My Body, Mind and Workouts, Post-Baby

Throughout my entire pregnancy, I wrote about my workouts. Well, until I hit 39 weeks, in which case I took up the whole “save yourself for labor while also trying to naturally induce labor” balancing act. I can’t tell you how many lunges I did, miles I walked and stairs I went up, hoping to trigger labor. It. Was. Exhausting. But, alas, at 42 weeks and one day, I gave birth. And it was awesome. And now, about a month later, I’m getting reacquainted with my new body.

And it really is new. After having the longest pregnancy ever, it’s kind of weird to no longer have a big pregnant bump. In fact, it’s kind of exhilarating to be able to bend down, tie my shoelaces, cross my legs and walk without waddling. Just recently, I’ve gotten the doc’s go-ahead to be active — as long as I ease into it slowly. And that process has been one of the best tests of my Fit Bottomedness than anything I’ve ever experienced.

post-baby-body

I’ve always believed that the “post-baby body” hype was ridic. The pressure to quickly get down to the size you were before pregnancy is ludicrous (especially in the tabloids and in our celeb-obsessed culture). But it is strong, people. I thought I’d be totally immune to it, but as soon as I got home from the hospital and saw that I’d already lost 20 pounds, I was like DANG. This will be easy. People were already complimenting me on how great I looked and wondering how much I’d already lost. It was kind of — dare I say it — fun.

This is when my inner body-image police siren should have gone off: Warning, warning! Entering dangerous territory!

But I went right in. A week later, my magical weight-loss slowed — no, scratch that — came to a screeching halt, and I got discouraged. I even thought about doing some more intense workouts to help it out, despite the fact that my lady parts weren’t quite ready for high-impact anything yet. And to be honest, I felt really crappy about not being able to fit in anything except one pair of really, really stretchy jeans and a larger pair of workout capris, plus oversized tanks and nursing tanks.

I was hormonal, sleep-deprived and adapting to lots of change, yes, but even I who co-wrote a book on why diets suck, got roped into the post-baby body trap. So after a week or two of quietly dogging on my body in my head, I got real. And used every trick I knew to get my head in a better spot.

I thought about how my daughter would feel about my feelings about my body — how that might shape her feelings about her body one day. I thought about the comparison trap. I thought about the amazing feat my body had accomplished with growing a PERSON and then birthing it. I thought about all the others who love me and what they would say about me and my body. I thought about how I was more than just a body. I thought about my spirit and my role — and my transformation to being a mother. I thought about how darn lucky I was to be in a healthy body.

And I thought about being a role model to others. Which is why I really wrote this post. The struggle (and pressure) is real, yo. And as I learned, you gotta be on your A-game to detect it sometimes because it’ll creep in when you don’t even fully realize it. Even me, an FBG circa 2008!

So, yet again, I’ve ditched the scale entirely for a bit, am focusing on listening to my body’s own intuition about what it really wants and needs (lately, that’s been big ass taco salads, sleep and long walks with baby and pup) and am committed to giving myself the same unconditional self-love that I give my daughter. Basically, I’ve gone back to basics.

After all, that post-baby body? Yeah, I have one, and I’m damn proud of it. —Jenn

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9 Comments

  1. Amen to every single thing you said. I experienced the exact same thing. Thanks for
    Being open and honest!

  2. Amen to that lady!! Good for you for realizing it a lot faster than many of us do and then DOING something about it. 😀 So proud of you and I appreciate this honesty as it’s always hard to be a new mommy with all the pressures that we get externally and internally. 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I was so much like you when I had my first baby! I can remember trying to put him down for a “nap” and of course we know infants don’t really take long naps, and getting a workout then! I wasn’t as smart as you the first go round. It wasn’t until I had my third baby, was a little older and could really appreciate the fact that my body was doing exactly what it needed to do to heal and care for my baby. To this day I don’t step on a scale unless I’m at the Drs. office. I don’t count calories and I never focus on losing weight. I’m constantly focused on staying healthy, active and energetic!

  4. It really is all about where you put your focus … and staying on being healthy, active and energetic, is like you said, where it’s at! 🙂

    —FBG Jenn

  5. The comparison trap is so hard to avoid. Especially as a new mom. Everything is hard and confusing and you look around to see that seeming everyone is doing so much of a better job at it. Losing the baby weight is just another thing that we compare. It feels like it should be the one thing we can control among all the other things we can’t control with a new baby. But it really isn’t! Some people’s bodies just naturally drop the weight right away and others’ hold on to that weight. Of course diet and exercise help, but the people who lose the weight quickly, in my experience, are no more likely to be eating better and drinking more water and exercising more and nursing morning, etc. Their bodies just decided not to hold onto it! I’m one of the lucky mom’s who has been breastfeeding for 7 months without losing anything! How is that even possible??!! And nursing a baby and working full time and taking care of a toddler and getting no sleep does not lend itself well to fitting in workouts. And restricting calories when I”m already struggling to pump enough milk is also not a great idea. Luckily I went through this with my first, as well. I didn’t lose the weight till almost two years after he was born. So this time around, I know I need to focus on getting good foods in my system, trying to get as much sleep as I can (5 hours of interrupted sleep a night is not enough!), spending active time with my kids when possible, and just getting used to the new family size. Once I stop nursing, there will be more flexibility for work outs. Once the baby is eating table food and at the same time as us, we can have meals that take longer than 6 minutes to prepare. In the mean time, I’ve made peace with my new temporary Target wardrobe two sizes up from where I’d like to be.

  6. Thanks for posting this. I am 9 weeks after a c section with baby number two (i also have a 2 year old) and my weight loss has come to a grinding Halt. I’m Breastfeeding, I eat healthy and do my best to work out and be active! It’s so hard not to not to be obsessed I keep having to remind myself that I am a role model for my 2 little girls. So hard though really not feeling like yourself. The more women who are honest about this the better! Xx

  7. Love your story! Thanks for sharing. I absolutely love the last paragraph. “committed to giving myself the same unconditional self-love that I give my daughter. Basically, I’ve gone back to basics”.

  8. Thank you for this article! Since having my second son 4 months ago, I’ve been pressuring myself to get back to my pre pregnancy weight. It’s been a mental struggle for me. After reading your post, immediately I felt less pressure to drop the weight quickly, especially since I don’t want to do something that will shorten my milk supply. I have a beautiful, healthy son and will put more focus on eating healthy and staying properly hydrated.