9 Months Postpartum

Tomorrow I will have been not-pregnant with Fae as long as I was pregnant with Fae. It’s a milestone, something to think about, her birth like center of a see-saw and at this moment everything is balanced. But my body is not a mirror of itself from 18 months ago. I don’t think it ever is. (Looking at my 9 months pp post after Gabe is a shock. I look SO GOOD omg! And young! And ugh….)

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3 days before giving birth to Fae. My last profile shot pregnant.

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1 week postpartum.

Pregnancy is weird. What our bodies go through and recover from is strange. How can we be ballooned out like that and then snap back like a rubber band? Well, it’s not exactly as quick as a rubber band.

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2 weeks postpartum.

This time the whole recovery process feels slow. It was slow right out of the gate. Everything was sore longer, my hips and groin felt fatigued for months. Walking was slow. Getting back into a workout routine was slow. Everything slow.

My tummy skin is still weird and soft. Weird meaning different and inexpiable. When I am on my back it is soft like jello. I can jiggle it around. When I sit it folds in on itself and I have a few tire rolls. In the evenings I can still look 3 months pregnant, a little pooch. Some clothes fit, some clothes don’t. Sometimes I can buy in my old size and sometimes nothing fits right at all. I am less than 5 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight but that has never made any difference when it comes to postpartum recovery. It’s not the number, it’s the shape.

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9 months postpartum.

My boobs are soft and hang low. They are still recovering from 6 months of breastfeeding. My skin all over has lost its firmness. I think I remember that that is hormonal. I have been working out hard for the last month. Since I stopped breastfeeding I amped up the workouts, amped up the strengthening, and have been paying closer attention to what I eat.

For the last month Kamel and I cut out alcohol and desserts. Except when the world calls for it. Which is a lot less than my 1 beer a day and sometimes a pack of M&Ms that I found in the cupboard. The annoying thing is that it didn’t make much of a difference. Well, not on the scale anyway. I think working out helps my elasticity. It helps my feel sane, it helps me feel strong and energized. It puts parts of me back where they belong.

For months after giving birth I had incontinence issues. Jumping made me pee. Running made me pee. It was a horrible feeling and very demoralizing when you go to the park to jump rope on your lunch and leave after 30 seconds because you’ve peed. Thankfully, at 9 months out that has greatly reduced. I can do jumping jacks and high knees and all the normal working out stuff with mostly not feeling like I’m going to pee. Sometimes I still do a little. We aren’t superheroes.

I’m not on any birth control. I just want my body to be. I don’t want to put anything in it or take any pills or mess with anything. This is me, whatever works for you – you do you. But it means that we are more at risk for pregnancy. What was that I had said about vasectomy? Well that didn’t happen. Won’t happen. But that’s not my story to tell. The other day I was a little late, and I thought… hmm… what if I’m pregnant? I struggle with having a third all of the time. I love my kids, I want a million of them. There are just so many factors and a lot more cons than pros. Minus the part where the pro is another AMAZING HUMAN. Ugh. Well, anyway… there was a moment where the possibility of being pregnant was kind of a little bit more possible than usual, and I had this moment of pure, clear as day, sickening panic. I do not want to be pregnant again. I do not I do not I do not. (Do I? No. Right? Right.)

In 9 months I have lost 45 lbs.

My stretch marks have faded to white, though I still finger the scars from time to time.

My breasts have expanded to 2 sizes bigger and then shrunk back down to sad little deflated balloons.

My rings all fit comfortably again.

My hair is growing back and the regrowth is about 2 inches long. Still so fucking annoying.

I am still about 1 size above my usual pants size, though I squeeze myself uncomfortably into old pants and muffin top the shit out of them.

My vagina is good. My back is getting there. My strength is almost back.

Nine months in, nine months out. What we live through, what we are able to thrive through is phenomenal.

9 thoughts on “9 Months Postpartum”

  1. This sentence about working out : It puts parts of me back where they belong – I love this! It’s how I feel allllll the time, even though I am not postpartum.

  2. So much commiseration on all of this.

    No birth control over here either; went the Mirena route for awhile but Jas got his vasectomy and I just wanted to be and not add more hormones to my body so here we sit and it is weird. I am still breastfeeding though it is slowly ending and I do not know where I’ll be when it is over. I have been breastfeeding or pregnant since Jan 2013, I am so ready to have my body completely back and yet terrified of my kids growing up and not needing me.

    Sis will be 11 months Thursday and that seems impossible.

    Next Friday I’ll be 30; I am getting back to running and finally feeling stronger again; I never managed to do that between pregnancies. I am running an 80 mile relay Saturday (10 miles per runner) and that was my goal for this year to feel like myself and to know this person again. To feel like me, not like mom and yet I worry about leaving them for the 12 hours I’ll be gone on one of the precious days I do not work. They’ll be fine, Jas is great with them. I know this and still worry. I hope that Saturday, I’ll be able to devote all my mental energy to running and not where is x, what time does the baby nap, I wonder how Jas is doing. We shall see. As far as my body it is so different, my stomach is not the same and I do not have hope it ever will be. I need to be doing something besides cardio I am sure but I haven’t figured that out yet. Some day when I have more time 😉

    Happy 9 months to you! You look great and Fae is the cutest. Thanks for these updates and allowing me to ramble for a bit, this motherhood thing is weird.

    Sunny (atinsley22 on IG)

  3. I have been off of hormonal birth control for almost 2 years, and can say that I love the Paraguard (copper IUD). The day of insertion was a bitch, after that, not really a difference to my periods/moods/whatever. 10/10 would do again.

  4. I highly recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. It explains the woman’s body is such a great way and offers a non-hormonal birth control method. It’s not the method for everyone, but it can work if you put the time and focus into charting and learning about your body.

  5. Wow. I am nine days postpartum with my first – so all of these struggles are very much ahead of me. I find it fascinating to hear about because I feel like it’s rarely talked about honestly. Anyway on the peeing while jumping/laughing/coughing/sneezing front I just wanted to suggest Icon undies. I mean, they are pricey but there are all kinds of deals online and wearing them on days you know you’re going to do jump rope on your lunch break for example might be totally totally worth it. Keep fighting the good fight and then telling us all about it!

  6. Ohhhh how I love this, I love this, I love this. I love your transparency and honesty. The second pregnancy and recovery is so so different from the first. You would think that since our bodies have gone through it before, they’d be like “oh yes, that’s right. We got this shit. I’ll be right back.” But, no. No no no. It’s harder and takes longer. And I refuse to believe it’s an age thing, because it was only a year later for me, lol. But I agree with everything. My skin is so much different this time. So many things aren’t going back to the way they were, but working out definitely helps. And feeling strong again, like I can keep up with the littles and not feel like I just want to collapse and nap for days makes it worth it. You’ve come so far in 9 months, imagine what you can do in another 9! Bodies are amazing. And the one thing we have control over. For the most part. Except for sickness, of course.

  7. You look fantastic, but you looked fantastic pre-, during, and post-pregnancy. I do love the shorter hair.

    I am so impatient to be postpartum, but find myself stressing about it. There’s always so much focus on how we (women) look and most days it is exhausting. With my first, I didn’t even have time to think about working out and taking care of me for so long. With Brad traveling for work 5 days a week (or more) every week and my dad being sick and dying for three months, I just stayed as I was. I survived. Elliott survived. I bought bigger clothes.

    When we knew we wanted to try again, I started running. I’ve never been good about dieting, but I tried to be more aware of what I was putting in my body. IVF is super expensive and I didn’t want to waste the money if I wasn’t in the best shape I could be for the procedures. I got down to 5 lbs above pre-Elliott weight and felt fantastic. I haven’t gained as much this pregnancy (35-40 versus 50 with Elliott) and I feel more just baby. But who knows what recovery will be like.

    I do know that I’m excited to start running again. I miss the feeling of just going and being. My goal is and never will be to look like I did pre-kids. My body has done fantastic things that we were once told were impossible for my body. I’m OK looking different. I just want to get to a point of acceptance and love for this body. I never want to worry about how my stomach folds when I’m in the middle of a water gun fight with my boys.

    As far as the birth control, you do you. And Kamel do Kamel. It’s an easier conversation over here since God determined our birth control and it’s highly effective (ha!). That’ll lead to another bit of stress as I wait out to see if/when I’ll regulate. Thank you for starting this conversation and for opening yourself up.

  8. One week away from 6 months postpartum. Things are weird. Like I weigh less than I did before getting pregnant but I’m bigger in my stomach and boobs, lost my butt and muscle on my legs/arms. I am trying to work out at the Y 2x a week and then do yoga 1x per week but that RARELY happens. I’m eating better than before I got pregnant and drink A LOT less mostly because more than 1 glass of anything and I have a headache. I want to quit breastfeeding but then don’t at the same time. Still peeing when I sneeze or jump rope and then try to do all kinds of kegels. Just cut off my hair to help with the massive amounts of hair I shed daily. I totes agree that it’s pretty insane what your body can do aka create a human for 9 months, push it out, feed it and then somehow be ready to do it all over again if need be. Thanks for these updates they are really great and super honest.

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