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.
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