Spring has sprung—and does anything make you happier? I can’t think of anything better than getting out our cute clothes (I mean, have you seen Hazel in a sunhat?), dusting off our patio furniture,...
How I Got My Body Back
When you have a baby, there’s usually a lot of fuss and stress about weight loss after pregnancy, how to lose the baby weight, or how to get your body “back.” And I’ll be honest, on social media I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I managed my weight loss after pregnancy, or how I got my body back.
Okay, here’s the big secret…
How I Got My Body Back
I DIDN’T!!! I’m gonna blow the lid off this right now: ANYONE who tells you that you’ll get your body back after having a baby is just trying not to scare you. That said, you can have a really GREAT body after having a baby (sometimes even better than before), but you will never have your body back to the way it was. And guess what? That’s not a bad thing.
I Listened to My Body
First things first: childbirth is a LOT on your body. I initially thought that pregnancy was going to be the thing I had to bounce back from. I spent ten months eating like a five-year-old kid because I had terrible nausea for 30 weeks and could basically only eat boxed macaroni and cheese and bubbly water. And I was only mildly working out. This lifestyle – not to mention the milk and cookies I craved over the holidays, which we called “The Santa Diet” – meant that by the time I went into the hospital to have my baby, I was up 40 pounds. Now, OF COURSE this weight was good to gain and I held nothing back when it came to making the coziest little womb for Hazel to incubate in. But what I didn’t know (or expect) was how I would feel after giving birth. I felt weak after getting home from the hospital and didn’t even start to feel strong for about 6 months.
Birth rocked my world. I used every single muscle in my body and maybe even some that aren’t in my body – is that possible? You can read Hazel’s birth story here, but there really aren’t words to sum up how I felt after giving birth. Luckily, I was numb from the waist down after dilating 7cm, but the contractions before the epidural and dilation left me shook. Then pushing, pushing, pushing… I’ve never worked out like that in my life. When I made it home from the hospital I had no feeling in my left hand, couldn’t really sit comfortably, and just felt DEPLETED. I knew I had to eat and drink lots of fluids to get my milk supply up so I could feed Hazel every 2 hours, but all I wanted to do was sleep. It’s a steep and very jarring learning curve that your body goes through to become a mom (and a dad, the sleep deprivation is real), but I’m here to tell you that eventually it gets better, your brain clears, and you’ll be able to put a full sentence together again. I promise!
I Started Walking
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it, because it totally, obviously was. But I wish I’d set more realistic expectations for myself about becoming active again. I also had a complication that meant I needed to have surgery at 7 weeks postpartum. That surgery completely reset my postpartum recovery, so that didn’t help! At about 3 months postpartum, I was able to start walking and I started doing 2 miles per day. It was hard to fit it all in, with feeding the baby and Brett back to work full-time. But even if I walked at night, I committed myself to 2 miles a day. Then I went back to work and all that went right out the door. But the good news is, at that point I was feeling better and was able to “get my steps in” while managing my projects and filming for HGTV.
I Gave Myself Grace
The one thing that I haven’t been able to do in the 9 months since I had Hazel is start eating the way I prefer. I love to eat Paleo, which is basically eating what a caveman would eat (think meats and veggies – nothing processed or fried). But since that diet is very low in carbohydrates, when I tried eating Paleo again at about 6 months postpartum my milk supply plummeted within a day. I went home and ate a piece of toast and resolved myself to worrying about my diet when I finished breastfeeding. Now the real question is, when will that be?!
I “Got Back on the Bike”
Oh, and one more thing – I went snowboarding! I wasn’t sure how it would go, considering I had to take a whole season off while being pregnant, but luckily it was like riding a bike and I picked it right up. That’s not to say I didn’t get tired quickly, have to plan my pumping very carefully, and went home for a hot bath knowing I was gonna be SO SORE. But I did it and it felt good to be outside doing something I loved before I became “mom.”
So, my advice is this: give yourself time, grace, love, and realistic expectations. Oh, and don’t underestimate the power of a good camera angle. Ha! But seriously, your body, no matter what it looks like should be celebrated because it’s AWESOME and brought a living, breathing, beautiful human being into this world. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! 🙂
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