Y’all, I gained a lot of pregnancy weight. 41 pounds to be exact. Add the additional 20 I was carrying around pre-baby and that’s a whopping 61 pounds over the “recommended” weight for my height. That makes me cringe just typing it. For someone who was thin and super fit all the way through my junior year of college (and proceeded to gain the Freshman Fifteen my Senior year and then some), that number on the scale - the one close to 200 pounds – that, my friends, was like a bath of ice cold “wake up!” water.
So much information is shared prior to the birth of a baby. Some of it welcomed, some not, but rarely do you get the “real deal” about the trauma your body is about to go through after you bring home that bundle of joy. For instance, why did no one tell me that my abdomen was going to literally look like it melted? A tangible expression of a sad trombone (whomp whommmp…), it wasn’t the tiny babe in my arms, but my deflated “Jabba the Hutt” tummy that sealed the deal. Holy moly, I was someone’s mom and I had the wiggly, jiggly, stretch-marked skin to prove it.
Up until the last three weeks of my pregnancy, I had been reasonably healthy. My diet consisted of the usual fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Then May happened and suddenly it was 90-100 degrees in Minnesota (yes, this Southerner birthed her child in the mid-west. Talk about a sad trombone; I’m still not over it.). Do you know something they’re known for in Minnesota? Dairy. And the best kind of dairy is ice cream. I spent Memorial Day through the 22nd day of June floating in our swimming pool and eating tons of ice cream. Hindsight being what it is, maybe the whole Dairy Queen-every-day thing was a tad overkill. Maybe.
After I had Porter, I lost an immediate 20 pounds due to the baby, plus the gross stuff that came with him and crazy water retention from my preeclampsia. Instant weight loss! Unfortunately for me, I still had 21 more pounds of pregnancy weight to go; blerg. Over the next couple of weeks I lost another 10 pounds and then I hit a wall. A plateau is the fancy fitness term, I believe, for this problem. I hit a big freaking plateau.
At 10 weeks postpartum, my doctor - bless his heart - suggested that I receive an intrauterine device. At that point, I was so exhausted I couldn’t remember my name, let alone the proper time to take a pill, so I agreed and it was done (A little aside here: why I would think that I would even need birth control is beyond me. As a new mama, ain’t nobody got time for that.). Also, by that time I had resumed my healthy eating (no more Dairy Queen) and had begun light to moderate exercise. Add in the insane amount of breastfeeding and the weight should have been falling off. It most definitely was not. Double blerg.
I had repeatedly watched all of my gorgeous friends and darling sister-in-law have children and then magically morph into these skinny-minnie mommies who, in my perception, ate pizza and strolled their babies for 20 minutes to maintain their rapidly shrinking size. I could not for the life of me figure out why the number on my scale wasn’t budging. I wanted to be a J.Crew-model-mom-in-my-Volvo, too! I had the Volvo; now what was I doing wrong?
I had vaguely remembered a mention (conveniently ignored on my part) that for some breastfeeding women, their baby weight is maintained until the time they either reach the 6 months postpartum mark or start to wean their baby. I’m too lazy to confirm this via Google, but just trust me; it’s a thing. Was I one of the unlucky minority?
Regardless of the weight issue, I was working hard to maintain my relatively new-to-me healthy lifestyle. I was eating well and doing yoga and light weights during Porter’s naptime, but something just felt “off” in my body. Discussion after discussion with both Parker and my new doctor in Connecticut provided a solution. We collectively decided that my problems were stemming from my IUD and at 7 months postpartum, it had to be removed. Not everyone has issues with this little device, however, without going into disgusting detail, it was making me so, so sick.
Immediately I started to feel better and as my hormone levels were balancing, my body was beginning to balance as well. Hooray! Now, at 9 months postpartum, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this healthy in over a decade. We’re not all Gisele’s and Heidi’s or Jessica Alba’s and not everyone is a yogi or a runner or a “fitness freak”. I do think people just want to feel healthy and strong and good about themselves. Maybe you’re not even and mama but you struggle with your body image. The Good Lord knows I did! I went from a size 4 to a size 10 in three months during my Senior year of college. I’m pretty sure my friends and family were shocked, but were too sweet to say anything. Other than a small “fit” stint prior to my wedding, I maintained that weight from 21 to 29 and am now – finally! – a few pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I wish I could say that I didn’t care; that a number is just a number, but that would be a lie. The truth is that I will never be so happy to see that pre-pregnancy – 20lbs overweight-number on a scale! I’ve made the healthy choices and am doing the work to get me to my goal. Until then I’m going to scale back. I want to focus on the little things, take advantage of this gorgeous Spring weather, play outside with my baby boy and continue to set a healthy, happy example for my family.