If you've read my other posts, you know I recently had a baby. She's almost five months old and the joy of my life. I went into my pregnancy blissfully happy, and enjoyed every stage of it until about the last three weeks. I was working 50 hour weeks until my due date, and I went into labor that night. She was born the next day. It was all such a wonderful experience. I gained a healthy 37lbs, exercised my whole pregnancy, and was feeling pretty confident I would bounce right back into my tightly muscled, size zero body.
This was not the case.
(Read my post 50 hilarious truths about motherhood for further details)
You know, I talked to many family and friends who had had babies, and asked their experiences in hopes of motivating myself. For the most part, I compared myself to them. The women who lost their baby weight in 4 weeks, and THEN SOME, led me to believe I could be like them. This set me up for failure.
6 weeks postpartum, I had shed 17lbs of the baby weight, but I was retaining these strange pockets of fat I'd never had before. Because of my rough delivery, I wasn't allowed to exercise until my 8 week mark. My body went to mush. Once proud of my 14% body fat, I was now entirely covered in cellulite. Even on my calves and shoulders...you tell me how that is possible! It was such a disappointment.
I picked up my fitness routine, doing only mild cardio since I faced another challenge of producing breast milk. But I kicked up my weight training and expected to see some results. Interestingly, I lost more weight, but it was muscle tone. My arms and legs, and even tummy area, are still floppy. No matter what. Yoga, Pilates, Boflex...Nope. I have too much progesterone.
What I'm getting at is women should not ever compare their bodies to someone else's. There will be that one girl you know who drops her baby weight and even a few extra pounds, just from breastfeeding in those first few weeks, but it is important to understand that these women are the exception, not the rule.
I took it so hard when my body didn't bounce back. And sure, 5 months into my Postpartdum I am back in my regular jeans, but my body in no way looks the way it did pre-baby. My hips are bigger, my boobs are saggier, and my tummy ripples when I sit. Oh, and I have varicose veins. This is normal and we should be able to talk about it.
I hope any woman reading this can feel support and know that it is completely normal to take a healthy period of time losing baby weight. In addition, we should all be aware of the changes our bodies undergo during and after pregnancy. I mean, we just grew a human! Inside of us! And that was the easy part. When we gave birth to them, our bodies performed a miracle.
Don't be like me. I lost my mind instead of losing baby weight. I beat myself up over it. I felt insecure. I would look at pictures of me on my honeymoon, my toned legs and six pack abs, but the truth is it is unrealistic to expect that so soon. Be jealous for like 5 seconds of those girls who got skinny in a jiff, and then move on. Honestly, they are probably jealous of you for something you aren't aware of. You must take into consideration your genetics. Every pregnancy is different and every Postpartdum is individualized. My genes told me I was going to be dimply and fluffy, and that it would probably take me 9 months to get off what it took me 9 months to gain.
When I accepted this, I began to look at myself in a much more gentle light. I felt beautiful again. And I appreciated my baby more. I am so lucky to even be the size that I am. Its okay if I require harder exercise to be fit again, because hard work never hurt anybody!
Love the body you're in as much as the one you created!