This post has been one I’ve thought about writing for a while now, but I keep putting it off. I want to share how I’ve been doing personally these last few months since having Addie, but I don’t want this to be a comparison trap. Each one of us is so uniquely designed by God. My experience is not necessarily going to be your experience. But I do want to share because my hope is that I may be an encouragement to at least one pregnant or new mommy out there!
My physical self:
So I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
But I’m more thankful to say that I can fit in to my pre-pregnancy clothes. My body is not exactly as it used to be. Certain areas aren’t as tone, certain areas are a little bigger than before, and certain areas have actually shrunk (I bet the other moms out there can probably guess what I’m talking about!). But I believe that’s to be expected, and I can honestly say that I am completely at peace with myself.
The process to lose the baby weight was not quick for me. I had nearly 40 pounds to lose, so I knew it was not going to happen overnight. After having Addie, the first 25 pounds came off probably within the first month. But it wasn’t until she was around 5.5-6 months before I lost the remaining 15 pounds.
While Addie was still nursing, I didn’t count calories or do anything to intentionally lose weight. Once she stopped (around 3.5 months), I started watching my portion control a little more carefully. I never went hungry, but I tried to keep myself somewhere around the 1500-1700 calorie range each day. It was always just a general estimate … I have never counted calories exactly. So I could have easily been off by a couple hundred calories a day. And if I was still truly hungry at the end of the day, I ate. I refuse to starve! I also enjoyed special occasions and didn’t worry about the extra calories I was consuming.
Regarding exercise, I have to be honest. I’ve always been someone who goes in waves with exercise. Since having Addie, I seem to have entered another ‘not working out’ wave. Addie and I go on walks several times a week, and I try to do push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges around the house a few times a week. But that’s really all I’m doing right now. I know I need to work out because it’s good for me. But I’ve just felt pulled in other directions these last few months. I think I’m going to sign up for another race soon, to hopefully motivate me to get back on the workout train!
So because I wasn’t exercising a lot and I wasn’t significantly cutting calories, the weight came off slowly. But it did come off. I lost (on average) about half a pound a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I actually wasn’t expecting to get back down to my “exact” pre-baby weight. I figured I’d keep a few pounds on me, and I was honestly OK with that. But it seems like this must be my “happy weight,” because my body just naturally returned to this size without much effort.
My point in sharing all of this is to encourage other women to treat their bodies with kindness. Having a baby is an amazing physical act. Thank God for how He used your body to create a miracle. And be patient with yourself when it comes to returning to your previous physical self. Your body is smart. If you try to make healthy choices, you should see success.
But I really believe that your physical self after having a baby isn’t nearly as important as your emotional self …
My mental/emotional self:
I’ve been very open with my emotional struggles the first 4-6 weeks after Addison was born. I always hope that in sharing my struggles, I can somehow help another woman feel that she isn’t alone. That she isn’t somehow “wrong” or “bad.” I think every woman has a slightly different postpartum experience. I have some friends who have been able to flow beautifully in to their new lives as mothers. I was not one of those women.
As much as I loved Addie when she was born because she was my daughter, I didn’t feel as connected as I had hoped to feel. I didn’t feel like I really knew her. Who was this little person who was suddenly consuming every ounce of my energy, my time … my life? Speaking of “my life,” where did that go? The life I previously knew was gone. Completely. And although I knew prior to having my daughter that my life would be different, no one could prepare me for just how different it would become.
So I cried. A lot. And I wondered what I had gotten myself in to.
But then something beautiful happened. When Addie was just under 6 weeks old, I felt a sudden shift. A cloud lifted. I really believe through the power of prayer (and the simple gift of time), I started feeling like myself again. And although this new life was still challenging at times, I knew that I was going to be able to do it through God’s strength and grace.
Since that time, things just continue to get better and better. Every day still has its challenges. But each day is also more wonderful than the last. I love that little girl more than I ever imagined possible, and giving selflessly to her is now a gift.
It’s not always an easy gift to give. But I know that the Lord has equipped me for this role as mother, and He is enough for today.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When I am weak, He is the strength I need. And He has also given me an amazing support system to help me through the more challenging days. Having friends and family who love and support us has been an incredibly blessing that I am abundantly thankful for!
And that’s my story!
Question for ya …
If you have children, what was your postpartum experience like? Was it different for each child?
On a completely unrelated note … what did everyone do this weekend?
We had a fairly lazy Saturday. We hung out with Addie, watched a little football, and ate buffalo chicken dip. Yum!
** And before I sign off for the day, I want to say Happy Veterans Day. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has selflessly served our country! You are appreciated!