I want my pre-baby body back.
Phrases like, "I want my pre-baby body back," or "I have 10 more lbs to lose and then I'll be back at pre-baby weight" get thrown around a lot in the mama world. I've caught myself saying those exact sentences. But here's the thing, that pre-baby body... yea you might as well say adios to it because reality is, after growing a human your body will never be the same and rightfully so!
Your body just went through one of the world's greatest miracles. It was stretched and expanded for 9 months while your beautiful child was growing and developing. For me, when I was pregnant with Jax I indulged too much (taco bell anyone?) and my level of physical activity went down big time because I was just so tired all of the time. I gained too much and my doctor was so gracious to remind me to go for a walk daily and that I only needed an extra 300 or so calories a day, not 3 extra meals.
My body changed a lot. My hips got bigger right away and people started assuming I was having a girl. My arms, my boobs, my ankles, even my fingers, they all got bigger and my face always looked puffy. Now that preggo body, I worked it honey and most of the time I loved how I looked pregnant but in the back of my mind I was thinking, "oh my gosh, how am I ever going to get my body back?"
Cut to delivery day, I had Jax early in the morning and had already decided in my head that the day I have my son was the day I was going to start a Whole30. I was going to cut out dairy, gluten, and sugars. I had even packed some Whole30 approved snacks in my hospital bag just in case I needed them. The desire to quickly return to who I was before Jax was there and in my mind if I did a couple rounds of Whole30 alongside of breastfeeding I would quickly lose that 80 pounds that I gained. And of course my belly bandit would take care of shrinking my belly back down for me too.
2 months after I gave birth to Jax we had a big family party that required me to dress up and wear a dress. I remember the moment when I opened my closet and pulled out the dress that I wanted to wear, a pre-baby dress. It didn't fit. I went for the next dress, it didn't fit. 8 dresses later all crumpled on my bed and in a face full of tears I stood and looked at my new body in the mirror. In that moment I knew my body was forever changed by the curly headed Jax who was gazing with such love at my tear filled face. I put on a cotton maternity dress and a kimono and went to the party. Although still upset I knew I needed to accept where I was, thank God for my child, and not let my new body discourage me from enjoying life with my family.
The stress I put on myself in the first few weeks of postpartum life not only effected my confidence and self esteem but it effect my ability to breastfeed Jax. Because I was eating so little, my milk slowly began to go away. I wasn't feeding my own body so how could I feed Jax? I know there may be more science to my milk supply but I honestly believe that my desire to be pre-baby Bethany and the stress I put on myself had a lot to do with it.
Now, 15 months post partum, I have never felt more confident in who I am. My body is not the same. I honestly think it's better. The stretch marks I have from Jax are reminders of his growth and also, crunchwrap surpremes. When I feel a little hand on my wide hips I remember the day I waddled into the hospital. When I find myself complaining about my pancake boobs I remember that God allowed me to feed my child for 5 months.
My post baby body is becoming my favorite. I am learning not to say phrases like, "when I lose the baby weight" or "before I had a baby I looked like..." I am learning not to body shame myself for our incredible blessing that I was able to grow. You will see me being active with my child, making healthy choices, and yes even indulging in a Mexican pizza every now and then.
What is your relationship with your post baby body? Did you go through the same moments that I went through? How are you rocking your confidence and your body now? Tell me, let's talk about it!
Photo on the left was taken literally a day before I got pregnant, after completing a Whole30. Photo on the right is now, making healthy eating choices, staying active, and loving life.