Body after baby. It’s kind of a bitch.
While I’ve never been super thin, I’ve always eaten well and am pretty active so I figured losing the baby weight would be pretty easy. In fact, when I was around 6 months preggers I put away a lot of my non-maternity clothes just so I didn’t have to look at all the cute stuff I couldn’t wear for the time being. I was super proud of myself as I organized things in terms of upcoming seasons and when I figured I’d be wearing certain things again. I had little index cards taped to the outside of bins with things like “Tops & Dresses: 1 month post-partum” or “Work clothes: 3 months post-partum” or the funniest one “Skinny Jeans: 3 months post-partum.”
Did you see that… skinny jeans…. 3 months post-partum? Who the heck did I think I was? Heidi Klum? Was I planning on becoming a millionaire and hiring a live-in Pilates teacher so that I could grace the cover of Us Weekly with the headline “Body after Baby! How did she do it!?!?!?”
Now looking back, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking. I guess I knew a handful of women who had lost their baby weight pretty quickly and to me 3 months sounded like a realistic time-frame. I mean I figured most of the weight would just magically disappear in the 6 weeks I had to wait before getting cleared to run again, and then I would be able to run an easy breezy 4 miles the first time I hit the pavement – and then those last stubborn pounds would be gone by the time my baby was 3 months.
So that’s what I thought would happen.
But as you might imagine. That’s NOT what happened, for me at least, not at all.
For perspective I gained about 43lbs during my pregnancy, but for simplicity sake, lets just call it an even 45. I was about 155lbs pre-baby and at my last OB appointment two days before my water broke I was a whopping 198lbs. (And no, I’m not gonna call it 200 for simplicity sake, because 198 is still less than 200).
They say for women of a healthy pre-pregnancy weight you should gain somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-35lbs. But once I passed that 35lbs mark, my OB didn’t seem concerned, so I didn’t worry. And now looking back, I still don’t think I needed to worry about my pregnancy weight gain.
But I do think I should have been a little more realistic with my after-baby weight-loss goals. Although, I had no idea what would happen, so I’m not sure I could actually be “more realistic.”
That’s the thing about having babies and becoming parents. There’s really no way to “know” anything until you’re actually going through it. And even then, you probably still don’t really know anything 😉
After having Xan I probably lost about 15lbs within the first week. “Sweet!” I thought. My skinny jean dreams would be a reality come March!
But that’s where it all stopped. I hung out around 180ish for the next couple months. I started running again as soon as I was cleared to workout… but turns out that 11 month hiatus had turned me into the tin-man and my running skills… well they sucked. I kept at it though, but it was a struggle. And only within the last few months has it felt less of a struggle.
So needless to say at 3 months post-partum. I was NOT even remotely back into my skinny jeans.
And when I went back to work at 5 months post-partum, I still wasn’t. But given that I was back at work and probably couldn’t get away with wearing sweats, I swallowed my pride and put my maternity pants back on. But most of them were too big, so I actually put the same pair of pants on, almost everyday for the next few months.
So let’s flash-forward… my little stud-muffin is almost 11 months and I fit into maybe 3/4 of my pre-pregnancy clothes and am about 5lbs away from where I was when I found out I was pregnant.
I’m hoping that by the time Xan turns 1 I’ll be back at 155lbs… which may sounds like a lot to some of you but that happens to be my healthy and happy weight. At 155lbs I can both fit into my favorite jeans AND enjoy wine, pizza and ice cream (in that order).
But Xan is going to be 1 in a month, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be back to where I was that quick. And to be really honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever be back to where I was. My body has changed. A LOT. It grew an entire human being, which is pretty freaking creepy, but also amazing and incredible and while I’m certainly not past jumping on the “get the EFF off me baby-weight” band-wagon… I also need to honor what my body just went through.
Awhile ago a friend asked me what my secret was to losing weight after baby. Which was kind of funny, because I guess at least in my mind, while it feels like my kid has grown from a tiny baby to a full-fledged boy faster than I can pronounce his full name, the weight loss struggle has felt like a very loooooooong drawn-out one. But the actual physical time is the same. It’s taken Xan almost 11 months to turn almost 11 months ;), and its’ taken me almost 11 months to be almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
But I will share with you what I shared with my friend. The secret (and it really must be a secret because its probably the only thing you won’t read about in the magazines) is time. Of course eating healthy, exercising and breastfeeding can help. Chances are, time is going to the only thing that really works. And it sucks because of all the weight-loss secrets, it’s probably the only thing you really have no control of.
(Very important note on the Breastfeeding reference… giving the boy my boobies DID NOT do anything for me in terms of weight loss… some women say its all they did to lose weight but I call bull-shit because you will find just as many women who will tell you it did nothing to help them lose weight. Yes, breastfeeding is amazing and you should by all means do it if you’re able, but do it because its the best thing you can do for your baby not because you think it will help you lose weight – because it might not do jack-shit for that.)
So in time so long as you’re not eating nachos, pizza and ice cream for every meal of the day, it will come off. It might not ALL come off and your body may be different even after it does, actually I can pretty much guarantee you that. Your belly will probably be a little softer, but hey your arms will most likely be stronger. You win some you lose some, right?
I guess as much as I’m writing this for anyone out there struggling with the post-baby body crap… I’m writing it for myself. Because as easy as it is speak the “patience is a virtue, give yourself time, you grew a person” mantra, sometimes in practice I’m just not living it. Like last night, when I was going through my winter clothes and my old jacket was a little too tight and my favorite cognac jeans STILL didn’t fit, and I wanted to stomp my foot and pout and ask the post-baby-body universe “WHAT THE HECK?!”
So today, I wanted to say all the stuff I’ve just said, so that I could help remind myself to chill out a bit. The weight will come off. Its coming off. And maybe I don’t fit into my favorite cognac jeans, but I do fit into my favorite black jeans, and black jeans are really much more practical than cognac ones.
And today to honor this post, I’m actually wearing all pre-baby items. Except for my bra, because I don’t even know whats going on with my post-pregnancy presently-breastfeeding taters right now, and until I figure it out maternity-grandma bras FOREVER!