One Month Postpartum

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I wish that I could report back that 1 month postpartum I feel amazing. But I do not feel amazing. I feel smelly and sweaty and awkward and sore. I feel disconnected to what is actually happening in and around my vagina. Why does it still hurt? Why does it feel chafed? Is my second degree tear healing well? Will I ever stop feeling like I always have to pee? Will I ever stop having the unpredictable post pee dribble? Will it ever feel comfortable to poop ever again? These questions and more – I do not know the answers to.

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My boobs, for realies, could smother and kill my baby they are so big and unwieldy. But for some unknown reason (Actually the reason is:FOOD! FOOD NOW AND ALWAYS!) she insists on sticking her face right in there as much as possible. And even likes to snuggle that way. I don’t deny her. What kind of mother would I be if I did? The kind that hates naps?!

I posted this photo on instagram to prep for this post:

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I searched and searched and searched for photos of postpartum women after a second pregnancy. Were they broken, I wondered? I had made it out of the first pregnancy pretty ok – but I was rolling the dice again with number two and what would that mean for me and this bod of mine? Yeah, it’s vain to care about these things and I don’t care. At the end of the day it’s just me and this shell I carry around all day and I wanted to know what could happen to it. Long story long: I couldn’t find any real information on what postpartum life was like after a second pregnancy. And yes, it is different for everyone, but knowing that didn’t make me want to hear people’s stories any less.

So I’m here to tell you: postpartum bodies are weird, but don’t be afraid. They do bounce back. And most of us don’t look like the red carpet ladies-o-Hollywood 3 weeks after popping a kid out, ok? Most of us look pregnant or, at the very least, chubby for quite a while. Go in expecting it and you won’t be freaked out.

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One month in and I’ve lost 30 lbs. It came off really quickly. Quicker than I remember Gabe’s weight coming off. I think I hit a bump of weight loss at about 25 lbs with him last time. Right now I still have 20 more to go. It will probably take me 6-9 more months.

30 lbs of weight loss does not mean clothes fit me, because they do not. I am still in maternity clothes and even those fit weird. I am thick around the middle and my butt and thighs are bigger. This just is what it is. It’s not bad or wrong, it’s what happened while walking 4-7 miles 5 days a week up until 38 weeks. It’s what happened while I tried to focus on a high protein, low(er) carb diet. My body gains about 50 lbs during pregnancy and then it comes off over the course of the following year. I thought maybe I could do things differently with #2, but nope. Doesn’t look like it. My body does what it does, so eff you “normal pregnancy weight standards” and LOL at only gaining 25-30 lbs.

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My life in 1 photo. (Not my stoop. On a main road. Thanks random person’s stoop! Gabe really loved the stairs.)

So, for those who have the itch to know like I did, my postpartum body breakdown is as follows:

  • I got stretchmarks in new places. I now have a tiny patch on the left side of my tummy under my belly button. The zones (hips) where I got stretchmarks last time got more and bigger ones this time. I am expecting them to fade into translucent lines like last time as well, so I’m lotioning, I’m exfoliating, etc etc and waiting.
  • I bled less heavily this time, but it lasted forever. I am still spotting.
  • I can’t tell if I’m having horrible night sweats or if it is just hot. Probably both. Probably horrible night sweats and wtf is this heat, Seattle? W. T. F.
  • Last time I had man-levels of BO. This time, it is back except I don’t remember it lasting this long? I’m still smelly as fuck 2 hours after a shower. My armpits are a plethora of “omg Kamel you HAVE TO smell me, it is awful!!” And he does because he loves me.
  • My hair has not yet started falling out. That started around 3-4 months PP last time, but I am on high alert and chopping all of my hair off on Aug 20th. Get ready.

How is my body compared to the first time around? Well, this is a post I wrote at 6 weeks postpartum, and I don’t think I’ll be that small in 2 weeks. I mean, maybe, but I doubt it. I haven’t been able to be as active. Mostly because Fae hates the car seat/stroller combo and it is stressful getting her out of the house. Also the heat has been a deterrent in taking her out. And! When Gabe was born we lived in a bubble with no family in the area, no one to see, and my days were 100% mine to wander around outside, walk for hours all afternoon, and kill time with my baby while on leave. This time, there has been a lot more social activities which I have found great and also hard.

I don’t really fit into any pants except 2 pairs of maternity yoga pants. I don’t really fit into any non maternity tops because – boobs and tummy. Having to put on clothes to leave the house and be appropriately dressed in public… sucks. It is stressful and I hate it. When I knew I wasn’t going to run into anyone I knew in our neighborhood in San Mateo, I didn’t give a fuck how jacked I look while running a snoozing Gabe all over town in the stroller. But now, I do care. And it is fucking with my head. I’m not a fan.

I’m not being as active as I want to be, but I am trying. And I need to cut down on my sugar just in general. Next week I start applying for jobs and I’m going to need to be able to fit into some interview clothes. I’ll probably have to buy something because I don’t know when I’ll be able to wear anything in my closet. These are my frivolous dilemmas. This is my vanity.

Our bodies are never the same so getting back to whatever I was before babies makes no sense at all, but these bods are all we get so it makes sense why we care about them. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes up a few more weeks from now. But ultimately it is not scary, it’s nothing most people haven’t seen before. And the stuff that you haven’t seen just takes time. In the mean time I’m taking it 1 day at a time, 1 plank at a time, 1 vigorous walk up steep hills, 1 rep of high knees, all while trying to make increasingly good food choices. My body did something totally kick ass and I know I need to be kind to it, regardless of my excitement to put pregnancy far, far behind me.

17 thoughts on “One Month Postpartum”

  1. I love it when you write about this stuff, Lauren. My vanity about my body and my body image issues make me terrified of pregnancy, and we’re planning on trying starting at the beginning of next year. I’ve got to get over some of it, but I have to remind myself exactly of what you said – our bodies can do something kick ass, and we just have to be kind to it afterward and we’ll bounce back. Eek! Still scary to me though.

    1. And our bodies never stay the same, not ever. We age, we gain and lose strength, we are always in flux. This is just part of life. If only it didn’t mean buying 3 different wardrobes. grrrrr.

  2. You look great. “LOL at only gaining 25-30 lbs” indeed.

    This probably seems silly but it meant a lot to me when you told me you gained 55 lbs with Gabe. I had a lot of shame about sailing clear past the 35 lb weight gain mark (don’t know where I’m at now, I plan to weigh myself when I go into labor just to have a baseline..) and when you said that I felt so much better. xo

  3. I gained 50 lbs with Elliott and still have 5 lbs to lose. He’ll be two in a week, but that’s OK. I didn’t feel like I had the motivation to focus on that for awhile and that’s OK. Thank you for being real with your body and for being real with the way it effs with your head. It was hard for me to come to terms with how vain I was. We worked really hard to get Elliott and my body carried him to term and popped him out without any medical intervention. It was freaking fantastic. So why am I all crazy about how my stomach is still squishy? Sigh. As we get ready to try in vitro again, I’m working hard on being healthy (started running, though I’ll have to walk during treatments) and loving the body that I’m in. Also, when Elliott finds a bony part of me, he moves to a squished area. And that makes me love the squish.

  4. So interesting to hear about your experience! Thanks for the (sometimes smelly) details! And adorable, fantastic, perfect pictures, you are a ROCKSTAR… or a “mom” I guess we could call that. Rock on, Mama!

  5. http://juliebhosale.co.nz/my-real-postpartum-body/
    This was written by a friend of a friend after the birth of her second baby.
    I gained what is apparently 37 pound (17kg) with baby one. Its well above the recommendation here of “about 12kg max” (26 pound).
    As you know, I’ve not had another baby. I’m still holding those last 4pound or so, 2.5 years later. But those last bits were always difficult to drop!

  6. I love that you write this stuff. Thank you. Combination of enchanting pictures of Fae and your reassurance that the second time round is no worse than the first (which was no picnic, but is now a known quantity) are making me broody for a second…

  7. I gained 50 lbs. with my first and managed to lose it all (Whole 30 helped, though I hated it). At 35 weeks, this time, I’ve only gained 16 lbs., and even though I started 30 pounds heavier than with the first (the weight loss didn’t stick, I wasn’t very strict with myself while breast feeding) I’m worried I haven’t gained enough. Weight and pregnancy are weird. Who knows what will happen in the next few weeks though. I was going out walking about 5 days a week up until last week, when my pelvis started hurting so that I can only just about get around the house. Sigh.

    On another note. My 2-year old loves looking at pictures of Fae, and requests to see pictures of the baby.

  8. Thank you so much for writing this Lauren. It is really so incredibly refreshing to read real, honest talk about pregnancy and postpartum issues. It makes the whole idea of having a kid much less scary.

  9. Great post Lauren! Oh how I can relate. I’m 3 weeks pp and I have 1 pair of maternity capris that fit and three niceish t-shirts. I refuse to weigh myself but I really need to give up the ice cream. Trying to take it easy on myself even with boob sweat. Trying not to stress about wearing a belly bandit instead of doing core work because any stress on my bladder will only make it worse. Trying not to yell at my 2.5 year old because I’ve had no sleep and he’s jumping in the couch while I am at one end nursing. Great post. Let’s check in at 2 months.

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