Chronicles of a New Mum: The Mum in the Mirror
Everyone’s body is different. There are some women that give birth and wear their skinny jeans on the way home from the hospital. I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite. Everything got wider, bigger, and flabbier. Almost three months after having a baby, I’m still sporting my stretchy leggings and long shirts to detract from the 20 extra pounds I’ve got hanging around.
During my pregnancy, I tried to make healthy choices. I went to pre-natal yoga, did kegels, took vitamins, and went on lots of long walks (which often ended at the ice cream shop). But I had to have my carbs… and lots of ‘em. Bagels were my weakness. Oh, and cookies and potato chips, too. As my baby bump grew, so did everything else. But I happily indulged in my cravings and figured I’d deal with it later.
And now, it’s “later.” Ugh.
So far, I’ve dropped about half of what I gained, but it still seems like I’ll never be able to squeeze into anything in my closet from my pre-baby life. Last week I decided to see if my favorite pants fit. They didn’t go past my thighs. I didn’t expect to have a baby and look like my old self in an instant. But I didn’t expect… this.
I’m learning firsthand that there’s no such thing as “bouncing back” after having a baby. After the large task of growing another person, our bodies change forever in ways we can see on the surface (hello, stretch marks, belly pouch, and leaky boobs!), and ways that we can’t (ab muscles, are you still there?).
It’s a slow process, and I’m trying to be patient with myself. Unlike celebs, I don’t have a personal trainer or personal chef. Sometimes “lunch” is standing at the kitchen counter quickly eating crackers with peanut butter. It’s okay that I don’t have a gym schedule yet. I feel like I’m just starting to get my life on a schedule again.
It’s all about baby steps. So, that’s what I’m doing.
I’m coming up with some clever ways to fit in exercise when I can. I do squats when I’m holding my baby. Or I’ll lie down and do crunches next to her while she babbles to the monkey toy dangling from her activity mat. When she naps, sometimes I’ll pop in a post-natal yoga DVD. Aside from being pleasantly surprised that I can do a plank again, it’s nice to just focus on breathing – not all the things on my to-do list. And now that the weather is nicer, I strap my babe into the stroller and we go on lots of long, hilly walks (sometimes to the ice cream shop).
When I find myself feeling blue about my post-baby body, I shift my thinking to all the pretty amazing stuff it’s doing that I never knew it could. I’m keeping a baby alive, fed, clean, healthy, and happy. I wake up at all hours of the night whenever she needs me. I lug her enormous stroller all over town. I hold her when she’s fussy, even when my arm totally falls asleep and she doesn’t. Suddenly, I am everything to this little person. That’s kind of a big deal.
With time and effort, I will start to look and feel like the old Jess. But for now, when I really need my fashion fix, I order new shoes online. (Thankfully, footwear doesn’t care what size your waist is). Works like a charm.