Thursday, March 8, 2012

On vanity and expectations

My goal for pregnancy was to remain fit and healthy. I knocked it out of the park for the first 5-6 months: I ran, a lot; I lost my sweet tooth; I craved raw vegetables and Cheerios. Then winter hit, my running slowed to walking, and I rediscovered my love of baking and Nutella. Suddenly, my low weight gain was not so low. In the scheme of things, it wasn't too bad - I gained 31 pounds during my pregnancy. More than I'd hoped; I had wanted to gain 20-25 pounds because I started off the pregnancy carrying an extra 15 pounds. But I consoled myself with the fact that it could have been far more, and really, the Nutella cheesecake alone was worth an extra 6 pounds.

Two days following Charlotte's birth, I was incredibly distraught to realize that I'd only lost 6 pounds. Seriously. I gave birth to a 6 lb 9 oz baby, and no longer had a placenta, and still I was only 6 pounds down? Apparently someone had slightly unrealistic expectations. That same someone did NOT anticipate post-partum edema that was worse than anything dealt with pre-partum. Dear god, everything about me was swollen. My face! My knees! My calves! My ankles and feet (a given)! Why was I not warned about this? As a result, I loathe pretty much every single photo taken of me during Charlotte's first two weeks of life. I know. I'm ridiculous. I'm working on it.

Fast forward three and a half weeks. I'm down about 17-18 pounds, and the joy that is being a mom has helped me come to grips with that. In my mind, I was going to be able to lose at least 20 pounds during the first month, leaving me with not too huge a number to tackle. Close, but no cigar. Ultimately, I feel pretty good about myself. I imagine many women, and probably most mothers, struggle with body image issues. Funnily enough, I feel better about my body now, carrying 25-30 pounds more than I'd like, than I did when I was only carrying 10-20 pounds more than I'd have liked. I feel like, darn it, I have ACCOMPLISHED something with this body. I have EARNED this floppy belly and wider hips. And, let's face it, I'm totally providing nourishment for a sentient being. That alone has got to be worth a few extra inches.

What is helping me is, I have gotten out of my sweatpants and into jeans. I put on blush (it's true, Mom. I even wear it to the grocery store!). I walk briskly with a baby and dog in tow.  Today I even wore my running tights, whose high spandex content helps to contain a certain amount of jiggle when I wiggle. And I take advantage of the fantastic stroller my family gave me at a shower:
Don't worry, it's perfectly safe for a newborn to be in this particular jogger.
This week, so far, we have logged about 12 miles. Gus is really digging our mid-day walks, and since he's not on a leash, he's probably logged about 15-18 miles. He is snoring on his bed right now, and it's only 3:15. I'm about to join him, floppy belly and all.


  1. Char looks so tiny! Loved this post. I think you've got the perfect attitude about this!

  2. I know I'm a little late to the party, but congratulations! Charlotte is beautiful and so sweet! You must be so happy to welcome her -- aren't baby cuddles the best!?!

    Love your attitude here. Isn't is amazing what your body has done? You've totally earned your tiger stripes!

    It's great that you're out and about. Putting on real clothes does wonders for the mood/self-esteem!

    Also, not sure if you're breastfeeding or not, but BFing really helped me lose the baby weight (or at least the baby shape as I've not weighed myself since 41 weeks pregnant).

    Congrats again. She is so wonderful and I look forward to reading more about your adventures!