Postpartum Body Image

Let’s talk some real talk here for a minute.

Prior to getting pregnant I was always fairly lean. I’ve always worked out and eaten more or less healthy, minus the amount of cheese I consume. However, I’ve been a weight yo-yo’er my whole life.

When I got pregnant I was at a weight that was a bit on the heavier side. More than I would typically weigh, but not my highest. We had just come off one of the most brutal winters we’d had in years and I had put on some winter chub. I was just starting to lose that weight when I found out I was pregnant. Morning sickness hit me and I went on a nothing but bland white carbs diet for the majority of my first trimester to quell it.

The last belly picture I ever took. Thank goodness she was three weeks early. I have no idea where I'd fit any more belly!

The last belly picture I ever took. Thank goodness she was three weeks early. I have no idea where I’d fit any more belly!

Unfortunately for me, pregnancy was not kind to me. I gained weight basically from day one until I delivered at 37 weeks. I ended my pregnancy at a significantly higher weight than I had ever seen on a scale before. It was a hard pill to swallow. I had packed on 40lbs in 37 weeks, on top of the winter weight I was still lugging around from the previous year.

The first couple of weeks postpartum the weight fell off rapidly. My body noticeably shrank every day. Then it began to slow down, which is to be expected. Then it stopped.

One week postpartum. I had some major gas retention and bloating issues, which is apparently very common after abdominal surgery.

One week postpartum. I had some major gas retention and bloating issues, which is apparently very common after abdominal surgery. You can also see the scabbing from where the medical tape burned my sides. And yes, my bra is on inside out. That’s what sleep deprivation does to you.

My weight loss stalled completely at five weeks postpartum, correlating with when I started meds for PPD, and I’ll talk more about that later. But the fact of the matter is I haven’t lost a single ounce in over seven weeks. And it is starting to weigh on me. Pun intended.

I’ve been running. I’ve been cycling. I’ve been eating pretty clean and healthy most days. Until I come off the SSRI’s I don’t expect much to change for me in terms of weight loss. It’s difficult to grasp, but it’s my reality right now.

My body is different now. My arms that are normal thin and toned are jiggly. My stomach that is normally flat and lean is squishy and pudgy with my c-section shelf still clinging to life. My legs are thick, soft, and covered in stretch mark and my hips are wider and softer. My hand never shrank back down to normal and I finally conceded and had my wedding rings resized because I was desperate to get them back on. My body from top to bottom is so different.

One month postpartum and what I basically still look like at almost 12 weeks out.

Four weeks postpartum and what I basically still look like at 12 weeks out.

It took me 27 years to learn to accept my body and appreciate it for it’s strength and not so much it’s beauty, or lack there of. Now I have to start all over. Learn a new body. Learn to accept and appreciate it all over. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this notion.

Some days I have a hard time getting myself out of my yoga pants and hoodie because I just feel like hiding my body. Other days I try to dress nice in an effort to make myself feel better and start to work on the accepting my new body thing.

And this is all compounded by having no time to myself. I put my needs second now every day all day. I’m sleep deprived and still have the occasional hard day emotionally. I had to buy new work pants since none of my mine fit, which was a really difficult thing to do. Some days I barely get to eat and when I finally do I just grab anything. Some days I don’t get to workout because the time to do so just never comes around.

I know it will take time. Nine months on, nine months off, so they say. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard. That some days are harder than others.

The bottom line here is that I’m trying my hardest and progress is slow, but it’s happening, sort of. I’m going to keep eating healthy, keep working out and training, and just keep doing little things that make me feel good about myself. And during the more difficult days I will continue to remind myself that this new body of mine, it’s new because it did something great. It grew an entire other human person from scratch. It nurtured and fed and cared for my beautiful, sweet daughter for nine months. And while this may not be the body I know, it’s a body that is incredible. It has carried me across many a finish lines and accomplishments and it carried new life into this world.

family

There are days when I truly hate my body but then there are days when I am amazed by it. I don’t expect to learn to love this body any time soon, but I will appreciate it for everything it can do and has done. And when I’m really feeling down about it I will pick up my daughter and hold her tight and thank her for making me amazing.

Breathe deep. Run long. Be amazing. 

2 Thoughts on “Postpartum Body Image

  1. Mirabda on February 5, 2016 at 8:17 pm said:

    It gets better. It’s hard to feel that w a baby so young but it will my friend. I’m leaner now than I ever was but it took years after babies. Until they sleep through the night- the real actual 8 hour night/ be kind to yourself. And then be kind some more.

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