While I was pregnant, I had this idea that losing weight after pregnancy would be relatively easy. I didn't really give a timeframe for myself, I just thought, it'll come off quickly. I had heard that when you breastfeed, it helps burn calories. For some people, they don't even have to add in any exercise. The weight just comes off. Since I planned to exclusively breastfeed, I assumed this is how it would be for me, too.
It's been a struggle for me to accept my post pregnancy body. I've never been super thin, but I find myself wishing for the body I had before. After I had Becca, I was kindof shocked. After the first few weeks, I still looked....pregnant. Obviously I know how it all works. The uterus slowly shrinks back to its original size. And there was a LOT of stretching that went on to accomidate my big baby. So I should have expected this. However, I have always been by own worst enemy when it comes to criticism. I guess I never fully prepared myself for the change, and it was quite the adjustment.
I gained a total of about 60 pounds while pregnant. This is above the normal, or what doctors recommend, but every body is different. I didn't exactly eat healthy while I was pregnant. I was turned off by a lot of foods, so I ate what I liked. Like ice cream. And ravioli. And Chinese food. Not exactly health foods.
The doctors weren't concerned with my weight gain. I do look back and wish I had eaten healthier, and stuck to a more consistent exercise routine. I did exercise off and on, mostly when I felt like it. I feel like if I had at least taken a walk every day, it would have helped...all my aches and pains, and probably the high blood pressure I dealt with at the end.
Now, almost 8 months out from Becca's birth, I've dropped about 35 pounds, but still 25 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.
I should be saying, I'm doing good. Over half way there. But on many days I beat myself up. I look in the mirror and don't like what I see. The sagging skin. The extra weight in certain places. And...worst of all... I compare myself to others who seem to have it all together. Who've dropped their pregnancy weight in a flash. Doesn't someone else's grass always seem greener?
This has been a growing and changing experience for me. What does God see me as? He doesn't see my earthly body. He sees me as His child, whom He loves. Because I am His, I can have peace with who and what and how I am, here and now. Yes, I need to take care of my body. I can't just neglect it and make bad choices. My body has been given to me for this life, and I need to use it to honor the Lord.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
I had a baby. Changes are inevitable. My body took 9 months to make this precious little girl, so it should take at least that long to get back to normal. And even then, for most women, its a new normal. It's a lesson in unselfishness. A lesson in realizing what's more important: having the body I want, or bringing the most precious little girl into this world? I think it's clear. But it's still hard to accept. Why does that woman bounce right back and look amazing? Why can't I be like that? It's not right to compare. It doesn't glorify God. It's not right to wish I had someone else's body. What example is that setting for my little girl? What do I want her thinking about what brings happiness? What do I want her thinking about her body?
Mom was never happy because she wasn't skinny.
I will only be truly happy when I look like "_________"
These are sad thoughts, but if I don't set the right example, these will likely be the thoughts that my daughter entertains.
I want to be a mother who has true joy. Not because I'm happy or not with my body, not because I have my dream home, not because of anything of this world. But because Jesus has saved me. I am His. I have the promise of eternal life, and while I am on this earth, He has blessed me abundantly, with my amazing husband, my precious daughter, and countless other blessings, too innumerable to record. And even in the hard times, when life is rough, I have His grace, and sweet fellowship with Him.
So instead of those destructive thoughts that I don't want my little girl to have, may she have godly thoughts.
Mom is happy because she is content. She has Jesus and she knows He loves her.
I can be truly happy because God has made me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
I am learning that it is a balance of contenment and realizing it also takes effort on my part.
On the contentment end of things, I need to be okay with where I am. I have to live with it every day, so I might as well accept it! I need not stay in the pit of self pity and feeling sorry for myself. And then there's the effort. I have to be the one to make the right choices that move toward the change that I want. I have to exercise regularly and make good choices in what I eat, and trust that all my effort will pay off eventually. It may be slow!
I started light exercise when Becca was about 8 to 10 weeks old -- I would go out for a walk a few days a week or do some moderate exercises inside. I was still sore from my c-section. After awhile, I started doing exercise videos, which were quite intense. I stuck with those basically every day for many weeks. Then I got really, REALLY bored with them. Workout videos can be great, but there's nothing like being outside in the fresh air. Its hard when you have a baby to bundle up. But if you have a stroller and can try to do it at least three days a week, you won't regret it! I started training for a 5k run about a month ago. I've only gotten up to 2 miles, and I can't run all of it yet. I feel so unmotivated sometimes and wish there was an easier way. But I know that I need to do this. I need to stick with something if I want to see results. I've been trying to eat healthy. It gets a little tricky on the weekends, but mostly through the week I stick to fruit and yogurt smoothies for breakfast, salads with chicken for lunch, and a healthy dinner. For snacks I do apples with all natural peanut butter, or maybe a few slices of cheese. Its hard for me to remember to drink enough water, especially with breastfeeding, I should be drinking a lot of it!
It's hard for me to be open and share about my struggles like this. But I firmly believe that it is important to be transparent and honest with eachother, and maybe I can encourage someone who is in a similar situation.
So here are some pictures of my journey so far.
Picture #1 This was taken three days before I had Becca. Boy was I huge!
Picture #2 This was taken three days after I had given birth. I wasn't really giving too much thought to what I looked like because I was soaking in my new baby and also was in so much pain.
Picture #3 This was about two weeks postpartum. Our first Sunday back at Church!
Picture #4 This was taken about a month and a half postpartum.
Picture #5 This was taken just this week.