3.19.2011

The post-baby body

My dear friend Wendy recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. One of the last times we chatted before her daughter's birth, she mentioned how one of her friends had been warning her that after pregnancy, you could pretty much kiss your body as you know it goodbye. I was reassuring, "It's not that bad." "Things return to normal within six months." etc.


What was I saying!?


The conversation stuck with me and I started to actually consider the state of my body post-pregnancy/breastfeeding/ and sleep deprivation. After recognizing how much had in fact changed, I was left with only one conclusion: I had a bad case of post-partum amnesia. Yes, that magical brain chemical that had left me remembering my labour complete with rainbows and leprechauns, was now telling me, "Honey, you've always had a chest like Kate Hudson's, your arms muscles were always way out of proportion and I'm pretty sure those lion-attack-scarring stretch marks were there before your stomach stretched to two times its normal circumference."


That being said, I've embraced my post baby capsule state for the most part. My stretch marks are a lasting reminder of the amazing thing it was to contain another human life and my strangely muscular arms are testament to the hours I've rocked and carried and cuddled my son. The one part of my mommy physique I've had a hard time accepting, however, is my stomach.


Judah was a pretty big baby. I'm a pretty tiny woman. By the time week 41 of pregnancy rolled around, I looked like I had swallowed a large torpedo. I was seriously huge...and pointy. This is me two and a half weeks before he was born...







I don't remember that much from the anatomy unit of my gym class, but I'm pretty sure your abs are supposed to be really close to their next-door neighbour. By the time Judah was out, the right side of my abs would have had to make a trans-atlantic flight to visit their left hand counterparts. A veritable ocean of nothing divided them.


At first, I was fine with this new, weak, bulbous little belly. Then I got a little tired of it. Then, by the time Judah turned one, and the chasm remained I decided I had to take action. I ate a cupcake at his party, and was pretty sure I could see the sprinkles through my skin as there was no longer any muscle to block the view. Ok, it wasn't that bad...but almost.
I decided I had a few options to tackle this issue.


1. I could get pregnant again, then I could just blame the pregnancy on the fact that I already looked like I was entering the second trimester. This had the appeal of not having to do any exercise, but the drawback of actually having to go through another pregnancy, labour and childrearing quickly cancelled this one out.


2. I could enhance it by letting go, eating a lot of spicy Doritos, and wearing sweat pants all winter. I tried this option out for awhile, then I got tired of the chips and decided it was time to move on to plan 3.


3. I could get a gym membership and work out. I wasn't asking for a six pack, a mere two would suffice. Any sign of any abdominal muscle would be considered a victory.


So I did. I bought the membership. I recruited workout buddies in my sister and mom. I still go twice a week...when I feel like it...


My abs have made somewhat of a reappearance; I can no longer store wrapping paper rolls between them, merely markers. I still get a "food belly" after a big meal, a concept I thought was a myth before Judah entered our life. More and more, however, I don't really care. I'm healthy, I'm happy and I'm loved. Besides, Judah's got me so beat in the world's- cutest- tummy category, that I'm not even sure it's worth competing.






4 comments:

  1. Great post. I've been working on my baby body since #2 did a number on, but my boobies will just never be the same again.

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  2. You were such a cute pregnant lady!

    I have totally considered all three of those options and also settled on number 3. Now I just have to find the time to actually go the gym. I need to stop relying on the breastfeeding diet (otherwise known as the "eat whatever you want but continue to lose weight" diet, or simply - the best diet ever).

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  3. loved this post Jennie! I can relate. that's why it kills me whenever I can't make it out to my stroller fit, which I missed this morning. but when you have to miss a workout because your sweet baby is so sick, than its really not that bad. I'd take cuddling a sick baby over working off my belly fat any day!

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  4. This is a really wonderful post :)

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