There’s no denying that women’s bodies go through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth. I had read about the ways my body would or could possibly change during all of it, but you never really know what it’ll be like until you experience it yourself. If I said that I’m happy with how my postpartum body looks, I’d be lying, but as cliche as it sounds, it’s all worth it for my daughter.
Throughout my pregnancy, a lot of people kept telling me how quickly I’d bounce back. With my healthy eating and exercise mixed with breastfeeding, the weight would just “fall off.” While I can’t truly reflect on postpartum weight loss yet given that I’ve only been cleared to exercise for two weeks, the weight thus far has in no shape or form fallen off. I gained 45 pounds during pregnancy, which I attribute partially to being on the thin side to start having come off of marathon training, partially to my overwhelming nausea in the first trimester when led me to eat a lot of foods that I don’t usually eat, and partially to the extra indulgences such as my nightly ice cream habit that I allowed myself (don’t regret that ice cream one bit!!!). I did, however, exercise at least 5-6 days a week throughout pregnancy, but in no way was it as intense as the exercise I did before pregnancy.
After the baby came, we were in a state of survival mode. Before the baby came, I promised myself I wouldn’t think about weight loss or dieting at all during the first six weeks. Although I lost 23 pounds in the first week (as expected since I lost baby, water, blood, placenta, etc…) and two more by the end of the second week (water), I actually gained back two pounds after five weeks of eating toast, cereal, pizza, lasagna and any other carbolicious and sugar-filled treat that friends and family would bring us or that we’d order or pick up for ourselves in a state of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Although I did make and freeze some healthy meals before the baby arrived, the junk we ate in addition to that countered any healthiness. We had some issues with breastfeeding in the beginning due to our baby’s lip and tongue ties, so although I was feeding her around the clock, I wasn’t producing quite as much milk as I thought. That, combined with little to no exercise outside of a daily 20-40 minute walk, meant that I wasn’t able to burn more than I was taking in from all the goodies. The result – weight gain AFTER baby. Not exactly what I expected.
I’m not going to lie and say that my weight gain doesn’t bother me. I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life (I’ve never considered myself someone who is naturally thin) and these last 4 years I’ve finally been proud of my body and I’ve worked hard for it. While I am VERY proud of my body for being able to create a healthy little baby girl and deliver her naturally into this world, I must admit I cringe when I see full body pictures of myself. Those extra 22 pounds I’m carrying aren’t my friend. And worse than looks, most of my clothes don’t fit which means I’m still wearing some maternity clothes, but mostly workout clothes. Since being cleared to exercise, I’ve also tried to eat healthier (without being on any sort of plan or diet), while also allowing for indulgences, but the scale hasn’t moved despite these changes.
I’ve done research on diet and exercise and it’s effect on breastfeeding mothers and from what I have read, dieting is not recommended before the baby is 2 months of age. It’s also not recommended that you lose more than 1.5 pounds a week and don’t do any crash diets for risk of hurting your milk supply. As Siena approaches her 2 month birthday (Thursday! Wow!), it’s time to get back on the horse and keep myself accountable when it comes to diet and exercise. While I tend to be really good at the exercise part, my diet has really taken a turn for the worse in the last year or so.
Why am I sharing this with you? Partially, because writing is my outlet and partially because I’m sure there are other moms out there who are in the same boat. Probably a lot more moms than are in the “the weight just fell right off of me” boat. I want to lose this weight in a healthy way – with a slightly reduced calorie diet (I won’t go below 2000 calories a day) and exercise so that I can still provide food for my baby. I want to do it in a way that allows me to indulge a times but to also feel good about the foods I’m putting in my body. I’ll be writing about my plan for weight loss in another post. My husband Mike also gained weight after the baby was born and we are working on a plan to get back in shape together.
To finish, I have to say that although the weight bothers me I really wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was lucky to have an relatively easy pregnancy and a healthy baby girl, and the weight gain is an easy sacrifice for those things. It’s also a temporary change to my body and certainly not one to lose sleep over! I do, however, enjoy fitting in my clothes and feeling confident in how I look. I also feel much better overall when I’m eating food that is good for my body. I really love a challenge and shedding this weight is my new focus (outside of parenthood of course!).
Did you struggled with the weight after the baby or did you have an easy time bouncing back?