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The Mom Files: 18 Months of Change

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.

SONY DSC

1 month pregnant, 18 months ago.

9 months post partum

9 months postpartum

9 months post partum 2

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.

14 Comments

  1. Lauren, thanks for all the honesty, as always. As I feel my body really starting to grow exponentially, seemingly, by the second (hello 28 weeks), I wonder about so many things. Mostly I am OK with things changing, because I know they will, but how will things happen? (I was kind of hoping though that my boobs would stay big).
    How will labor be, how fast does it take for the ladybits to recover and feel normal-ish again… and yes what will I look like after all of this?

    BTW: you look great, but more importantly I am so happy to hear you are feeling good. As for the 2nd pregnancy, all I have heard is that because your uterus has already expanded once, you will *look* pregnant a lot faster than with the first pregnancy, but you probably already read that. Labor is also supposed to happen faster. As for how you will feel, all you hear is that every pregnancy is different. (Sorry I do not think any of this is particularly helpful, as it is not coming from experience).

  2. First of all, you look great, and congratulations on getting to a place where you feel good about your body! That is major.

    And this: “The number on the scale is not the whole story.” That is so true for me as well. I’ve lost the pregnancy weight but I don’t look the same as I did before, and my clothes don’t fit me right, and I wonder if they ever will. I’m being impatient, I know, only 3.5 months postpartum, so your post is a good reminder for me to wait and see what happens 8 months after giving birth (I was only pregnant for 8 months!).

    As for second kid, I have no stories to tell on that front, but what Amanda said is what I’ve read/heard as well.

  3. Hooray for feeling good! Also, the pictures are super similar, as an outside observer I would say you look the same again.
    I don’t know anything about having a second kid physically, and I don’t have any siblings, but from my vantage point of observing siblings and being envious of them, a 3 year gap seems to lead to the best sibling-friends. It still takes a while, but it’s faster than other gaps and they tend to be better friends. (Though as with everything, everyone is different and nothing is written)

  4. I share similar anxieties about theoretical pregnancy #2 — I had so little morning sickness the first time around, am I doomed to puke daily for 9 months with #2? My hips have never been the same since our son’s birth — will I be miserable during a second pregnancy (with hip pain)? And theoretical baby #2 anxieties — we have a healthy, happy baby, did we just get lucky? will #2 not be healthy?! Of course, I recognize that all of these *are* just anxieties, but it’s totally a nuisance to have them crop up. In the end, we’ll decide to TTC #2 when our family seems ready, and we’ll just have to take a leap of faith, just like we did the first time!

  5. Don’t over think the second baby thing. Try when you think it’s time, the rest of it will just happen and it will be different and the same and amazing and stressful and all of the things you imagine and none of the things you imagine. Just let life roll. In hind site for me (after three kids), I have learned that you can’t plan or budget or be prepared for kids because they are little humans and they throw out the unexpected in more ways than you can even think. Your body will be your body and it will do what it will do and no amount of prep work will change the biology of that.

    Just do it!

  6. You look great. And I’m envious. And I’m so sick of hearing “but you just had a baby!” because, no, I didn’t. And I’d also like the ability to bitch and moan my absolute inability to lose my pregnancy weight (due to PCOS) and not be shut down – we celebrate women getting back into their jeans – why can’t I complain about the fact that my body won’t cooperate? Because I feel mega, super, major down on myself. And it would be nice to kvetch, while most others are congratulated. Bah.

    • That is some bullshit frustrating horribleness that your body is making things so freaking difficult!! It is really unfair and totally crap. I support the bitch-fest. 100%.

  7. Oh Lauren. I love seeing you so happy and healthy and CONFIDENT! I def noticed a difference in your confidence and how you carry yourself from pre Gabe to post Gabe. You have more of a lightness in your step :) You are so beautiful, inside and out and you are so inspiring and give me hope that ill be able to bounce back as well! I am enjoying seeing my body change so much (14 weeks!) I LOVE my belly pooching out. But I also hope Ill be able to get back to the shape I was and still am, now. And confidently, just like you <3

  8. You look wonderful, and glad to hear you feel pretty good too!
    I’m down to a month and a bit till same amount of time in as out, and am finally exercising (now that I dont have crippling back and hip pain! Yay! Jump up and down, while holding boobs firmly in place!), and can manage to dress most days in a way that makes me not still look pregnant (or pregnant again), but have sad moments every now and then, like when I realise that my really gorgeous jeans I purchased literally 3 months before I got pregnant may never quite fit again.

    Good luck with whatever you decide with #2. I have no intention of going there, I’m too scared of things being worse with #2, and #1 was bad enough!

  9. I agree with what Bec said about a second baby. There really isn’t any way to predict how they’ll be the same and different, as you know. My first was easy-easy. Easy pregnancy, labor and infancy. My 2nd pregnancy was a little more nerve-wracking–he was breech until very late & measuring big, but easy labor. And then Clingiest Baby Ever. As far as labor–she was 8 hours, he was 3. It feels like his first year (and time generally) has gone even faster with a 2nd. Mine are 23 months apart and are really close–they both look for the other one as soon as they wake up, and so forth. That said, I’ve noticed that nearly everyone says they’d do whatever their gap is again, so I’m not sure there’s a wrong answer. I might’ve waited longer, but between my age (35 when I got pregnant with him) & wanting to have enough time for the option of a 3rd, we did what we did and it’s worked out well for us.

  10. You look great!! I find it is a constant struggle, even 16 mo postpartum, but I feel more aware(?) than I ever did about food choices and body composition and dressing my body. Going through all of it made me learn (the hard way) things that I had never paid that much attention to.
    Also – I call my boobs deflated balloons. Sound familiar? So discouraging, but then I picture them all filled up with milk again for baby #2 and I am grateful for all the hard work they did.
    For Baby #2, most days we half-seriously joke about how there’s no way we can TTC for #2, because #1 is just SO DAMN AWESOME. How could there ever be enough awesome in the world and in the two of us to create ANOTHER FREAKING COOL PERSON? Illogical, but that’s what we say. Seriously, I do worry about going through the minefield that is pregnancy + labor + a newborn because I think I was naive about all the things that can go wrong the first time, and now that I know more, I realize how gdamn lucky we are and is it possible to roll those dice again and come out with a good outcome again? Ack, it feels like tempting fate. But I’ve always wanted a big family so, I guess I will get over it at some point.

  11. You are so tiny! I’m glad to know where things can get to 9 months from now. I’m six weeks post partum now and I am in the blessed out “I’m so skinny with big boobs” stage. But I know I’ll get over that and be ready to lose the rest of the weight soon.

  12. Firstly, I love this. And totally feel ya on the strange confidence that seemed to creep out of nowhere post baby. I didn’t realize it at first but noticed a new sense of calm within myself amidst the chaos of new parenthood when it came to my size, my diet, and new sense of self. So go us!

    Secondly, from my experience being 33 weeks prego with baby #2, my body is so over it this time around. While I was very ready to give birth last time, I did not suffer the overall discomfort I’m feeling now. I exercised and was in much better shape prior to #1 but did not keep that up this time around. By our boy’s first birthday, I was actually below my pre-pregnancy weight but I was soft soft soft. At the time it didn’t bother me but now that I’m carrying around almost 40 extra pounds in addition to the nearly 30 lbs of mini-me who refuses to be put down most of the time, my wobbly self is not liking lugging these 70 odd lbs to and fro. Congrats on firming up and making a conscience effort to do so – I believe it will make a huge difference during your second pregnancy. And we were right there with you in planning #2, starting the whole process of no birth control and TTC again once little man turned one.

    It wasn’t all that hard for me to shed the lbs the first time, I’m lucky enough to say, but I’m worried it will be more difficult this time. Oy vey.

    On a side note, I’m so happy for your new move close to family – it makes all the difference in the world, especially with baby help.

    • Thank you Hildie for your insight!! It is reassuring to hear from someone who is headed down the path of #2! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out via facebook. :)

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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