Me a week or two before giving birth- Jan 2013 (I maxed out at 178 lbs - which was a 34lb gain my entire pregnancy -this is also my first pregnancy)
I will be doing a couple posts on this topic because it was very difficult for me after I had her to deal with my body image. Luckily Thomas had two weeks off work and my Mom and his Mom were here to help us with the new baby, and that gave me a chance to shower every morning and do my hair and makeup. Even when Thomas went back to work and all the help left, baby girl had a really great morning nap routine and that is when I would still take my shower and do my hair and makeup. It was the ONE thing a day that made me feel somewhat okay about myself. Even though my face was puffier, and rounder than normal - styling my hair and putting on a face made all the difference.
The most challenging thing for me post-baby was how surprised I was by the 6-weeks of no exercise & & how crummy I felt about my body. I am NOT one of those women who started walking, running, exercising pre 6 weeks. NO NO NO. The one thing I heard from all the women in my life, including my doctor was "TAKE IT EASY". My own Mother was nuts about me NOT using the stairs, as was my Grandmother. It has a lot to do with the pelvic floor, and the truth is we just aren't sure how much damage we do to it until we are older, so the recovery time post labor and delivery is incredibly important. That all being said I hated (with a passion) not being able to exercise.
Here are some pictures from my journey thus far, and how I felt at every stage. I will be posting later on how to dress, and style yourself to feel BETTER during these phases.
The day I gave birth - February 6, 2013 - I was on a high. My body was the last thing I was thinking about. I had a 28 hour completely natural vaginal birth using Hypnobirthing.
Me 4 days after giving birth - you can see my belly still swollen. At this point the water retention was intense, and I remember putting on that tank top and thinking - "this is interesting", but it still didn't phase me at this point. I was still 10 lbs down from when I was full term.
Me (& my gorgeous sister in law) 7 weeks post baby. My weight was 161lbs at this point, and I felt gross. By the 5/6 post partum mark I was completely over not being able to exercise. Note: I did NOT eat well during those 6 weeks which is something I would totally change with my next post partum recovery period. If I had not had so many DANG Potbelly Sugar Cookies I would have been in the 150's at that point - but hey! I was enjoying the sweets. To make you feel better there was one day where I think I had three sugar cookies from Potbelly - and those things are 550 calories A POP. The fact that I wasn't gaining made me excited - so I took advantage.
Okay I hate this picture (I am second from the left)- I about died when I saw it but I am posting it for a reason. I want SHOW other women out there that YES your body does change, your belly pouches, and you may feel crummy about yourself but be patient, and be KIND to yourself. I know you have heard it a thousand times but here is another reminder: You brought a living human being into this world. You carried a miracle. Genesis tells us that both man and woman were created in God's image, and you know what image we reflect of God? The ability to create life! It is an amazing and powerful, and sacred gift, and we need to be kind and loving to our vessel that carries these sweet children. Even if you don't believe it - there are days when I don't, and I was scared - Your body WILL change back. I am not fully there yet, but even in the past 3 weeks (from when this picture was taken) I see a difference, and my body is changing, and the skin is going back to the muscle, and that fat is melting.
Mothers Day 2013 - I still have about 10 lbs. to lose in this picture to be at my pre-baby weight
13 weeks post-partum. At this point I have been very disciplined about exercise and I am at 153-156 in this picture. I am also a nursing mother, so learning what to eat, and when has been interesting. You can see how and what I am eating in my next post!
This is me today - down to 151. Still have 7lbs to go to my pre-pregnancy weight but I had a major victory today. These jeans are my "skinny-fat" jeans. Lol - what are "skinny-fat" jeans? They are the Pre-pregnancy jeans I fit into (at 11 weeks) but also my "fat jeans" - I am NOT in my skinny-skinny jeans yet! Back in 2011 I lost 20 lbs and I looked & felt amazing. I got ride of all my "fat" clothes, and as I was losing weight I bought these pair of jeans to transition (since I knew I wanted to lose more). They are Madewell Jeans and so I didn't want to throw them away when I lost all the weight. So I kept them around. I wore them in the first trimester of pregnancy (when I had put on about 8 lbs), and now I fit them! It's still a tight squeeze but they are totally wearable! This picture also shows my tummy - you can still see there is a lot of work to be done, but it is an improvement from three weeks ago, and from all the reading I've done it takes about one full year (ugh) for the skin to return 90% back to the muscle. Don't get me wrong that is not all skin, I have about 10% body fat I also need to lose, but it all ties into each other.
If you are a new Mom, or just had a baby and are struggling with your body image I hope by me "putting it all out there" it has been an encouragement. I think all women (as some point in their life) struggle with this - especially after having babies, but take heart and just keep moving forward. Now that I have been through, and am still going through this, I think TIME does more good for our bodies than any amount of exercise or trying to eat perfect. Keep in mind if you are breastfeeding to be cautious with dieting, make sure you are getting plenty of carbs and drinking enough water. This is not the time to "low carb" it - you can do that AFTER you stop nursing. Remember you are beautifully made and say nice things to yourself - change the inner-dialogue.