I’ve been a mother for just over a year now. So much has changed from the time I saw those two lines appear to this moment, as I sit typing away while Jack naps. Truthfully, there were a LOT of things I felt I was really prepared for. I read the books, I heard the thousands of stories from friends and family, I laid the mental foundation so to speak. And yet, no matter how much I planned and researched, there was SO much that took me by surprise. One of those things was my post baby body, which I wanted to talk about today.
Surprise #1 – I gained more weight than I expected. With my RA struggles, it was hard to keep up with exercise and even once Jack was here, I found it hard to do a lot of my favourite activities. We still did the baby and me classes and our trips to the gym, but it was all different. Of course, I knew my body would change in pregnancy and maybe I was naive, but I just did not expect to gain weight where I did, when I did and how much I did.
Surprise #2 – A year later, and I am still not back to my pre baby weight. Such is the case with a lot of women, I know! But we often don’t talk about or show that flabby stomach and stretched out skin…we scroll past images of perfectly posed women who miraculously shed all the pounds and it’s week 8. It’s frustrating. My stomach took the biggest beating throughout this journey. No matter the amount of oils, lotions and potions, I got a myriad of stretch marks. The skin is loose and that perfectly placed fat does not want to budge. Again, I just assumed that I would lose it all, especially after a year! But no…
Surprise #3 – Sleep deprivation aged me. Before I say anything else though, I want to be clear that I love aging. I am happier now than ever before. But I did not anticipate how raising a baby would affect my looks. Yes, I realize sleep deprivation gives you bags under your eyes, and that after a night of breastfeeding most women aren’t going to look all shiny and new! I’m talking more about general lines, wrinkles, sallow and sad looking skin, etc. With pregnancy you go from glowing to totally lacklustre. Couple that with all the hair loss and it’s hard to know what to do with yourself!
Now I know this all may sound trivial but, essentially what I’m trying to say, is that I am lacking in confidence. I have truthfully been struggling to look in the mirror and reconcile this body as mine. We’re all told to love your body, “look at the miracle you brought into the world!!” etc. etc. Don’t misunderstand, I completely respect and admire my body for what it did, but do I love it? Well, that’s an ongoing struggle.
And so, to claim my body back, I want to return it to the top of the priority list. It’s fallen pretty low in the past year, you know with navigating a newborn, and trying to balance work and life. I’m happy to say I’ve already made some steps in the right direction, like getting a water drinking app (it’s a chore for me), creating a better routine of healthy eating, taking the right vitamins, researching some new skin care lines and making room in to read a book or take a bath. I also reached out to my friends at Hemingway Medical Spa to see if there were any options that would help target my more troublesome areas. I know it’s taboo to talk about but I feel no shame in saying that a tweak here or there will probably make me feel better about myself. The staff at Hemingway made me feel incredibly welcome (I mean having Charlie the frenchie greeting you at the door also helps!) and were so knowledgeable in different treatment options. They’re helping me find myself again, and (hopefully) gain back a little more confidence.
I plan to share more about this really personal subject and my continued journey to love my post baby body again over the next few months. Hopefully you’ll be able to identify or at the very least understand. Thanks for listening!!