12/15/2015

The Inevitable Post-Baby Body Discussion

Post-baby body is a hot topic. Everywhere I turn on social media there seems to be women sharing thoughts on their own body after baby – whether embracing their new curves, loathing those extra 10 pounds, or celebrating being back to that pre-pregnancy weight. I haven’t talked at all about my body since having Jack, because frankly, it’s a sensitive topic that I’ve avoided getting involved with mentioning up to this point. However, we all have our own stories to tell, and I’m finally at the point where I feel ready to share mine.

Hopes for 27

I’m not going to pretend that gaining weight didn’t cross my mind when I first found out I was pregnant. It’s inevitable that the scale will go up while expecting, but the question of how much is truly unknown. Most doctors recommend anywhere between 25-35 pounds depending on your starting weight, so I figured my goal would be to fall somewhere between that range.

Maternity Pictures

Pregnancy was so good for me in many ways, and my relationship with food just got better and better because of it. I have always been a pretty darn healthy eater, but sometimes I still need to give myself more grace when it comes to indulgences. While pregnant though, I opened myself up to weight gain and cravings. During my first trimester I continually struggled to eat healthy due to food aversions and nausea. My breakfast went from green smoothies and oatmeal to bread slathered in butter, bagels topped with cream cheese, and pancakes drizzled in sugary syrup. Carbs were my comfort and the only thing that tasted good during that early morning sickness. However, where I would once make it a point to work out extra to make up for those type of calories, I instead embraced the carby goodness while choking down as many healthy foods as I could to still try to nourish baby A properly.

Cold Stone Creamery Birthday Cake Remix

Now this isn’t saying that the weight gain never phased me. I absolutely had my moments of tears when my pants no longer fit and I just felt plain heavy. However, for the most part, I embraced pregnancy weight gain and indulged as I saw fit. I didn’t however eat with a mindset that I could indulge in whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I still made it a point to eat as healthy as I could for both Jack and myself, but if I craved ice cream or a burger I would have it. I also worked out during pregnancy, but nothing too crazy. I went to the gym 2-3 times a week up until about Week 36, and I walked 5-6 days a week my entire pregnancy.

Pregnancy Posts: Week 40

40 weeks pregnant on my due date!

By the time I delivered Jack, I had only gained 18 pounds, dropping from 20 to 18 in the last couple weeks. However, even being well under that 25-35 range, I delivered a perfectly healthy 7 lb 14 oz beautiful baby boy.

Welcome Baby Jack!

Fast forward two weeks to my post-delivery check-up with my OB and I stepped on the scale with no clue what it might say. I was barely sleeping while recovering from a c-section and learning how to be a mom, so needless to say weight loss was not at the top of my priority list. I was pretty darn surprised though when I looked down and saw that I was 5 pounds under my starting pregnancy weight. Jack was 8 pounds of that 18, and the rest must have just been water weight and fluid retention, and the typical bodily aspects that also come along with pregnancy and delivery. I really couldn’t believe it when I saw that number. I was pretty excited, but honestly more surprised to realize that my body knew exactly what to do to grow a healthy baby. It took all of those calories – both good and bad – and used them in the perfect way to create my little boy. Our bodies really are so so incredibly smart if we just let them do what they know how to do!

Postpartum Recovery

Two weeks post-partum.

It wasn’t long after that initial appointment though, three days to be exact, that I came down with my first case of mastitis – which as you all know has been a process to get over. Here I am today at almost 13 weeks since giving birth and I have yet to go to the gym once. In fact, I haven’t done anything more than walking and some weeks I am lucky to even do that. I actually exercised more at 41+ weeks pregnant than I do now! Because of this, I know I’ve lost a lot of muscle and toning that I had worked hard to keep while pregnant, so I’m hoping here soon I will be feeling well enough to get into a routine.

Postpartum Recovery

Although I’m back at my pre-pregnancy weight, I still have a long way to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy exercise level. Honestly though, I haven’t missed workouts as much as I thought. I absolutely can’t wait to get back to walking and lifting, but crazy HIIT style workouts are just not on my to-do list at the moment. Maybe down the road, but I realize it will take time and I need to wean back into activity. Being super fit isn’t my main focus right now, but instead it’s to be super healthy. I don’t feel like I have to work out, but instead I want to gain my energy and strength back. I know it will help me to feel more like myself again and help me to be the healthiest mama I can be for Jack. My outlook on my body has changed so much after seeing it grow my sweet boy, and then watching it put itself back together again right before my eyes.

Game Day Fashion

Whether you’re the new mom embracing your curves, loathing those extra 10 pounds, or celebrating being back to that pre-pregnancy weight, please just remember that your body is absolutely amazing and it created a baby. If you’re currently pregnant or hope to be in the future – please don’t fear the weight gain that comes along with it. Embrace it! If you choose to trust your body and give it what it needs, your body will know what to do with the rest to find its happiest place and healthiest weight. We’re all different, and some of us will just gain more or less while expecting and that is life. As long as a healthy baby arrives at the end, that is truly the only thing that will matter.

Conversation Time.

  • Tell me – What surprised you the most about your post-pregnancy body? What were your feelings on weight-loss and workouts after delivering?
  • Did you stay active while pregnant? How do you think that translated throughout your pregnancy and into your post-partum life?

Comments

  1. What an AWESOME post!!! Sooooo maturely written and your deep and emotional feelings on the topic were so lovingly and tastefully written. You are right on target. Who needs to know how much weight someone gained, took off after pregnancy and their workouts. Pregnancy is not a competition among mothers. It should be a commradery of love and support. I gained ten pounds with both my childtren. I was so violently naseous my entire pregnancies. However, I still always smiled, continued to practiced law and teach law school till it was time to stop. But, the one thing I despised was(I am very thin and fit by nature. It runs in my genes) women would constantly say how do you stay so thin, blah, blah, blah–thin is not what counts, a healthy baby is. Gain what you need to carry a healthy baby, and enjoy the growing of your baby inside and the rest will happen naturally. It is such a gift to have a child. Glow in the joy and appreciate that you have been granted this blessing. Enjoy your baby Jack. He’s beautiful and so lucky to have been burned into such a loving family.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much!I am sorry to hear how nauseated you were while pregnant. I really was just sick during the first trimester, but man was it awful. It seemed like every healthy food imaginable made my stomach turn – fruit was one of the worst! I remember when I was finally able to eat a little fruit about week 13. It made me so happy because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

  2. Yay for being back at your pre-pregnancy weight! I think that eating mindfully and exercising during pregnancy does make a difference, but like you said, everyone is so different!

    I gained 25 pounds with Amelia, although I lost weight during my first trimester, so I think I probably only gained 18-20 total. I was surprised at how quickly I lost it too. I do think that exercising throughout my pregnancy paid off. Funny enough, I worked out more often during my last trimester than I do now!

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I am the same way right now! I just haven’t felt well for more than 5-7 days at a time since giving birth so it’s been pretty difficult to find a routine. I would like to get back into exercise for my own health/strength/energy, but I think it has been nice to have a bit of a season of rest right now. Bonding and spending time with Jack has been my number one priority, but I think it will be easier for us to find that routine now that he is a little older.

  3. Fiona says:

    Love this post! I was very active during my pregnancy up until my last week as a matter of fact. I ended up with a c-section and waited the recommended 6 weeks to get back into exercise but tried to do some walking in the first few weeks to get a small sweat on! My first day back at Bodypump was humbling, I was sore for a week! I was so surprised, I was thinking I would bounce right back to where I was pre baby! I also didn’t lose one lick of weight after my 6 week check up. It isn’t important to me but you hear this ‘ohh you’re breastfeeding (I’m pumping) you’ll lose weight so easily’ not the case for this gal, but I feel stronger, and healthier and back to my pre pregnancy stamina at the gym…I haven’t stepped on the scale in a while and I may have had to buy a size bigger in jeans but mama just wants to feel good no matter what size, so even if I don’t lose ALL the weight or stay a size up in my jeans, I became so much easier on myself during my pregnancy with eating (eating WAY more carbs then I ever would have thought and continue to be mindful but kind to myself with my eating to keep my calories up for my little guy) …and sure I would love to see the scale back at my pre pregnancy weight but I’m giving myself time. The funniest thing I found, was trying on all my old clothes I realized how small I actually was and how hard I had been on myself all these years fighting to be smaller, fitter, stronger…I was so hard on myself and it’s sad to see that now being in a different body how harsh I was on myself….

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Breastfeeding and weight loss is such a touchy subject and seems to vary person-to-person. I know so many women who say they held onto those last few pounds until they weaned. Honestly though – whatever helps us to feed our babies is the right choice for our bodies! I am so glad to hear that you were easy on yourself during pregnancy when it comes to weight gain. Embracing the weight is definitely a key to enjoying and soaking in every moment of pregnancy. It really is such an amazing time and one you should enjoy! 🙂

  4. You look so happy 🙂

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you Tara! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, New Year’s and holiday season! xo

  5. I love the way you wrote this post and your feelings on the subject. TO be honest, I don’t know what weight I was when I got pregnant, and I do not own a scale to know what I weigh now. I am fitting back into my old clothes, but not as well as I’d like, and I know that will come with time. Everyone said breastfeeding takes it off but I’m not really seeing it! I think my boobs add about 5 lbs 😉 haha I definitely want to tone up and lose the extra skin, but I’m not overdoing it or anything. In fact, I’m doing less now than I did pregnant or before. It’ll come eventually. Thank you for this honest post! I hope you are feeling better <3
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…Annabelle meets SantaMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I have heard breastfeeding + weight can go either way! Some ladies lose their baby weight while breastfeeding, and others say they hold onto an extra few pounds until they wean. Whatever helps us feed our babies is absolutely the right way for our bodies! Ever pregnancy and postpartum experience is different that’s for sure. It’s amazing how our bodies know just what to do to make everything work and come together. 🙂

  6. Megan Hutchinson says:

    When I got pregnant with Bruce I weighed 120lbs and when I delivered him I weighed 161lbs. I never was bothered by the weight gain during my pregnancy with him, my skin easily stretched and I only gained one stretch mark on my side and a few on my breast. By time he turned one I was at a stable 118lbs. My stomach was toned and I was happy with the way I looked with zero real effort to lose weight or tone up. The twins is a different story. I weighed 118lbs when I got pregnant, at my 16 week appointment I was already up to 145lbs. I thought I was carrying a singleton still at that point and was panicking because typically you gain the most in the later part of pregnancy. When we found out they were twins and shared a placenta I was put on a strict 160g+ of protein a day and at least 3000 calories a day. When I hit 28 weeks John’s sac was considered polyhydramnios and the stretch marks took over my stomach and hips. I always told my husband he could never lose weight because I could never weigh more than him even when pregnant in case he had to carry me out of a burning house. Well I weighed the exact same as him when I delivered the twins.. 184lbs. I was devastated to say the least. By my 3 week pp check up I was down to 140lbs. Now the twins are 10 months and I weigh 120lbs. But my body is no where near what it use to look like at 120lbs. Due to Hank having his entire body under my ribs/upper part of my belly the last portion of my pregnancy I have a severe diastasis recti above my belly button. So severe it requires surgery, which I am not excited about. The diastasis recti not only effects how my stomach looks but it affects my posture and the rest of my body suffers due to that posture. I happily embrace the stretch marks it’s a reminder that I grew two humans at once, but I’m not so happy about the gap in between my recti muscles.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Megan – thank you for your comment! Can I tell you though how amazing you are?! You truly sacrificed yourself – mentally and physically – for your boys. I feel like so often it is hard for women to talk about the changes in their body post-partum. Even if the change isn’t physical from the outside, there are still physical changes inside that effect me. I am actually terrified to breastfeed my next baby, although I know I would like to try! I feel like being sick for months and then weaning really did effect me mentally as well (I’ve talked to you about that before). So it’s interesting that even though I look almost identical to how I did pre-pregnancy, my view of myself and my body has changed so much. I honestly think that while I was pregnant was the time in my life when I’ve been the most kind and loving to my body! It’s such a beautiful – yet hard and life-changing – experience!

      • Megan Hutchinson says:

        Thank you! Jan you are so correct! The emotional change is by far the worse part and it’s something we as mom’s don’t openly talk about enough! I feel for you, I truly do! I’ve told you and I’ll tell you again, I don’t know how you continued to nurse/pump through all of your mastitis spouts!

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