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?
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.