Even back at your pre-pregnancy weight, some things aren’t quite the same and that’s ok.
A couple weeks ago I was doing that candlestick ab exercise where you lie down, hold onto a bench with your arms above your head, do a high candlestick, roll down, and repeat. My shirt flipped up and I saw my wrinkly, previously-stretched belly skin. I chuckled, pulled my favorite Lululemon high-waisted Align pants up a little higher and finished my set.
Disclosures: None. This post wasn’t created in partnership with any product or brand.
You see, my belly doesn’t always look like that. But if we’re being honest, some things about your body just aren’t quite the same after baby, even back at your pre-pregnancy weight.
My Baby is One!
If you follow me on Instagram you know Baby T just turned one! I can hardly believe it. I’ve been having all the mom feels. Everything reminds me of her birth. The trees blooming outside the kitchen window remind me of the day we brought her home from the hospital. The off and on, crisp then warm, indecisive spring Texas weather reminds me of those first few newborn weeks. It’s all spring of 2018 to me!
And I have to say, I love my life and who I am today so much more than I did before Baby T was in our lives! She is joy.
How I Felt About my Body at 9 Months Pregnant
I remember walking around with an extra 50+ pounds on my body while I was pregnant and I just felt like that was it. That was going to be my new life. I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with the thin woman in the pictures all around my house. I mean, I was stretching out my husband’s shirts, how could I?
I will be real. It’s easy to talk about not attaching yourself to a certain body image when your body has never changed drastically. But when it happens to you, in some ways it can feel like an identity crisis. One day as I walked in my closet I literally laughed at the clothes hanging, thinking, “Might as well throw all these out.” Not that I didn’t want to be in shape again after having a baby, it just felt so far-fetched that those size 2 clothes would ever see the light of day.
“Snapping Back” After Baby?
The good thing about having 4+ months with an extra 20+ pounds on your body (I had gained close to 20 pounds by 20 weeks), is it gives you a lot of time to gain some perspective on your weight.
I knew I had no plans to “snap back” after baby. It took me almost a year to put it all on and I figured it would take about the same to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, if I was able to. My hope was to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight because I’ve thought it will be easier to maintain a healthy weight throughout child-bearing years if I can reach an equilibrium between pregnancies. But, even though I wanted to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight I didn’t want to snap “back” because I knew there was no going back. Back is life before baby. Back isn’t the incredible body that was able to bear a child and then keep her alive after. It’s a new and improved body, with a few battle scars from the love it’s given.
How My Body’s Changed After Baby
So yeah, there are battle scars. If I’m hunched over my tummy skin is kind of wrinkly. The “girls” certainly aren’t as perky as they were before they had the life sucked out of them (yep, still nursing at a year). Sometimes my tailbone hurts depending on how I’m sitting, especially with different core exercises. Some of my muscles aren’t as defined, even back at my pre-pregnancy weight and about as strong as before baby. The differences aren’t crazy, but they’re there.
How I Feel About my Body after Baby at 1 Year Postpartum
Ya know, I had this moment about a month ago where I honestly felt kind of proud. I felt like, wow, I can’t believe I got to this point given I have not hyper-focused on losing weight since having a baby. I inherently knew it would happen if I didn’t stress about it, ate a lot of good-for-me foods (cue Plan Your Plate!), listened to my body’s hunger-full signals and worked out how I like to most days of the week. In some ways running a marathon probably helped, but in other ways it made me weaker and probably not as muscular as I might have otherwise gotten with HIIT and lifting how I prefer during those training months.
Then I had a funny reality check. I thought, hey maybe I should take a few pictures as a baseline before we start thinking about a next child. I casually snapped a few in my sports bra before throwing my gym shirt over. That night I looked back and thought, “Not too bad! I’m kind of in good shape.” Then I went and looked back at my one and only pre-pregnancy sports bra picture from 2017 and quickly realized, “Nope. Not as cut.” And then I laughed. It’s not *quite* the same, and that’s okay.
So, I guess this is how I feel at a year postpartum: I’m super proud of my body and everything it’s done for me the last two and a half years. I had a miscarriage, I had a full-term pregnancy, and I’ve been nursing for over 12 months. It’s done so much! And it still gives to me! I can run and bike. I can lift as heavy as I did pre-pregnancy. Overall I feel great and have felt pretty normal since about 9 months postpartum. Sometimes my body shows me its wrinkly skin, and sometimes I still feel like I’m going to pee when I do jumping jacks or sneeze, and those times when it reminds me of the incredible journey it’s been on, I laugh. And I know it’s not over yet.
Grateful for My Body
I’m grateful for my mom bod! Maybe I even like its little scars. They remind me I’ve lived some life the last couple years – and that… I’m into.
How are you feeling about your mom bod?
What’s been your postpartum experience?