Through this postpartum experience I have gone through different phases with how I feel about my postpartum body. You could say it’s been like a roller coaster ride. There have definitely been some highs and lows. Here are my three phases and my journey through them.
Phase One: Pure Bliss
Right after I had Ava I was in this euphoria stage, nothing but pure bliss. I had just carried our sweet angel for 9 months in my body and now I was able to hold her in my arms. There’s something about having a baby and enduring that pain that just makes you feel like you are on top of the world. I was so happy and nothing else mattered. I could have cared less about what my body looked like. I remember spending very little time looking in the mirror. With a newborn baby there isn’t much time for primping. Not to mention everything down south is in so much pain. When I did have a few minutes alone in the bathroom to take a shower, all I focused on was making sure I applied some Dermoplast, Witch Hazel, Tucks Pads, and hemmoroid cream. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was able to actually SEE my knees and my ankles without having to look in a mirror! My ankles had returned! I remember screaming "Woohooo!" and freaking my husband out when I first realized my kankles had gone away. I even texted some of my closest friends to tell them the big news.
During this phase I was also breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a lot of work but it definitely helped me drop a lot of weight. Being engorged was painful, but also beautiful. I know that sounds crazy but let me explain…I have never been blessed up top. So when they became engorged it was like a free boob job. They had never looked so good. It was amazing!
After a few weeks life slowed down, we got in a routine, and I began to have more time for me. Which meant more time getting ready and more time in front of the mirror. That’s when phase two began…
Phase Two: Reality
As I looked in the mirror more I began to notice my stretch marks. During pregnancy I didn’t really have many stretch marks on my belly. I had no clue that the stretch marks really kicked in AFTER giving birth. My belly button looked like it had a big bowl of spaghetti around it and my belly button was the meatball on top. I started applying every stretch mark cream I could find. In this phase I not only noticed my stretch marks but I also paid more attention to the extra 20 pounds of fat just hanging out. I began to realize that my pre-pregnancy clothes still weren’t fitting (I guess I thought the extra 20 pounds would just magically slide right into my jeans).
During this time I had stopped breast feeding, and well, any of you ladies who have breast fed before know what things look like once your done. That beautiful sight was gone. I started to make comments about how fat I was and how my body will never be the same again. I got upset when nothing fit. My husband would get mad after hearing me say such things. I wore (and still do) my skirts really high because they don’t fit around my belly, and joggers because they have an elastic band (thank goodness those are in style right now). Granny panties and ugly sports bras were a norm for me.
On Thanksgiving day I had my mom take pictures of Ava and I. When I saw this picture all I saw was my fat belly hanging over my skirt. I had an ill feeling. I looked at the picture about 4,579 times, tried 90 million filters to see if I could some way make that part of the picture hidden, and kept rethinking about how I could pose differently. I realized that I completely failed to see the beautiful baby in the picture...our daughter...because I was so focused on how fat I looked.
I realized what I was doing was so wrong. By thinking this way I was ignoring the fact that my body carried Ava for 9 months and gave birth to her. My body GREW a baby inside of it! That's a big deal! When I look at her I think about what a miracle it is to have a baby and what an angel she is. I think about how blessed I am to have given birth to her when so many women struggle everyday to conceive. I thank God for bringing her into our lives. So why didn’t I think the same thing when I looked at my body? After all, the stretch marks and extra 20 pounds of fat are proof of what my body endured through the 9 months of pregnancy, and a reminder that she was once inside of me listening to my heart beat. The stretched out skin from breastfeeding is a reminder of the precious moments I had with Ava and how amazing it is that my body was able to provide her with all the nutrients she needed. The times I got to nurse her were some of the best moments. I started to tell myself that I needed to wear the added lumps, bumps, and stretches with pride. I became proud of what we had created and patient with myself. I knew the extra pounds weren’t something I wanted to keep around forever but I wasn’t quite ready to make the effort to get rid of them. I was enjoying life as being a new mom and spending every minute I could with Joey and Ava.
As Ava continued to grow and became more active I started to realize the lack of energy I had. This is something I wanted to change and so that’s when the third phase started…
Phase Three: Getting Motivated
This is the phase that I am currently in. I have had my time relaxing and enjoying just focusing on my family but now I need to focus on me for my family. Hopefully, that makes sense. Ava is 6 months now and I know that I need to get rid of these extra 20 pounds, start working out and eating healthy, in order to have more energy to spend time with Ava and Joey. You know how people say you have a “dunlap” where your fat “dun lapped your belt”? Yea well, forget about the belt mine is “dun lapping” my undergarments (lets be real their granny panties). There is just one problem. I lack some serious motivation. The thought of losing 20 pounds seems like it would take forever and I want it to happen right away. I told my husband what my goal is and how I really need help. I want to be able to go to the beach with Ava this summer and enjoy playing with her in the sand and the sea without having to worry about what my body looks like in a bathing suit.
Joey immediately said he would help me. Together we will change our life style. We will work out and eat healthier in order to help both of us lose some weight. I know that I can do this, it’s just going to take a lot of hard work, motivation, and patience.
So when it comes to your postpartum body ladies remember these things:
Please feel free to comment and share what you are going through right now. Are you in one of these phases? Did you experience something like this and have a success story to encourage others. I think it’s important for us women to lean on each other. I would love to hear your stories!