The Mom Files: 6-Weeks Postpartum

Last we talked about body stuff I had just gotten Gabe home and was AMAZED by the magic of the body (and even rocked a photo of me in my underpants….).

For a recap, this was me the first full day back at home:

Postpartum Tummy

Wow it is bizarro to look at that now. That was my tummy without a baby in it… and I was like, “ROCK ON postpartum tummy! You are awesome!” Now I’m like, “Is that even real? It looks like I stuffed some paper towels in there or something, that was me?” It so totally was and I was A-Ok with it.

My tummy was definitely not the only thing that was bigger after I gave birth to Gabe. My butt, my thighs, my hips – they were all bigger. And the most shocking of all! For a few weeks after delivery I had  a fair amount of extra skin on my back. I was like a rubber band that had been stretched stretchstretchstretched forward and then snapped back. I used to stand naked in the bathroom before my shower and marvel at my back skin. You spend your whole pregnancy looking in front of you and you don’t ever think about what’s happening behind you.

Anyways! That was then and this is now, 6 weeks postpartum:

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This is definitely NOT to say, “oh my goodness, look at me! WHAT BABY?!” Because… my body is not the same body as it was before Gabe, but then again… should it be? After growing another being, I don’t think it should be exactly the same as before. This is to say: If you are scared (or curious) like I was about what the after looks like, this is my after. The thing that is the most stressful is the learning curve. What to wear? What fits and what doesn’t? What is my new size? But the way my body looks? Though I am still about 15 lbs from where I feel is manageable, I think my post baby body is kind of sexy. The softness, even the little tummy is pretty hot. And duh… the boobs. The cleavage to end all cleavage.

Last week I read this post by Eat The Damn Cake where she talks about how the “Get Your Body Back” craze is bullshit. I think her overall take was a little harsh. Obviously it is scary to both bring a new person into your family and also sacrifice everything you know to be true about how your body functions all at the same time. This is the only body I get, and with the current self-help trend of, “The only person you can control is you” (which is pretty spot on) it makes sense that with everything I can’t control with pregnancy, knowing that afterward I could at least push the stroller up some wicked hills and bring on the baby carrots is comforting. I believe it is human nature to have anxiety over change. I believe it is human nature to be anxious about the big unknown – especially when it involves a huge part of our identity.

One thing the post says that really rung true with me was this:

Well, I will have a different body then. After. The way we are always growing into new, different bodies, because that is the way that bodies work. That is the way it’s supposed to be. A body is a long story with twists and surprises and secret abilities almost like little superpowers.

And also this:

Stretch marks are not life-changing. She is life-changing. She is becoming a part of my story and the story of my body.

So what I’m saying here is my body changed. It is still changing, it will always be changing. But look! See! It is not bad, it is not scary. I have stretchmarks on my hips that are purple-y and they do make me feel a little self-conscious, self-conscious enough for me to not want to be in a bathing suit before they go away, but I know they will fade and I will be here waiting it out. I worried that I would not recognize me after Gabe came. But here I am! Getting stronger every day, regaining my core strength because it was awesome to be able to walk a few miles every day and never feel worn out by it. I want that back.

Some other things not at all weight related with my postpartum body:

  • I have carpal tunnel in both my wrists, causing numbness and tingling in my fingertips. The doctor gave me two braces to wear and she also told me that it will go away and that when I have another baby it will for sure come back again. Oh well. Also, my knuckles swell at night and it is difficult to straighten my fingers all the way in the morning. I’ve read that it is fluid build up from pregnancy and will eventually fade too.
  • I magically have way less armpit hair. Hormones are weird and magical. And by less I mean a LOT less… barely visible.
  • The first few weeks after birth I smelled like a man who never showered. Even though I showered every day and truly never had BO (unless following or big workout or if I didn’t shower for a few days) before pregnancy/birth I SMELLED. I mean, I never even wear deodorant… that is how much I do not sweat or smell in my armpits. But postpartum? Smelly armpits. Weird.

I still am not back to my usual size 8 pants. I don’t actually know what size I am right now, but I know that my pre pregnancy clothes don’t fit my hips/butt zone. And when I went shopping last weekend I didn’t even approach pants, but some fitted skirts were not happening in the size 8. It has only been 6 weeks, and I’m really giving myself until 3 months until I purchase non-maternity pants. Beyond that I don’t expect to be fitting into my old jeans until Christmas, and honestly I might never fit into them. Things have changed, I don’t know what is permanent yet  and what isn’t, but what I do know (to my relief) is that it isn’t bad. Inconvenient, yes at times, but also kind of sexy and powerful.

16 thoughts on “The Mom Files: 6-Weeks Postpartum”

  1. What a great post! As someone who is almost halfway through pregnancy and is having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I can’t just pickup and run 3 miles, this is encouraging. Yes my body will change, but look what it did to cause that change. I will be able to run again but right now is not the time. 🙂

    1. That’s exactly it. There were times where I really beat myself up mentally while pregnant because I wasn’t able to be as active as I wanted to be. So many magazines and news shows are all about “pregnant workouts” and stuff… I was able to walk… and that’s IT. And that’s just the way it was. But now my cardio ability is back and getting back into shape is a major priority. You will get it back again! Promise.

  2. Just want to say that you look amazing, and what the body can do is truly a miracle. As I am grappling with my own (daily) body changes in the middle of my pregnancy, I do think about how I have very little control over what my body is doing and I have zero idea how much weight I am going to gain by the end of this pregnancy, or how I’m going to lose it after birth (though if I am being honest, I am not terribly worried by that at this point). But I am also reassured by your post, that things do change, but they go back to “normal” even if it is a new normal. So thank you for that.

  3. Yay for reaching 6 weeks out! Things started to get easier for me at that point…the baby was a bit more used to being in the world and I was a bit more used to being a mom. And – fyi – it took me about 9 months to get back into my regular jeans and whatnot because I also gained weight in the butt/thigh area, but I did get back into them eventually. It’s a process! Good luck!

  4. I don’t know if you saw this post last week, but I really liked it: http://jezebel.com/how-to-lose-the-baby-weight-in-just-three-lightning-fas-5993518, and the image at the top has been my mantra as I try to think about being healthy and loving my body postpartum. I want to feel good in my body and be able to do the things that I want to do, but I’m not trying to pretend that I didn’t carry around and birth a human being. Thinking about it that way, helps me to feel a little more balanced, because I do care about my body and my fitness, but I don’t want to try to achieve some impossible (to me) “perfect” body.

    1. I have seen that article!! My friend Emma (who sometimes comments here) linked it to me the other day. 1) I love that image at the top and want to steal it so very much. and 2) I love the discussion on the woman’s body in the sketch and how it is obvious that she is a woman who had given birth. That was empowering stuff.

  5. Lauren you look super good. And yes, bodies change, they change as we age, no matter what. But what just happened is amazing, both the baby making and the going back to almost normal. And I am glad to hear you are slowly able to get back to shape and that you feel more in control .

  6. it really is amazing, huh? I know people told me before I gave birth that the weight would just drop off, but till it happens to you, its hard to trust.
    I’m wearing a whole pile of my old clothes already, but not non-maternity pants yet, as my “size up” jeans are too baggy, and my good jeans are still to tight.
    thankfully I have no new stretchmarks on my thighs, they have all congregated on my stomach instead and are bright red and angry looking still. That said, we are going in to winter, so its not like I’ll be at the beach anytime soon (a spa will be wonderful in a couple of weeks though).
    I got carpal tunnel at the end of the pregnancy, and it largely cleared up within 2 days of the birth, although my hands stil ache sometimes. Sigh.
    But you look awesome, truly. Epically awesome. <3

    1. I am so impressed that your size up pants are too big! Holy jeebus! My demi-panel maternity pants are all really tight. Which is annoying because even when i was pregnant they were not this tight… but then I stopped wearing them in December and upgraded to a whole other kind of maternity pant after that hahaha.

      I know your pregnancy was tough and I am so happy to hear that your recovery has been so successful!

  7. The weirdest thing for me was trying to put on one of my pre-pregnancy skirts the other day, and that shiz was just NOT happening around the hips. Not even because of fat really (I was poking to check, haha), but because it wouldn’t fit around the pelvic bones anymore! Go figure, hips widening is totally a thing that happens.

  8. Oh.. my.. god.. seriously, your body DOES look like ‘what baby?!’. I am so impressed. Body anxiety is one of the biggest reasons that I’ve been putting off babies. I am still not ready but I am amazed at the pictures in this post. They have given me more hope than anything else I’ve seen so far (because I don’t believe celeb bodies). Thank you!

  9. What I find so interesting is that it’s not just the weight that changes. That part is expected and even if it’s hard it’s possible to anticipate. The things like developing carpal tunnel and weird hair changes? Those are a little more mind boggling to me.

  10. I love this! I somehow managed to miss out on the self-conscious body stuff that most women get from society. Then I’m thin, I admire my muscles. When I’m heavier, I like looking pudgy and soft. I’ve never not liked how I look (though I’ve never been obese). It’s not something I’ve actively worked toward. I don’t know why I’m…satisfied, but I’m convinced that this attitude has freed up a ton of emotional energy for me.

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