Love yourself first, you deserve it
I never anticipated how much pregnancy and postpartum life would mess with me physically and mentally. The struggle toward my own postpartum body acceptance has been very real. Now add to that uncontrollable hormonal changes, and some days I have been a walking crazy person.
A few weeks after giving birth, I needed to leave the house. So I packed up baby and we went to the mall. While I the mall I walked into Victoria’s Secret, I usually love going shopping at Victoria’s Secret. As I walked in the sales guy asked if I needed help, and then said,”I see you just had a baby, the girls in dressing room can measure your bra size and help you out.” It was a harmless statement and he was just being helpful. Yet, that harmless statement brought me close to the point of a panic attack.
Of course I knew I just had a baby, but the reality hit that my body is now different. I didn’t even know my own body anymore, I was a whole new bra size. Of course my bra size was different, my boobs were now ginormous and filled with milk. I didn’t think about. Everything that I had known about my body had changed. As I walked though Victoria’s Secret I did not feel sexy.
The female body is amazing. Growing a human for nine months, and being able to supply it daily with nutrients from your own body is quite a process. My husband always reminds me of how wonderful and amazing I am. I appreciate that. However, while growing that human for nine months, and even when that human is living outside of the body, there is so many changes that women experience. Nothing really prepared me for that. In my mind I would have a baby and then go back to normal. You know the weight would drop, I would go right back into crossfit, I would run with no problem and I would be able to go full beast mode within 6 weeks. Yeah no, that did not happen. Sure my doctor cleared me to return to all my physical activity at my 6 week appointment, yet I was and still am no where near ready to go all full on beast mode. That reality was a reality that I was not ready for. I had take like 100 steps back, and retrain my body.
For me, the struggle is real when comes to accepting my postpartum self. Everything I once knew about my body is different. And it will always be different because I gave birth to a human. It was the first time my body did that, and my body will forever be changed by that experience. Different is not a bad thing, it’s a good different, but with different comes the task of redefining my body, and my own sense of sexy.
Prior to pregnancy I would workout twice a day most days, my weight and muscle mass were at a place that I really loved. I had worked hard for years to get it there. During pregnancy I gained about 46 pounds, but that was fine for me because baby and I were both healthy.
While I was pregnant, lots of moms would ask if I was planning on breast feeding. I would say yes. They would then say good that’s how you lose all the baby weight and you will “snap back”. Well as it turns out, I did not magically lose all this baby weight while breast feeding, and there is no quick “snap back”. I wish our culture would stop using the term snap back. It puts unnecessary pressure on postpartum women. Your body moved everything around and gave birth to another person, it doesn’t just snap back. Your body is not a rubber band.
Since giving birth I have lost about 20 pounds, so I still have close to 30 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-preganancy weight. I used to get frustrated with myself because my body was not “snapping back” quick enough. I breast feed, they told me if I breast feed the weight would fall right off. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But you know what, I’m fine with that. I realize my body is doing what it needs to do to keep myself and Nico happy and healthy.
My next goal for 2020 is to trust the process. That’s what all my coaches and my chiropractor say, so I guess I will listen. I will trust that I will have a healthy postpartum body. I can get back to my pre-pregnancy self again and be even stronger, faster, and leaner. But I don’t have to rush. I used to compare myself to Beyonce and Serena Williams (yeah that was dumb), who were crazy bad ass postpartum. Also, Allison Felix was breaking records 10 months after giving birth. That’s amazing. But then I read somewhere that Serena said that she would never go right to training like she did right after having a baby. I’m also not getting paid millions of dollars to get my body into a certain shape for work, so I guess I can take it easy. I can allow myself to enjoy my postpartum self and feel sexy. I will love who I am because my body did the ultimate, most amazing job of creating a human. My body is different, I am different, and I can love this version of different.
I am running my first half marathon of the year in May, I had signed up last year but deferred. I do want to be in shape to run and need to start training. My current crossfit workouts are helping me build endurance and muscle and soon I will start running. For some reason I am having anxiety about running again. I need to just do it. With the right amount of training and nutrition I can do this race with no problem.
Staying positive about myself, my body, and all of life’s changes are part of the process. I can’t rush the process, I just have to live it. One day at a time, one step at a time, and I will give myself permission to fully love me.