Rag & Bone/JEAN Maya jeans | on sale now!
Rag & Bone/JEAN t-shirt | also on sale 🙂 – I love this tee!!
Birkenstock birko-flor arizona sandals
I mentioned in my update post last week that I’ve been going back to Pure Barre for about two and a half weeks (I started six weeks postpartum). What I didn’t mention is that nearly constantly while I’m in class, I find myself hoping/wondering if my classmates remember that “I just had a baby,” because I can’t do all of the things I used to be able to do, the things I worked so hard for, and my leggings/tanks are much too tight.
In general, too, I have felt like I need to wear a neon sign above my head or whatever that says “hey! I just had a baby” as a way of EXCUSING the way my body looks.
I swear my hips are wider than they’ve EVER been, I have fat rolls, and I’ve lost all the definition in my arms/shoulders.
I know all of that is a result of growing and delivering a small HUMAN, but….
as sad as it is, that is how I’ve been feeling. And as I was nursing Hawk over the weekend, I saw this post on Instagram by Ann Street Studio in which she basically says the same thing; even she has felt the need to apologize for her postpartum body.
I find it SO FRUSTRATING that we do this to ourselves, that we believe we don’t deserve to move around in the world with fat rolls and wide hips, not even after we have PUSHED A BABY OUT of said hips. We have to make excuses for how our bodies look, like if the stranger across the street knew that I just had a baby she’d say, OH, okay, I get it now; that extra fat is just TEMPORARY, you get a pass for a few months.
Most of all we are hardest on ourselves. Excuse me, I AM hardest on MYSELF. I think I care what my barre-mates think, sadly, although they tell me I don’t look like I just had a baby two-plus months ago. I say thank you, but inside I’m thinking “yeah, right”. But mostly I can’t help but feel like I’ve done something wrong along the way that I still have “baby weight” – and so much of it. That is my nature though, to think that I am always 100% responsible for any little imperfection, and that I can fix it with hard work.
This time is different I know. There are hormones at play, and reasons my body is holding on to fat. I have almost let go of the idea that my body will ever look close to what it looked like pre-pregnancy. That’s okay. I really just want to feel good in my body, and like it is MINE again. Perhaps that will only come after breastfeeding; it’s hard to feel like my body is mine when it is a constant food source for my son.
I did decide over the weekend that being so hard on myself is taking much too much of my time lately. Time I don’t have a lot of. Time that is precious. I could be loving and embracing my body and all that it is, along with my imperfections as a human, instead of continually berating myself. So I’ve begun to catch myself and then reframe the narrative.
I even wore this outfit out of the house over the weekend, not even bothering to cover up my hips and fupa with a long shirt. That’s progress anyway…
This is going to sound like I’m missing the point – ie that we should be kind to ourselves when our bodies don’t match our expectations, and that society ought to change, not our bodies. And yet I’ll share it anyway: I never lost an ounce of weight while I was breastfeeding. I know other people find that breastfeeding ramps up their metabolism, but for me personally, it wasn’t until my babies weaned later on that (some of) the weight dropped off. So possibly that offers some comfort, even though I mostly agree with your broader point about not mentally apologizing for our bodies.
Oh Grechen, Hawk is just beyond adorable – what a baby! Thank you for sharing your thought processes, as always. I so understand how you feel. I remember being so down and critical about my large, smushy, padded post-pregnancy body. I’m glad that you recognize just how hard you are being on yourself, because the truth is, no matter how sure you are of it, you are not actually back to square one with your body. Your muscles and metabolism are going to remember everything you worked so hard to achieve with your pre-pregnancy exercise and healthy diet, and you will absolutely melt down to that size again. Your previous hard work is still under there. As a hard core distance runner, I had to quit entirely through both of my pregnancies because I had trouble carrying to term, and I gained 40 and 45 pounds with each of my boys respectively, and only lost about 10 pounds with the births. I felt blobby and demoralized, and I too, wanted to carry a sign as though I had to “excuse” myself. Though this kind of thinking is not a good thing, it is so natural and understandable and most of us feel exactly the same way. I know I did. (I also have to giggle, because I think you look pretty darn good, girl :)) Try not to focus too much on this extra padding for now. Give yourself at LEAST nine months to get nearly back to your favorite size – after all, as I’m sure you’ve already been reminded, it took nine months to grow Hawk. That’s how long it took with my first, and my second it took more than two years because I breast fed so long. Brava to you for getting back to PB already – that’s awesome! I didn’t start trying to run again until about 3 months post partum – and I was so out of shape I cried. But just three months later I was up to my old distances ( if not my times), even with the extra weight I carried. Moment by moment, day by day, you’re regaining yourself. Look how far you’ve come just since he was born. Given all the cataclysmic change having a baby causes in one’s life, you’re doing amazingly well. A healthy, sweet, joyous New Year to you and your beautiful family. xoxo
I’m so glad you’re making the conscious effort to be nice to yourself about your body. I totally feel you on this and am also making it a practice to be nicer to my body and care less about what other people think. With my fibroids, I can’t fit into any jeans and it’s been pretty demoralizing to be wearing pregnancy clothing again. For awhile I found myself thinking I’ll do this or that (like I’ll make more of an effort with my outfits/my blog/my insta/my life lol) after my fibroid surgery and I’m closer to my pre-pregnancy size. But life is too short to hold off on things just because my body is not the size it used to be.
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SUE K BLANEY says
Love this post. And I also read Jamie’s post.
I still need to lose the last 20 pounds of my pregnancy weight and my daughter will be 31 in December. 🙂
How I’ve dealt with body changes is getting out of too tight clothes and get into some clothes that don’t make me feel self concsious in my head….and if i can’t feel them tugging at me, I don’t think about them.
Then I just work on my posture…your Pure Barre with help.
I do Pilates Reformer and during class I close my eyers and feel the strength of my body…picture my self in my head and don’t look in the mirror. Feeling my strength and standing up straight helps me alot….along with the mirror thing 🙂
I’ve been told, although I don’t know how true or scientifically based it is, that our muscle memory will allow us to bounce back quicker after having a setback if we’ve been an athlete (Pure Barre counts!). Sounds good to me. I think you’ll see changes faster than you’re expecting, and yet, (reality check) YUP. Your body will never be the same. You may just be stronger, though. I’ve also read that somewhere. Kindness to oneself is something we should all strive for.
Just look at those big brown eyes!
Lol, Sue! I’m right there with you – my youngest is 21.
Before I read the post my first thought was, “she looks so great!” You may notice the nuances of your body change (arms, etc) but most people don’t notice that. Hang in there, you will get to where you want to be.
Erin Frost says
BUY YOURSELF SOME NEW LEGGINGS THAT FIT! Buying clothes that fit was the best thing I did for myself after having my son. It took me awhile to find the new me, a combination of my old self and my new role. I grieved the loss for many months, maybe even years. Yes, I thought I was upset about my weight gain or lack of personal time. But really I was just frustrated and sad about all that change. Happy to hear you are recognizing the signs and stepping back.
Rebecca B | Seven2Seven8 says
I _loved_ Jamie’s IG post on Ann Street Studio. My youngest will be 2.5 on Thursday and I’m 41 and I think she’s finally decided to wean? (I nursed last Friday, and the Monday before that.) I totally agree with the commenter, above, that breastfeeding is not the key to weight loss. I hit my goal weight when my third was 10 months old and then it crept back up and now I’m 15+ pounds north of where I want to be. I don’t know how much is BF (I did drop weight and feel more like myself about 3 months after I fully weaned the twins, but learned I was expecting my third within weeks of that). It’s just hard.
I really like the idea of just wearing the things that make you feel good, or at least let you forget about your body and do something else for a bit. Our third is our last baby, and with breastfeeding wrapping up, I’m planning to give it the rest of the year (I’m working out and staying active and have tweaked my diet as much as I’m willing to do with three littles running around), and whatever that is I’m going to invest in and dress.
And to further echo the remainder of the comments, I think you look great, and Hawk is adorable. Motherhood looks good on you!
There is of course the sense that one looks different and people are either disappointed in that or impressed by how quickly you go “back to normal” (this is how I felt, anyway). But more than that, for me, was the sense that I had lost the body that I was comfortable with, the one that worked for me. More than anything, the process of pregnancy and the postpartum period revealed to me the discomfort I will feel/already do feel with aging, because, suddenly, my body was changed in ways that made everything more difficult. While pregnant, there was sacroiliac joint pain, diabetes, exhaustion, a cellulite explosion and sleep problems. Thankfully these mostly abated. But afterward, there is recurrent back pain (why? from what?), a different kind of exhaustion (of course) and sad-looking boobs. Nothing really to complain about, but I see in those things my body’s inherent fragility. I do also see my strength when I think of how difficult it all was, and is, and how I’m still basically me, and still strong–kind of–how to convey the joy of walking freely again after being pregnant? It still surprises me sometimes! And sometimes I am still just overjoyed to be in my body, MY body, just me, rolling on my stomach and jumping up and down etc. Except when I tried jumping on a trampoline this summer and discovered my incontinence, lol.
For what it’s worth, around 6 months postpartum–both pregnancies–I lost like 10lbs in a week. Doing nothing. Obviously for me it was correlated to when the babies started eating solid food, so I was actually nursing less when I lost weight. I could never lose weight from nursing in the first months, personally. Easy to see and look back on now but when it was happening I just wanted to lose the weight!
Also I just have to say I love Hawk from afar, he just really speaks to me, hehe. What a little darling. And you look amazing, and soon enough you will feel that way!!!!!
You look great and Hawk is such a sweet little soul.
In my experience, my bone structure never returned to normal, but at one point after having my second child I got bronchitis and got thinner than I’d been since high school. So the bones shift but the flesh can recover.
Also now at 63 I keep in mind the street guys who said as I passed, “She’s sexy, for an old lady.” Feels much better than the catcalls of yesteryear. I bet once you’re back in your Pure Barre stride you will come to feel good in your body again. Sending you a big hug.
Mee Mee says
Hawk is so adorable. He’s a delight!!
I’m almost six months postpartum, and I still feel the same urge to apologize for my body. I’m taking domperidone, so I’ve actually gained a few pounds since I got home from the hospital, and now I’m back to work and I have to buy new clothes. It’s hard, but one of my coworkers who has two kids, one nine months older than mine, told me that it took her a year to feel somewhat normal in her body after each kid. That helped calibrate my expectations, so I’m not too discouraged. Our bodies did such a cool thing!
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Chania Allen says
I am almost 60 and have been where you are and wish you could just not feel these feelings, but usually it’s time (age) that brings clarity. All I can say from my experience on earth so far is people are very preoccupied with themselves and they aren’t thinking about you. No one in that class is looking or caring about your arms or your belly because even if they’re skinny ass girls they are thinking about their own jiggly bits.
When given a compliment on your post partum body, do you immediately reply with a thank you but….but I’m still not fitting in my clothes, but I’m still carrying ten pounds……. Instead when someone says you look great for a 2 months post partum mum say “thank you, I feel good for 2 months out” Own it. Wear it proudly. I love the look of new mums with their more rounded bodies and slightly (or very) disheveled hair and no makeup. It’s a raw and honest way to look and there’s nothing more beautiful than a new mum or woman just being themself. I am in awe of them and full of respect because I know it’s hard.
Read about the 4th trimester because you’re in it. Media had told women they need to look perfect right after having a baby and we need to fight that.
You look great. Believe it.