I remember what a relief it was to finally have the baby.

Here’s the video:



Photos are screenshots from Youtube/The Ellen Show and credit: Backgrid

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47 Responses to “Jennifer Garner’s advice to new moms: ‘You will get your bodies back [and] your lives back’”

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  1. Birdix says:

    Lots of people get their bodies back and lots don’t. I’d argue that you don’t get your life back though (which has positive and negative aspects).

    • Huckle says:

      But you’ve got to say positive and I think that’s what she was trying to convey. I’d have to say that in some ways, you do get your life and body back eventually. In that respect, I think maybe it’s just about individual perception.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think you get your body back in the sense that it is yours again. When I was done BFing both times, I felt an enormous sense of, “my body is mine.” I wasn’t growing another human life or feeding one. It was a weird sense of regaining my body.

      • Susannah says:

        That was my interpretation as well, especially since she’s talking to expectant moms. That initial period after you give birth is all about the baby, breastfeeding, breast pumping, getting him/her into a sleep pattern and your own body is going through so many changes too.
        After awhile, you get into more of a routine and get a bit more sleep at night and finally after breastfeeding I felt like my body and my life was mine again. I also felt a bit selfish and guilty for feeling that way though.

      • Annabelle Bronstein says:

        That was my take too. I loved getting my body back in the sense that another human being was no longer attached to it.

      • Kit says:

        This is so good to read @Becks1. It’s 2:45am, I am up feeding again. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for over six years (minus a combined total of 5 months between), in fact it’s how my long term late night Celebitchy habit formed with overnight pregnancy sleeplessness in 2012.
        I dream of not worrying about how every decision I make about my body impacts another person. I love them like crazy but I can’t wait to stop sharing my body.

    • perplexed says:

      I think you may be able to sort of get your life back….if you’re rich.

      • minx says:

        I felt I got my life back when they each went to college. Now they’re back home lol.

    • isabelle says:

      If you a C section its very hard to get a flat belly back. Girl has no idea what she is talking about at all. Once again we highly uneducated when it comes to birth, reproduction and what happens to women after birth.

  2. Jen says:

    I found out very early because I just “knew.” It’s kind of an indescribable feeling, but I just felt off/different. I’ve always been surprised by people who say they had no idea so I guess it’s different for everyone!

    • Slowsnow says:

      I never knew I was pregnant but I knew there was something wrong with my 4th son (ended up not being a big deal but it was pretty scary). The nurse said she always trusted mums who got in a panic after giving birth and she was the one who spotted the problem bc she saw me freak out.

    • WingKingdom says:

      Same here! I was on a trip with the in-laws so it was a couple of days before I could get a test, but I was looking up at the stars and just said to my husband, “I’m pregnant.” When we did an early ultrasound, I was like two weeks pregnant. Now my son is 12.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      I had that same feeling! I just knew and it was impossible for me to describe why I knew. My husband was like sure, Jan but I was right lol

    • Moneypenny424 says:

      Yep, I had that feeling with #2. I knew right away–just felt different.

  3. ShadeQueen says:

    Why do I need my body back anyway?

    The idea that the female body needs to stay the same or “return” makes me want to punch people.

    • Jess says:

      Maybe she meant it in a way like some women feel their bodies no longer belong to them. I loved being pregnant but I did have moments of feeling out of control of my own body, and after with the pain and breastfeeding and constantly having a tiny human attached to you. There were times I just wanted MY body back, if that makes sense. Or she meant it in a physical way as in you’ll get your pre baby body back, lol, she does live in a world where image is at the top of the list.

    • Bridget says:

      No, but after sharing your body (and then nursing and carrying and picking up and and and) it feels like you don’t own your own body anymore. Sometimes it’s nice to just feel like yourself again.

    • MagicalDay says:

      UGH. I guess it’s vital for those w a “vanity career”, and it’s either real or just perception that they must maintain a never pregnancy type body. That said I am in the best shape of my life at 50 with a teenaged son. I was super fit before I was pregnant so everything went fine, no C, no stretch marks, no episiotomy, etc. All good. My point is that when feeling good takes priority over looking good then all changes are a big whatever.

    • Lana234 says:

      @ShadeQueen What is wrong with wanting the body you had before.

  4. Slowsnow says:

    She annoys the heck out of me, but I do think she said that you will get your body back for yourself and she is so right.
    Having had 4 kids (36 months pregnant, i.e. 3 years + 1 year recuperation overall), I did feel that at some point my body was not mine but a sort of community playground/canteen/dormitory – and occasionally sex parlour bc I did have 4 kids after all!

    • KB says:

      I agree. I don’t think she meant they’d get their bodies back in shape or to their previous size. That just doesn’t really fit her whole midwestern mom next door schtick. She seems more the type to say that your body changes, but it’s okay and you should embrace it.

  5. KB says:

    She looks cute in those sneakers. She should lean into the casual athletic look, it suits her.

    • Lauren II says:

      Annoying Beverly Hills Mum, living off of Ben’s money, pretending to be earthy. I find Jen more annoying than Goop.

  6. BitingPanda says:

    I knew nearly immediately. It had nothing to do with a missed period.

    My nipples changed, seemingly instantly, and I had a such an increased sense of smell and reaction to smells that I just knew I was no longer alone in my body. This was within a week of conceiving. It was so obvious that I was able to pinpoint exactly which day I got pregnant.

    I know every woman is different, but I can’t ever understand how women tells stories of NOT knowing they are pregnant. Such bizarre things happen to our bodies.

  7. Amelia22 says:

    anybody that willingly signs up to work with Lena Dunham is cancelled to me.

    Dunham shouldn’t even have a career anymore after calling that underage rape victim a liar.

  8. Carolnr says:

    My mom told me that she also knew she was pregnant & the dr.said she wasnt.
    I was pregnant & my husband & i were in the process of moving into our 2nd house. I was so busy packing & organizing that i missed all the obvious signs!

  9. minx says:

    Well, as her acting career ebbs she’s got to do something, I suppose. And she’s a minivan favorite.

  10. Becks1 says:

    See, I love this sentiment. Of course your life is forever changed, but it doesn’t mean you lose yourself entirely.

    I remember after having each boy (I have two), the first time I cooked a “big” meal I felt like I was myself again, because it was the first time I could stand for that long (two rough C-sections), didn’t have to stop to nurse every 30 minutes or hour, they may have been out of the house on a walk with my husband – I just felt like I was starting to be me again, and not just the new mom. I’ll be a mom for the rest of my life, but I have to be “me” as well, and I think sometimes its hard when you have a newborn to remember that you WILL be “you” again. I had a much easier time with my second baby partly bc it was my second, but I had such a sense of “this is temporary.” Waking up every two hours, all the diaper changes, leaking milk – those first few months can feel so intense, and like your sole purpose is to be this baby’s mother, so as you get some of the other parts of yourself back, it can be very liberating.

  11. homeslice says:

    My older child is 8, I have neither my life or body back. lol. Seriously though, I’m not sure if either are important to me. How about just being happy as you are?

  12. Jess says:

    I just knew too, I was on a long drive home and picked up a red bull and the thought “this is bad for the baby” just flew into my mind, and I shook it off as me being insane because I wasn’t trying and it was the worst possible timing. She’s 10 now:) The next time I knew because I could not get enough water, like I was dying for water every minute, and I could smell everything. My then fiancé and I were in Vegas and I swear I could smell 15 different things at once and tell you exactly where they were coming from, and I almost asked a stranger for a sip of his water at the top of the Eiffel Tower, I cried I was so thirsty😂😂

  13. Elisabeth says:

    She is such a snooze fest.

  14. perplexed says:

    Watching the clip is less boring than reading her words in print.

  15. JA says:

    Not going to lie, one of my biggest fears and there are a lot, about being able to carry a pregnancy is being able to get back into shape. All throughout my younger life I was teased about my weight…FINALLY after working out and maintaining a relatively healthy diet I’m happish with my body and weight. Throw a baby into that equation and I know it will give me anxiety. I realize the joy of creating life bypasses my superficiality BUT it’s nice to hear that if you put in work it’s possible to have a baby and get back in shape. Say what you want about Jennifer but I appreciated this. My husband and I are gonna try for a baby later this year (I’m in my mid 30s) & this positivity is what I need!!!

    • KB says:

      If you achieved your ideal body (or one you’re happyish with, as you say) with exercise and a healthy diet, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you had gotten there through yo-yo dieting or completely depriving yourself, you’d have more to worry about, IMO. I’ve always heard exercising (as much as is okay for you) during your pregnancy helps with postpartum weight loss as well.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      I’m going to make a very unpopular—but honest—response:

      Your weight gain and loss in your pregnancy is up to you. Totally in your control. Don’t ‘eat’ for the baby, just eat normal. The weight gain “expectations” in this country are ludicrous. 25-35?yeah if you’re having twins or triplets. My ob/gyn is French and he told me to eat and behave as i normally would if I were not pregnant, and don’t overdo it because anything over 20 pounds is weight you have to lose post pregnancy. Ten pounds of water, 8 ish pounds of baby, the rest…that’s up to you. I’m not saying starve yourself but if you treat yourself to dessert every night because you’re pregnant, that post baby loss will be ten times harder. I know everyone’s experience is different but I had two easy recoveries weight wise (and they were both c sections!) as a result of keeping the weight gain under 25.

      • JA says:

        @adele unpopular but I actually agree and thank you! Gives me hope that if I stay on track “bouncing back” won’t be impossible. I’m a type 1 diabetic so was warned if I do get pregnant I’m gonna have to watch my food intake and health like a hawk for a healthy successful pregnancy. No eating for 2 will be allowed & definitely no desserts every nite!!! 🙂

      • Blair Warner says:

        Of course, every woman’s body responds individually to pregnancy – but Adele has an important message. I gained only 20 pounds while expecting, not restricting food at all and only walking for exercise. I’m sure I ate chocolate every day!
        Two weeks after delivery, I had naturally and easily lost 18 pounds. Then, over the next few months, I gained back 20 because I was breastfeeding day and night and couldn’t stop binging on sugar. It can be a roller coaster, so let’s all just be kind to ourselves and each other!

  16. RabbitOne says:

    I think I was in denial when i was preggers for the first month or so. I decided I had a stomach flu because I was barfing up everything for weeks. My boobs were so painful. But I decided I must be PMSing. My nipples got very dark and I thought, eh, I’m getting older. I don’t know why I was in such denial. My husband kept telling me he thought I was preggers. Finally I went and bought a test. Peed on a stick and yep, preggers. But I did not believe it. I went back and bought every freaking kind of preggers test I could find. The pharmacy people must thought i was nuts. I peed on like 50 sticks and they were all positive. And then I was like oh ok, I get it now. And I think what she means about getting one’s body back is that you can feel like it is yours again. No more restrictions (sushi!), nor more tests (sugar test), no more worries about what your body might do (preeclampsia), etc. You finally get back to feeling what you remember being as normal. So when your belly hurts, you don’t have to suddenly worry that it is something wrong with the pregnancy or the baby. It can just be a tummy ache.

  17. mela says:

    I was extremely tired, obessively cooking casseroles and almost fainted in the shower and my nipples became super sensitive and i had to hide them from the shower head haha. I had implantation bleeding that i mistook for a bizarre period that never really become a full blown period. So I think that confused me a bit. The day I took the pregnancy test, I kinda had a feeling that it was happening..

    I had used Plan B and got pregnant anyways.

  18. Shannon says:

    I knew both times because of an amazing increase in appetite. I’m generally a pretty light eater and suddenly I was consuming entire pizzas. Sounds like a joke, but it’s not. My first trimester with each son, I didn’t get morning sickness, I literally couldn’t stop thinking about food.

  19. trillian says:

    Home pregnancy tests are way more sensitive than the ones doctors use. When the line is faint, just wait a couple days and do another one. That’s not the doctor’s fault, many women test really early, sometimes even before missing a period.

  20. Zooyork says:

    I never got my body back after I had my son 4 years ago. So that sucks. And now I feel even more disgusting.

  21. Ettig says:

    Where do bodies go? I always wondered. 😀