This photo is slightly hideous, but I am sharing it with a purpose. It was taken about 12 hours after I pushed out that little bundle cradled in my right arm. Now, look at the belly. Big, right?
Rewind to just minutes before the picture. I had said goodbye to Husband, bigger kids, and mother in law. H & I had the whole evening together in the hospital alone.
I got up out of my bed to pee, and marveled at my quickness. Even though I delivered H at the same weight I was at when I had L, this pregnancy felt heavier. H was my biggest baby, but only by three ounces. I had polyhydramnios and I carried him high until the end.
I also went to 41+2 weeks with him. Getting up out of bed the final three weeks of pregnancy was a workout. My agility disappeared and I felt like I was being tortured in some cruel joke of a hidden reality TV show I didn’t know I starred in.
So, anyway, as I got up to pee, I felt light. I looked down and my belly looked flat. I practically skipped to the bathroom, caught a glimsp of myself and instantly wanted to take a picture of my new svelte self. I scooped H up, and smiled with my new little baby.
Photos don’t lie. I looked at the image on the camera and honestly couldn’t believe that belly was attached to me. It was a total body dysmorphic moment. Even though, in my head, and even when I looked in the mirror with my eyes, I felt thinner and lighter, the camera showed I still passed for 41 weeks pregnant.
I’m glad I didn’t delete the picture. I wanted to. But today, six weeks postpartum and feeling especially flubby, I can see that I’ve progressed from that moment, that high moment of feeling great, to something smaller.
I feel absolutely fantastic this postpartum period. I’ve returned to working out, I’m walking daily, and my mood is high. I almost don’t want to look in the mirror at myself, because what I see in the reflection doesn’t correlate with how I feel inside. But, the past few days, this high is fading. I’ve forgotten how huge and weighted I felt during pregnancy, and now I’m starting to look at myself and judge myself more harshly. Just being not pregnant isn’t enough, I want to look “amazing”.
Why is it we can gain weight gradually, over forty weeks, while growing life, but we expect ourselves to drop it in a mere matter of a month? I look at my wardrobe and besides yoga pants, leggings and maternity clothes, nothing fits. My jeans give me an uncomfortable reminder of the fat squeezing over the waistband. I falsely tell myself I can’t hide behind my pregnancy fat anymore, I must look prime and fit and perfect.
If anything, my appetite right now is higher than while pregnant. H has gained four pounds since birth and I’m also pumping an additional 20 ounces a day for donation. Breastfeeding makes me a beast-feeder and between that and my physical activity, I haven’t limited myself at all. Besides, I’d rather plateau at my current weight (about 20 pounds lighter than I was at delivery) and be able to feed my baby that mess with my supply somehow.
I’m also facing the upcoming holiday season. Food and drinks and candy and … temptation everywhere.
I’m trying to stay mindful. I’m trying to only eat when hungry, and only eat whole foods. I’ll try to prioritize staying kind to myself and body, not expect a “perfect” body to soon (not that I never had a perfect body) and most of all, keep in mind this all takes time.