Gabe being 9 months is a milestone for him, but it is also a major milestone for me. So many people say, “It takes 9 months to grow a baby and 9 months to put your body back” or something like that, and I had a goal of feeling good about my body by Christmas of this year. A few months ago I was not in a good place. I was over the changes. So many freaking changes! And I am happy and proud to announce that I DO feel good about my body 9 months post partum. Eighteen months ago I had no idea what changes were around the corner for me, I had no idea what a long journey it all is, and the long journey it continues to be. Not just for my body, but for my family.
1 month pregnant, 18 months ago.
9 months postpartum
No baby in there
So here are my facts on the purely physical – I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight, though that ended up not being as important as getting back into shape. I gained 55 pounds during my pregnancy and that means I’ve lost 55 pounds. It didn’t feel overly difficult, but it did feel like if I didn’t jump on it, it would have become incredibly difficult. But again, the number on the scale turned out to not be the most challenging or the thing I was focusing on the most. The way my body felt to my touch, my strength, my firmness (as intimate as that is to say) was/is my biggest hurdle. Putting back on pants I never thought I would ever fit into again is a good thing, it makes me happy and is exciting, but things are not the same. The pants are the same, but how they look and where they sit, and how they cut in or don’t or whatever… it is not the same. And it’s ok, I’m ok with it and I feel good about things, but it’s different. The number on the scale is not the whole story.
My breasts are small. They are smaller than they were before I was pregnant. I have always wanted smaller breasts, so I’m kind of jazzed about it. They are also very very soft. My all over youthful firmness is gone, even there, especially there. I don’t feel like they are saggy as much as they are deflated and they feel so… limp to the touch? I dunno, that’s not a very attractive description, but hey! That’s why they make bras!
Sometimes I ask Kamel if he sees any differences in my bod. He says no. He also doesn’t know I am a brunette (Jokes! Jokes!) (Sort of). The one thing he has said repeatedly though is that I’m more confident. I don’t feel particularly more confident, I thought I faked it till I maked [sp] it pretty well before I was pregnant, but he sees it. I do see that I am less panicked about body stuff, that I am too distracted by other life things to refuse to go to dinner because I can’t find an outfit I feel comfortable in (true story). That’s been an immense relief. And I guess, what you see is what you get, so why fixate? I kind of keep waiting for this feeling to go away, like it is some sort of hormone afterglow. I keep waiting to go back to a ball of anxiety over every pound, every piece of cake, every onion ring, every pair of pants that are tight, etc etc. But it hasn’t happened. Now I just put on a sweatshirt and eat some brussels and know that tomorrow is a new day and life is too short to cut beer out of my diet.
In other body related news: Having another baby has been on my mind lately as we approach Gabe’s first birthday and I find myself googling “when is it good to have a second baby” or “how is recovery different from a second baby” and so on and so forth when I have a quiet moment to myself. Because, though I do not have the same anxiety I had before being pregnant… I have different anxiety! Weeeeeeee! I worry that I managed to navigate postpartum pregnancy #1 pretty well, but the second one! The second one is going to push me right over the edge and I’ll become so different, physically, that I’ll look back at photos and wonder how I ever became xyz. My body will stretch out to the point of no return and all that will be left of me is loose skin. These are my fears.
What I’m learning from all of my googling: the same thing I knew before. Every body is different! There is no road map for pregnancy, for aging, for how we handle disease, how we handle pain. There are genetics, but they only give you a maybe-preview. Will I be even sicker for the second pregnancy? I worry about that. What if I don’t have insane motion sickness like I did with Gabe? What if it is easier? What if my labor happens so fast I barely make it to the hospital? Who knows. The googling is not as satisfying as I want it to be though. I would prefer things to not be so unknown, let me tell you. So! If anyone has had more than 1 kid (most of my people haven’t had any at all!), I would really love to hear how things were different/the same with pregnancy and with recovery.
I’m always 10000000000 steps ahead of myself, it’s a blessing and a curse. But for now, things are good. It all happened. I expanded, the family expanded, and we keep moving forward. I don’t feel the need to go try on bikinis at the moment, but who needs a 2-piece anyway? I’m pretty happy in my jeans and tshirt.