It’s amazing how much your body changes during and after pregnancy. I had heard all the hype about these changes, but I did not take them too seriously, after all, the media has set an unrealistic vision of how our bodies can and should look after baby. Bouncing back is the hot topic post baby. It’s in all the magazines and Instagram posts. “Look how amazing her body looks after baby.” I figured if all of these women could do it than how hard could it possibly be.
News flash: It’s fricken hard!
I had been an avid runner before baby. Imagine my excitement when I learned I could continue to run through out my pregnancy. That was my strategy, keep up my running during pregnancy and “bouncing back” would be no sweat after baby. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Realistically, this was unattainable. Every woman is different when it comes to pregnancies and every pregnancy is different with each baby. I learned this the hard way.
I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravaderium (Me, Baby, and HG), which is like morning sickness on steroids. I was sick through out my entire pregnancy and had to stay on medication just to keep my food down. And if that wasn’t enough to bring my running to a screeching halt, my delivery ended in a traumatic C-Section, (Surviving a C-Section). Mix all this into a big pot and serve up a hot steaming pile of post-partum body issues.
We’re all told as woman, by other women, to love our bodies regardless of what it looks like after baby. We grew a human being for Christ sakes, we should give ourselves a break. Tell that to our brains as it stares at this stranger in the mirror. Who is this freak? If other women could handle pregnancy, delivery, and tackling new motherhood, why can’t you. What is your deal? Why are you so pathetic? I hear all these questions as I stare at myself in the mirror. I get it, sometimes being told to love our bodies isn’t always enough to block the negative voices from our heads.
That is why I have clutched to the September Vogue article by the one and only Beyoncé. “During my recovery,” she tells the magazine, “I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier.” She talks about how she learned from her first pregnancy, that setting a recovery goal of just three months was unrealistic. During her second pregnancy, she dealt with a complication called toxemia, which is high blood pressure and swelling. Beyoncé delivered her twins via emergency cesarean. “It had been a major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that.”
I have a lot of respect for the women who push through all the discomfort and the pain and shed off the baby weight within a few months. I also have a lot of respect for the women who can look at themselves in the mirror, love and appreciate the bodies that built and birthed their babies. All of you women are amazing, strong willed, and so determined. You don’t let anything stand in your way and you don’t let unrealistic expectations keep you from loving yourself.
But for the women who are like me, who are stuck in between accepting our bodies and bouncing back, I know you are struggling. Like me, you’re struggling between getting up to work out and sleeping in after a long day. You are struggling between finding time for yourself and feeling guilty for wanting that time. You are fighting with who you use to be and the body you don’t recognize. You don’t feel the same in clothes and nothing in your closet fits. You don’t want to buy larger clothes because you feel like you are giving up and nothing you do makes you feel pretty.
Thanks to women like Beyoncé, who are open about how important it is to recover, women like me get a better perspective of our bodies and what it has gone through. “I have a little mommy pouch,” she tells Vogue, “and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it.”
You don’t have to experience a scary delivery or go through a complicated pregnancy to feel confident about your recovery. Pregnancy and delivery are hard enough on it’s on with out all the extra difficulties. You don’t need to have a hard time to give yourself some slack. Having a baby is hard, being a mom is hard, having to take care of the household duties is hard. You don’t need an excuse to give yourself a break; you deserve it.
So, you didn’t get up before baby today and you feel like hell but don’t give up. It’s ok to have a day, a few days, a week, a month and yes even a year. You built a baby for nine months, a human fricken being. Your body went through so much, so give her all the time she needs. Have a glass of wine and eat that ice cream today and promise yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow; even if you don’t. Just don’t give up.
Start with one good choice a day. Instead of wine, choose water. Instead of cookies, have a piece of fruit. And be proud of yourself for each good choice you make. No matter how long it takes, eventually one good choice will turn into two, then three, then an entire day, an entire week and even an entire month. And so what if you have another bad day. And if along the way you fall in love with the girl staring back at you in the mirror, no matter how far you did or didn’t push yourself, girl you did it.
I’m taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out. Please check out her blog! 👌