Family, Pregnancy

9 Months In + 9 Months Out :: The Post-Baby Body

December 16, 2015
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I had been meaning to write this post a bit sooner, closer to when Ainsley was 9 months old. She’s now almost 10 months, but the thoughts remain the same. Before having Ainsley I was really worried about the physical transformation of pregnancy and the toll it would take on my body. Having been so outspoken about our trouble having a baby, I didn’t voice many of those concerns for fear that it would sound shallow and silly in light of the gift of having a baby.

Now that Ainsley has been in this world as long as she was in my stomach, I thought I would talk a little bit about my experience with my new “mom bod.” (Is that a thing? It should be!)

1. Your body’s adaptation to pregnancy and how your body transitions after the fact is largely based on genetics, height, weight before getting pregnant and fitness level during pregnancy. Your husband’s cousin’s wife’s experience has very little (if anything) to do with your own experience. It’s best not to compare, like in all aspects of life.

2. You might look 4 months pregnant after you have your baby, and you might not. I was very prepared for a giant bump after having Ainsley (thank you, Princess Kate!) but my stomach was relatively (key word being relatively) flat.

3. Weight loss was fast, then slow, then slow and steady. Lots of weight was lost during those first few weeks. I was SO encouraged and excited and maybe a little naive and arrogant. And then at around 3 weeks postpartum the weight loss came to screetching halt. It stayed that way for weeks on end, despite my best efforts at eating healthy and going on short walks with Ainsley. Since I wasn’t ready to diet or exercise yet (for the sake of breastfeeding and recovery) I stayed the course and reminded myself time and time again that it was just a phase. I quit breastfeeding around 4 months and hoped that I would lose the rest of the baby weight, but it stayed put. Then, around 7 months postpartum I switched back to a vegetarian diet and got a little more consistent with my workouts and the rest of that pesky baby weight melted right off.

4. Buy some jeans in a size or two larger. Just do it! The first week I had Ainsley, my mom and I went to Old Navy and bought some jeans for me. I was so excited to wear real pants and needed an excuse to get out of the house, but my old jeans weren’t going to fit and I wasn’t about to wear maternity jeans. I purchased a pair of cheap boyfriend-style jeans and wore them while my body continued to change and adjust. It was such a wise decision! I didn’t feel disheartened trying to squeeze back into my old jeans and was better able to appreciate my body in its current shape and size. Sure, I still wore a lot of sweats and leggings, but having some real pants to put on that actually fit made a big difference.

5. Weight is just a number. I was a member of a new-momma group during the first 8 weeks of Ainsley’s life, and I can tell you from my experience and the experience of the other women that just because you return to “pre pregnancy weight” doesn’t mean that your body is back to where it was before baby. Going through the postpartum phase reminded me that weight is just a number, not an indicator of fitness or health. Toss that scale if you need to!

6. Your body will be different, but it can be better, too! I had a lot of people tell me, “Oh just you wait! You’ll never have a fit, lean body after having a baby!” And it was so discouraging. Sure, my body is different. Despite being as fit as I’ve ever been, some of my clothes just don’t fit the same now that I’ve had a baby, and I’m okay with that. You might need to re-examine your wardrobe and find new, flattering clothes but don’t feel like just because you’ve had a baby you’re bound to hate your body for the rest of your life.

Lastly, I want to share a few of my favorite resources for getting back in shape after baby. 
*Online Workouts! Getting to the gym with a baby is practically impossible, and I find these days I have to workout smarter and manage my time wisely. I am a huge fan of working out at home these days and have been doing the 21 Day Fix videos 4 or 5 days a week for the last few months. Check out my sister-in-law’s online boot camps if you’re interested! 

*Grab-and-Go Nutrition. I drink a smoothie almost every day for lunch. My favorite is Vega Protein & Greens, which is safe for pregnant women and nursing moms and really affordable for a high quality protein and veggie powder.

*Prenatal Vitamin. It’s key to keep taking a prenatal vitamin throughout the postpartum period, both for breastfeeding and for your own recovery. Treat your body gently and give it the nutrition it needs to recover.

Other mommas out there, what bits of advice would you have to share about the postpartum period and your mom-bod?

Madison

PS: I wrote this post about pregnancy and body image 2 days before Ainsley’s arrival! The comments are great if you’re looking for more insight into the subject.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Becky December 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Love this! I just bought Vega protein powder because I had to cut out dairy while breastfeeding. What is your go to shake recipe?

    • Reply MadisonMayberry December 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Oh good! I love Vega Protein + Greens in chocolate. I drink it with almond milk, a frozen banana, a little ice and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter. It keeps me full for hours and tastes like a chocolate milkshake. These days Ainsley even wants to drink some of my smoothie! 🙂

  • Reply Allison Erickson December 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for writing this, Madison! Too often, I find myself falling into the trap of comparison. As the quote says, it really does steal my chance to be joyful in my journey pre and post baby. I definitely echo what you said about buying a few pair of pants/jeans a size up if you need to. This took a lot of courage in my part, as I found myself saying, “Just squeeze into this old jeans, it will be okay for the day.” I’m not sure about you, but working 8 hours in jeans or pants that are too tight just adds to the physical and mental discomfort! So ladies, who cares if you need a size or two bigger after your baby. No mom should go through her day feeling squished into denim just for the heck of it. Be the mom that’s comfortable and confident. It will make a huge impact on your day as a whole.

  • Reply Maddie Peschong December 16, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    This is such a great post! I’m 6 weeks PP tomorrow (OMG – fastest 6 weeks ever!), and I was totally mentally prepared to struggle a bit getting back to pre-baby weight and feel like I had come to terms with that. To my surprise, I had an experience similar to you – by the time I left the hospital, I was shocked at flat my stomach was. A few days later, I hardly recognized myself in the mirror as all the swelling sweated out (super glamorous). I knew I was swollen, but I WAS REALLY SWOLLEN. Basically, I’ve never been so amazed by my body before and feel like pregnancy has made me make a lot of peace with it. HOWEVER, it’s still hard! I’m trying to accept my new stretch marks, and the fact that even though I’m back to my normal weight, my body is so different! My hips are wider, my muscle is gone, my belly still has extra skin…clothes fit differently! It’s bizarre, and I think will continue to take adjusting. Posts like this help me realize all us mama’s are fighting our own PP battles, both mental and physical, and that’s OK! Thank you!

  • Reply Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy December 16, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Love this! I’m 3 1/2 months postpartum and agree with all of it. Although I’m back to my pre-pregnancy size and weight, my body is just shaped differently — mostly my hips. I’m assuming they’ll get a little bit narrower over time (maybe?), but for now, I just need to embrace the fact that certain clothes might not be as flattering on me anymore!

  • Reply Jana Antil December 16, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I love this post so much! I just shared about my own feelings on my post-baby body yesterday, and I agree with so many of the points you make. I have battled multiple cases of mastitis – 4 to be exact – since having my son 12 weeks ago. I was hospitalized and on IV medications due to the severity of the illness and in that time my fitness level decreased. In fact, I think I was in better shape at 41+ weeks pregnant than I am today! I walked 5-6 days a week during my whole pregnancy and kept the weight gain reasonable and my stamina up. I was back to my pre-baby weight at my two week checkup (I had a c-section) and have kept it off, but I don’t think I’m necessarily ‘healthier’ than I was before. I definitely want to gain my strength back and have more energy. I know an exercise routine helps with all of the above and also gives me happy endorphins and a positive outlook. I hope to find a plan that works for me, one that will help me to wean back into exercise and find my healthy rhythm again.

  • Reply Katie @ Live Half Full December 17, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I’m 7 weeks PP today and am ready to get back into it. I’m still holding onto 20 pounds of baby weight… time to be patient and let it slowly go away. 🙂

  • Reply Leeann December 18, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I just ordered some samples of Vega one and it will be my first time trying Vega. Why do you select the protein and greens option over other Vega choices? I am new to smoothie protein powders and a bit lost! Great post!

  • Reply Katie December 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I would love more information about protein powders overall. I’ve heard that they aren’t always good for you, but know very little about it. Would you consider doing an informational post about protein powders in general and your thoughts on different ones you’ve tried, or why Vega is your favorite? Thanks! 🙂 I’m also soon to have my second and am thinking perhaps after her birth this could be a good way to get nutrition quickly.

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