I knew my body would change after baby. I knew about those postpartum pounds. I also had a sense of urgency that the weight needed to come off now. Right now.
I had been in the best shape of my life just before my pregnancy. I was determined to be that thin again. I didn’t want to be a fat, lazy mom. I didn’t want to be the fat, depressed Marie from years before.
What I didn’t count on was life. What I didn’t factor in was sleepless nights and lack of energy and moving across country and settling in.
I didn’t give myself the space to be. The expectation of efficient, immediate weight loss had been set, and I didn’t meet that expectation.
The weight stayed on for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I didn’t have the time, energy, or mental fortitude to dedicate to weight loss. Believe me, I knew how to lose weight and get in shape. I had done it before. I had worked diligently for a year to lose 60 pounds and kept it off for another 2 years. I knew exactly how to lose the weight.
I just couldn’t do it.
And I was ashamed and frustrated. I felt lazy and hideous and incompetent for not being able to figure out how to find the time and energy to dedicate to weight loss.
But I just couldn’t do it.
I had too much to do. I had too much to process and figure out. I had too much to get used to and adjust to. I had too many feelings to filter through and identify. I had too many diapers to change. Too many feedings to sit through. To much mothering to get on with.
But. In the meantime, I remained fat.
I remained hideous. My body remained completely different than before and not at all the fit, fabulous new mom body I had expected to have.
I sulked and pouted and complained and moaned.
And then I got to work.
About 6 months postpartum, the fog finally lifted enough, I finally figured my new life out enough, to start meal planning and cooking and shopping and prepping and exercising. I finally had enough sleep to provide me with the self-control to make wise food choices. I finally lost the weight.
It took me about 6 months to get back to my pre-baby weight.
What a disappointment.
I was disappointed it took me a full year to get my body back. I was disappointed that my body still didn’t look or feel the same. I was disappointed that I would have to do this all over again when I got pregnant the next time.
All of this, in addition to the completely life changing fact that I was now a mother, really messed with my identity. I didn’t have the job I used to have, the friends I used to have, the hobbies I used to have, the schedule I used to have, and worst of all, the body I used to have. Who was this woman? It certainly wasn’t me.
I talked to other moms and the consensus seemed to be deep disappointment and dissatisfaction with their postpartum bodies. With the changes in their breasts and stomachs, hips and thighs, hair and skin. Motherhood had ruined us forever, and there was no going back.
I began a hopeless cycle of always working toward, always longing for, the body of my past. The ideal of my 17 year old frame was now well outside by reach, but at the very least, I could get my body back to its pre-pregnancy shape and keep it that way. Forever.
That’s the forever goal, isn’t it? On the forever to-do list. Get that body back. And anything short of that is failure.
CHALLENGE: How did you body change after having kids? How did you react to those changes? How did you go about getting your “body back?”