Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Transparent Moment--Body after Baby

Fact: Most women walk out of the hospital room, baby in tow, still looking 4 to 5 months pregnant.

Fact: Most women's body shape changes after baby.

Fact: If this is not the case for you, I will briefly not like you.

Conversation about a picture that was taken 4 days post baby #1 (I was in a wedding 4 days after having my first):
My oldest son: Mommy, is that baby brother in your tummy?
Me: No, that's baby you that Daddy is holding.
My oldest: Why is your tummy so big?

Conversation 1 week post baby #2 (In an allergy consult with our oldest son):
Nurse: Oh Sweetie, you probably aren't in any condition to hold your son for the shots. How far along are you anyway?
Me: Um, I'm not pregnant. I just had the baby a week ago.

Conversation JUST YESTERDAY (keep in mind my youngest is 2 next month):
My youngest son: Mommy. Tummy. (points to tummy)
Me: Yes. Good job.
My youngest son: leans on my tummy Skishy! (huge grin. Means squishy)
Me: Way to build Mommy's confidence love bug. 
That's because you were 9.8 lbs stinker.

Despite not doing too much in the workout department, I am thin. Yes, I don't have too much room to talk about struggles with body after baby. After all, I love my arms; lifting my kids up and down, down and up, and up even higher (bunk bed), has given me great arms. Something else I love? I have a completely supportive husband. He thinks I'm beautiful...no. matter. what. Which helps me boost my confidence. And I have to admit, sometimes when I look at my stomach...just how it is...I'm reminded of carrying my boys for 9 months, how wonderful (you can tell that I haven't been pregnant for 2 years when I refer to my last pregnancy as wonderful) pregnancy is, and the awesomeness of birth. And yet...

Truth: I feel good about myself when I'm clothed; I'm able to easily hide my body under clothes.

Truth: I hate my naked body. Or rather, my naked stomach.

TRANSPARENT TRUTH: I usually keep a shirt on during you know what so I don't have to be self conscious. How's that for brutal transparency? (Sorry honey!)

You always hear how it takes 9 months to gain the baby weight, so be kind to yourself, give yourself 9 months to lose those pounds too. But what you see is the supermodels strutting the runway 2 months post baby in LINGERIE. Hmmm. There's a lot of pressure to quickly get body back. What you don't hear is that most women actually have to work at getting pre-baby body back, some women will always have slightly different bodies. You mean I have to work at it?! And I have to work at it in between not sleeping, changing diapers, working full-time, cleaning the house, writing blogs, taking pictures, entertaining, bathing, feeding, clothing, etc.?! 

Fortunately, losing the weight was never the issue for me. I nursed both boys and the pounds literally just melted off. I could eat every Christmas cookie at the table and still lose weight. I was down to my skinny, pre-baby weight within 4 weeks. However, my body was, and is, different. I understand that many women will briefly dislike me for even posting this, because let's face it...I'm thin and my weight is right where it should be (and I totally understand some of you are far from your goal). However, it's all about how I feel.

Since being pregnant I've purged almost every article of clothing I owned before I had my kids. Nothing fits. My hips are wider, muscle smaller, stomach and ribs wider, boobs smaller (how was that even possible?) and the weight is dispersed very differently. Body is just different. I go shopping for new clothes for myself and usually come home with bags of clothes for my kids. Not because what I found was too good of a deal to pass up, but rather, I get so depressed trying on clothes where I just can't take it anymore. It's easier to buy something in 2T or 5T that I know will fit my boys and they doesn't need to try it on. Needless to say I don't have many clothes right now.

Problem is, in college I destroyed my knees running and haven't taken the extensive time necessary to properly rehab them. So exercise is a challenge for me. Running was what I loved and I never feel like I'm working out unless I'm running. Silly, I know. But I'll admit, I've been afraid to work at it too because in addition to my knees, my stomach muscles severely separated with the birth of #2 (did I mention he was 9.8 lbs...), I got quite a few stretch marks under my belly button with #2 (and all out front?!), and I have a ton of extra skin (combine 9.8 and all out front). 

But now I have a goal. Hawaii in late Spring. Sun. Sand. Family. Hot...Bikini? I haven't worn one of those in 4+ years! That would be nice.

So, I'm starting P90X...but taking it really easy due to the bad knees. And you know what? If I'm still wearing a tankini in Hawaii, but feel good about myself, that's okay. Who's with me?

Readers: What's one thing you love and one thing you hope to change about your "new" body?


  1. Okay, I will briefly hate you over the Christmas cookie fact :) Hatred over!

    I know exactly how you feel about the post baby bod. With my first, I didn't gain much weight due to the fact that I was running around a hospital, following the orders of a maniacal extern boss. But I gained almost 20 lbs *after* giving birth because I ate everything in sight. With #2, I gained after morning sickness went away, but I'm loosing weight slowly by breastfeeding and watching my portions. My 3 year old patted my belly post baby and said, "Aw, all wrinkly and squishy!" (stretch marks and flab) What a little confidence booster!

    Okay, I'll quite jabbering and answer your questions...

    I love the fact that my husband loves my body...

    I hope to change (I can only choose one thing?!) my arms...I have bigger bat wings than the bat exhibit at the zoo.

  2. I was just laughing at Ana's comment about the bat wings!

    I was walking the hospital halls with Husband AFTER having my first baby when someone came up to me and said "due any minute?" :(

  3. I did P90X after the twins and it's amazing. I did it again recently, but have run out of time and energy. It's worth it; you'll love it!

    Actually, I did P90X after the twins and was in the best shape of my life. Leaner and at my lowest weight. But, I still wasn't happy. And not because I didn't look good in clothes, I did, but because, as you suggest, I needed full body armor to be intimate.

    I HATE my belly and my boobs. I PLAN to have plastic surgery to correct that problem. I've been thin for a long while now and have not regained any of the extra weight (and there was a lot of it) that I used to carry around before and after my first. I've been a healthy eater and a healthy exerciser. Now it's time to let the surgeons take care of the stuff P90X won't fix.

    Great post.

  4. I heard a lot about the P90X... maybe I should give it a try. I am just too lazy... and I think the laziness is the reason why here I am at 5.5 months post partum, and I am still wearing elastic waistbands coz I couldn't fit in any of my pre-preggy clothes. Ugh! Kudos to you! :)

  5. Greta, this is one area that you can be a little extra thankful to have only boys. You can pay a little extra attention to your appearance and working towards having your appearance make you feel good, without worrying about "messages" that you are sending your kids. Not that boys are immune to eating disorders or obsession with appearance, but, they are less susceptible to it.

    I have a friend who really really wants to get a boob job after having two kids (both girls). She is worried that this will teach her daughters that being attractive matters, and vanity is ok. Of course, being attractive DOES matter in our world, and feeling good about yourself is IMPORTANT. Clearly, however, it's a fine line that is hard to even approach when you have young girls and you are trying to be their healthy role model.

    I just thought I'd offer a perspective on one of the "perks" of having only sons. :)

  6. Great post! Totally on the same page as you in terms of not feeling like I worked out unless I run. Post-baby body is difficult and your body really does change. One of my friends said she felt like she was in someone else's body even though, yes, she was thin. Here is a great blog post by her:

  7. I love your honesty Greta and can totally relate to how you feel!! I know I just gave birth 4 weeks ago and don't expect to have my old body back yet, but I definitely don't feel like "me" and it's a bit depressing when nothing but maternity clothes fit right now. I'm anxious to get the go ahead to start working out again in a few weeks and know I will have to work at it to lose the baby weight. And yes, I'm jealous you could eat anything and still lose the weight! :)

  8. Greta, I can totally relate as well. I hate my stomach. HATE it. In all honesty, I never had a perfectly flat tummy, even as a size zero, all my fat collected in one little pooch. But after 2 c-sections, forget about it. My husband makes fun of the swim suits I wear, worse than a tankini it is like a little swimming dress. I am not overweight, but I like my body much better with clothes on, and I hate the feeling of anyone seeing the flaws I see. What pisses me off more than anything are all these stupid "body after baby" spreads in US and People. Wow so Heidi Klum looks better 3.5 weeks after giving birth than I have in my LIFE. That is just great. Partly genetics I am sure, but also if I had live in round the clock help with the kids, a personal trainer, a chef, or diet delivery meals, maybe I could whip back in shape more quickly too. Bitter much? ;)

  9. Great post Greta! So true for any mother I think is that of just feeling somewhat self concious about the stretch marks and what not. I like that my husband thinks I am just as beautiful today as I was when we met and I have twice the amount of stretch marks since then! Also, to those mom's who want to work out but can't find alot of time I would suggest a workout called Crossfit. It can give you the exact same results as P90x but in a shorter amount of time.
    Good luck with your goal!

  10. Babe, great post...I'am so proud of the women you have become. When I met you it seemed impossible to get you to open up about what was going on in your thoughts. Now roughly eight years later you have grown into a confident and "transparent" women. It is hard and dangerous to wear your heart on your sleeve...that is why I'm so proud of the courage you have! I love you!

  11. I agree with the so proud of you part that Ryan said. I love transparency and confidence in a woman!

    I just have one observation: I adopted both of my kiddos (when they were babies). It was great when people told me how great I looked having just had a child. Today at almost 65, with both kids grown and on their own, I have a "baby bump". What's with that?!!

  12. It's strangely comforting to know other women struggle with this same issue. I'm 3 months post baby and just feel umcomfortable in my own body! I'm not too much heavier than prepragnancy but the weight is distributed differently and so nothing fits. The stretch marks and squishy feeling don't help! My 2 year old niece used to refer to the baby in my belly as "the ball", a month or so after "the ball" was born we were explaining to her how the baby is out now, etc...her 4 year old brother chimed in with "you still have a little ball Auntie Meghan!" THANKS! I really want my body back without having to work for it, that's the biggest problem. I don't know where to find the time or the motivation.

  13. I actually left the hospital ten pounds HEAVIER than when I checked in, thanks to way too much IV fluid. It took two weeks before it started coming out. I think this is karma for heading to my induction saying "I can't wait to have normal sized feet" instead of saying "I can't wait to meet my daughter!"

    Having been raised by a mom who always thought happiness was 10 lbs away, I am so conscious about what my daughter will see when she sees my attitudes and habits around food and exercise. Guess it's time to start cleaning up my act!

  14. I'm not exactly loving my droopy boobies BUT.. I like that there's more of me to love all over!!
    But don't mind me, Tuesday is Zen Mother day for me so this positivity won't go too far. Cheers to Spanx! Woohoooo!

  15. Wow, I think I have a love/hate relationship with the fact that this is such a hot topic. Love because I love all the comments! Sometimes it's nice to know I'm not alone--and I"m sure you feel the same way. Hate because unfortunately, this is what society has done. We all feel self-conscious in our post-baby, beautiful bodies, especially if our baby is more than 3 weeks old.

    @Ana--I'm still chuckling about your comment.

    @Suzanne--I'm impressed you were up walking the halls afterwards ;)

    @Nicole--You looked amazing last time I saw you! If p90x did that, I'm in :)

    @Rachele--I was actually just talking about that exact thing with Ryan a couple of weeks ago. I try to make working out "fun" when the kids are watching, I keep my complaining to the bedroom ;), and I never say the word "diet" in front of them (though I don't intend on dieting!). I've had to work on the same positive spin on working too. I noticed I was always referring to it as a bad thing :( Really good points for all us women to keep in mind!

    @Katie--thanks for the link, there are a lot of similarities there :)

    @Getrealmommy--I feel ya! COMPLETELY. I hate looking at those magazine articles...but it's like a train wreck...I just have to.

    @Bontrager Fam--Great idea about Crossfit!

    @Ryan--Thanks babe!

    @Carole--hehe--thanks for the chuckle (and kind works!)

    @Keith and Meghan--Kid's brutal honesty is sometimes hilarious. Other times, not so much.

    @Amber--That would be hard being raised by a mom that wasn't happy with her body. It makes it really easy to then fall in to the same pattern. Good luck!!

  16. @Tina--oh my goodness...too funny! Spanx, now there's an idea :)

  17. Yes, it sounds like we have similar body types. Since I'm tall, I've never had an issue too much with weight, but, my body has still changed from the pregnancy--same thing--wider hips, smaller boobs, protruding stomach. Needless to say, I'm not fans of these changes. What do I like? Um...the constant smile that's practically implanted on my face from watching little guy's antics...

  18. Lol! I'm like you, basically thin, didn't have to work for it but am a totally new shape. Not one I like either. Glad I'm not alone. Not that I would wish shrunken boobs and a squishy tummy on anyone. ;)