I think every expectant mother wonders throughout her pregnancy what exactly her body will look like after baby. How exactly will that bump ever transform back to a flat tummy?
I didn’t dwell on the subject, but I did try to make smart diet and exercise decisions to keep my weight gain in check. At the time of delivery, I had gained 35 pounds which was within my doctor’s recommended range, but still hard to stomach each time I saw the number on the scale.
After E arrived, I didn’t think once about my body in the hospital. From the birth experience itself and adventures in breastfeeding, my body was a pretty open book, but the focus was 100% on what was best for our sweet baby girl. I didn’t dwell on my saggy tummy leftover from carrying her for 9 months or my swollen cankles from water retention. I was blissfully happy being Nora’s mom.
That’s why I was surprised when the day I was discharged (2 days postpartum), someone commented that my “belly makes a good shelf for resting the baby.” I hadn’t realized that even though my body was a nonissue to myself, that other people would already be making judgements about my shape. Despite being a little hurt, I tried not to let the comment phase me. Breastfeeding has certainly increased both my hunger and thirst, and I listen to my body and give it what it needs to provide for my baby. If I’m up feeding at 3:00am and hungry, I’ll snack – no counting calories or diet restrictions here!
I told myself I wouldn’t even think about the number on the scale until my 5 week checkup, but I couldn’t resist. At 1 week postpartum, I weighed in 25 pounds lighter. Since then, the number hasn’t budged, and I’m ok with that. I know that the scale is just one measure of progress. There’s much more to be said about strength and stamina. Not to mention that even at 25 pounds lighter, my clothes certainly don’t fit correctly on my “altered” shape :)
With that being said, I’m excited to get to work on my body after baby once I’ve been cleared by my doctor. I certainly have areas I want to tighten and tone, but more importantly I want to be a fit and active mom for my daughter. I’ve started now by taking the time each day to take a neighborhood walk with Ruby pup. I haven’t made a specific plan for bouncing back, but I do want to run a 5k with J in August or September.
What do you think about “body after baby?” Are mom’s too hard on themselves? What kinds of expectations should we have? What strategies have you seen for regaining the body you desire?