Today I am going to talk about my body and how I see it now that I have a child. I don’t typically talk or write about body image or fitness in terms of how one looks. Mainly because a negative body image is a symptom of more important issues I’d rather discuss. Nevertheless, our bodies are designed to change and shift over the course of life, which is powerful. Our perceptions should naturally change as well. Therefore, it’s morphin’ time.
After Baby Body Stuff
Paying attention to the scale. This I never did prior to pregnancy. However, when pregnant you want be in the healthy range of weight gain for you and baby. You get weighed at every doctor visit. You can become a little obsessed.
The Scale Numbers.
- 141 lbs August, 2015: I had conceived but didn’t know it yet.
- 180 lbs April, 2016: 7 days before the bubba was born.
- 165 lbs May, 2016: 1 Month after bubba was born.
- 167 lbs June, 2016: 2 Months postpartum.
- 159 lbs July, 2016: 3 Months postpartum.
- 155 lbs August, 2016: Today, almost 4 months postpartum.
Facts: I gained more than I or my Doc would’ve preferred during my pregnancy. After baby, I actually gained two pounds between my first and second month out. I didn’t start losing (in spite of exclusively breastfeeding) until about 3 months.
Thoughts & Feelings: Even though I had a healthy pregnancy, I was miffed that I had gained more than 30 lbs. Of course, I could have made better choices. I had hoped breastfeeding would melt pounds away, but no. Unfortunately, my first downward count on the scale was related to being sick. Not ideal. More recently, though, weight loss has been related to my eating better and running again. Ideal! Still, I have 14 lbs to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy (22 to get back to top running/lifting shape).
The Stomach Situation.
Let’s look as some belly photos.
I’m glad I remembered to take a photo 9 days after having bubba. My adorable little niece told me I still looked pregnant when I was 3 months postpartum. Kids are so observant. She was right, I did, but that didn’t bother me, because that’s natural. I didn’t expect that to all snap back in 1/4 of the time it took to grow. Come on now.
Fact: My stomach is shrinking. My body is on it’s own timeline.
Thoughts & Feelings: Looking at the photos above makes me feel good. When I only look at myself today, I don’t see how far I’ve come. I just see that my tummy isn’t flat like it used to be. However, my biggest concern has been how my abdominal and hip muscles are recovering after being displaced. I can tell when I run that my core is weak, my form is heavy, and I feel less confident lifting weight. I actually feel like I’m starting from scratch sometimes and that can be rough.
Health & “Other Things”.
My body struggled to stay healthy the first few months after baby (rash, ear infection, etc). The boobs are now their own sovereign state. My joints are still relaxed. Hair strands are abandoning ship (mostly on their own but also with a little help). My skin is annoyed at everything.
Facts: I’m able to exclusively breastfeed my baby and he’s a healthy chunky monkey! So yes that means my joints are still a bit loose. I don’t do my hair much anyway because I just have to keep it away from those sticky baby paws. I should shower more often.
Thoughts & Feelings: I’m still worried about getting sick again. I focus on sleeping above all else, eating well, and lots of stress-releasing prayer. I dislike the “let down” feeling when nursing. The larger bust size is fine, but doubling-up my sports bras is an unwelcome new chore. I’m not as confident in my body mechanics which drives me nuts.
Mom Body Pride
When I got into running & CrossFit years ago, I stopped being concerned about how my body looked and started being proud of how it performed. When I got pregnant, I had to let go of my pride of performance and find confidence in it’s ability to grow new life. Now I’m exceedingly glad my body is still providing for my baby, even if it is rounder and slower than I remember.
I see my body now as more womanly because motherhood has added it’s touch. I see my body as capable to provide for someone I fiercely love. There’s a lot of confidence to be had in embracing these things.