I don’t gain weight when I’m pregnant. It’s one of the only happy side effects of pregnancy I get other than the baby at the end. I spend a lot of time either barfing or feeling like barfing. When I’m not sick, I just don’t feel like eating. When I do feel like eating, it’s almost always fruit I want. Or peanut butter. When I crave junk, I let myself eat junk because at least it stays down.
All that to say, after my baby is born, I am lighter than when I got pregnant with said baby. Every time. It was most drastic this last time with Alice. I think I was even surprised because she was my first baby who gave me junk food cravings (“fried” is a food group that can be craved, yes?), and because I knew she was the last, I really let myself just eat whatever I wanted because I was so SO sick the first trimester.
I knew it would bite me in the butt later, but pregnant women care not for “later” when it comes to food.
After Alice was born, I lost a LOT of weight. A lot.
In fact, I was almost 40 pounds lighter than when she was conceived. After “she’s beautiful!” the very next thing people said to me was, “you look great! Really! So great!”
I thanked them and blew off the compliment because I died a little on the inside every time.
Because I know you meant the compliment in all the wonderful ways possible, but I also knew that the weight loss was temporary.
You see, after I have a baby, I am completely uninterested in food. Nothing really tastes good to me except coffee. So for a good 2-4 weeks, I live on almost nothing but coffee and the occasional peanut butter sandwich. The weight falls off because I’m not eating or sleeping well and my hormones are still all out wack. When you tell me how fabulous I look, I know that as soon as food tastes good again and my hormones start evening out, the weight will pile back up, and no one will tell me I look fantastic again.
Here I am, almost five months postpartum, and the weight is all back.
I’m disappointed in myself.
I had high hopes of keeping it off this time. Of getting into a work out routine. Of eating healthy.
I have all the excuses: hormones are still acting dumb (my hair is all falling out, my complexion is under the impression I am thirteen again, etc.), I am tired all the time (baby + two active boys = not enough sleep), cardio makes me wheeze (yes, I need to talk to my doctor about this because it is a new turn of events that I need to know if I need to work through or what), I’d rather read a book. You know all the typical stuff.
The thing is, five months ago when everyone was complimenting me, I knew my aspirations to do better this time were empty. I didn’t want to accept those compliments because I didn’t feel that I did anything to deserve them. I didn’t work on myself or take care of myself to earn a healthier physique. I had a baby and lost a bunch of blood and water and a human from my body. And I didn’t eat.
Back then, I felt that if people knew what I knew, they wouldn’t be telling me I look great because they would also know that given a few months, I would not look great anymore. Or at least not the “great” they were currently complimenting.
Now I struggle with my body image daily, and I feel that I have somehow let people down.
I always said, once my last baby was born, there would be no more excuses for not getting my body back to feeling great. But here I am again.
I know it’s not “too late”. I know what I have to do.
I also know thinking about starting makes me want to cry.
Not just because it’s a lot of work (well, that too), but because it overwhelms me. I know I need to start by making an appointment with my doctor. I need to get blood work done and check my thyroid and all those good things that haven’t been checked. I need to talk to him about the wheezing (because DUDE. That never happened before) and find out if my knee is good for some brisk walking (and hopefully more).
I know I need to eat more spinach and less bbq potato chips, more water and less lemonade.
I also know that more importantly, I have three kids watching me. I have a daughter now who will be determining what looking “great” means, and I want her to associate that with “healthy”.
But most of all, I want to believe that I will do these things because I want to believe that I look great, and I am not in that place yet.