Let me preface this by saying one thing and one thing only: mothers, you are AMAZING. Sometimes we don’t hear it enough. Our bodies are these incredible forces of nature that are capable of not only conceiving another human life form, but growing, birthing & raising these children. Our bodies go from these cute, tight figures to gaining sixty pounds, growing a human & feeling the societal pressures to bounce back right away. Before I get into how incredibly unfair these expectations are I just want to repeat myself: ladies, congratulations. You have achieved something that no man can ever do, and you have experienced how fascinating the human body is firsthand. YOU. ARE. BADASS. ROCKSTARS.
Having said that, let’s talk about how crazy & illogical these common expectations & social pressures are that after pushing a child out of my woo-ha I am expected to have a six pack & tight ass walking out of the hospital. I’m sick & tired myself of seeing all these skinny, genetically blessed women post pictures on the internet with toned stomachs holding their 2 week old baby. Now okay okay, good for them. Do I wish I was able to be back in tip top pre-baby shape a couple weeks after having Jaxon? Why of course. Is that in the cards for me, no matter how hard I worked? Is that a fair standard to set for the majority of women? No way.
So let me clarify, gals. Many of the women who look so perfect right after having a baby, either are using Photoshop applications, or they really are those annoying, tiny perfect girls you hated your entire life. Regardless, that is the exception, not the majority. These are NOT realistic goals to have for yourself.
Pre-Jaxon I always told myself I would bounce back immediately. I hated being fat. And when I say hated, I despised it. I hated having ankles the size of an elephant. I hated having huge, cellulite filled thighs with untoned arms & zero jawline. Mother nature really did a number on me (I gained 65 pounds like a champ). However I used that feeling to motivate me to bounce back when my body allowed. Little did I know what my body had in store for me…
When you find out you’re pregnant all you can think about is what’s to come. You ask all your girlfriends what to expect, you read all the books you’re supposed to, you Google every question you have about child birth, pregnancy & your child’s development. But a key topic women neglect is what happens AFTER the baby comes. What happens to your body? I just put my body through trauma… now what? No one told me what to do now..
When I came home from the hospital I was wearing a diaper for my stitched vagina, huge sweat pants (with blood on them), and I had a deflated, squishy stomach. I was severely dehydrated & still very large & in charge. I wore nothing but huge pads, granny panties & maxi dresses (only thing that fit me). My boobs were ginormous & constantly leaking, & my scabbed nipples from breastfeeding were covered by the ugliest nursing bra that steadily smelled of sour milk. This fabulous look alone lasted 2-3 weeks. Why didn’t any one tell me about this?
I spent every day crying. I was so overwhelmed, sleep deprived & emotional. Meanwhile all of my girlfriends were flaunting bikini pictures on Instagram & wearing short shorts showing off their tanned, toned legs right in front of me. It felt like every waking moment was spent either breastfeeding or pumping. Every day I was so exhausted & felt like I had just ran a marathon. I vividly remember one night pounding plate after plate of spaghetti. I had never been so hungry. During most days I was so busy adjusting to this new life all I would eat is from a huge tub of animal crackers. Again my body was still recovering so aside from walking Jaxon every day I still had not worked out. As weeks passed, still no sign of my jaw line.
Finally, after 7 weeks of recuperating, I had got the okay from my OBGYN to start working out. I jumped at the opportunity. Literally dove right in to weights and HIIT four times a week for an hour a day, on top of hour long daily walks with Jaxon. Sometimes I would go in the studio rooms or hide away upstairs in the cardio section. Mentally, I wasn’t ready to go full throttle in the gym with so many people around me. I was in awe of how weak I had become. All of my previous muscle had turned into fat, literally. When I truly began post baby workout routine I was 37% body fat. And still, seven weeks after birth I was 178 pounds. I’m not lying, this is REAL. I was saddened when I found out these numbers because I thought breastfeeding was going to be the best fat burner. That’s what everyone said would happen. Or, at least that’s what I read on the internet and saw on social media. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?
And so my journey began. I was determined not only for myself, but to prove to everyone around me, including my friends, Tyler & Jaxon that I could do this. I could show everyone through hard work, literal blood, sweat & tears. Every morning I would wake up, feed Jaxon, get us ready for the gym & work out. I brought him with my every day so he could watch his mommy kick ass. I would carry him around in his car seat & bounce him on a medicine ball between sets. When I wanted to quit, I pushed harder. When I wanted to throw up, I ran faster. When I wanted to stop, I lifted heavier. I meal prepped, ate clean during the week, and had tea multiple times a day. Tyler suggested I take pictures of my progress & boy was I happy I did. On days where I felt stagnant I would revert back to those pictures to see how far I had come. What’s so wonderful about my journey is that it really was nothing but hard work. It was all me. No Photoshop, no starving, no intense, unhealthy routine. It was all me, just being consistent. And then one day (I vividly remember this), I was taking a shower and as I was washing my body I felt my tricep. YES, muscle was coming back!
After 3 months of working out (now a little over 6 months postpartum), I had dropped my weight down over 20 pounds & was down to 24% body fat. To some that still may be a lot, but for me I was as proud as they come. Not only had I lost a third of my body fat, but my confidence was coming back. I started wearing tighter clothes, I was going out more, my cheek bones & facial features seemed to be going back into place. I felt sexier & more womanly than I had ever felt before. I think that was the hardest part- me getting my groove back. When you become a mother, your body not only goes through trauma, but you also go through a huge shock of this transition in lifestyle. It is A LOT for any human to handle, and the emotional change goes hand in hand with your body. It all takes time.
So the best advice I can give to any mothers or expecting mothers who want to get their figures back is to be patient & to focus on your progress, no one else’s. I frequently get asked- how did you bounce back? I answer every time with one word, “consistency.” It’s not rocket science, there is no magic pill or secret formula. Eat healthy & workout to where you are sweating 4-5 times a week. Drink lots of water & take your vitamins. Put the scale away & focus on how you feel. But more than anything, take one hour a day for yourself. No husband, no kids, no errands. Have your partner watch the kids or hire a sitter. Many gyms offer daycare services at a monthly reasonable rate, too. Trust me, the hour to yourself to focus on bettering yourself will do wonders for your soul.
Today I still work out 4-5 times a week & try and be active on ‘off days.’ I eat healthy during the week & have recently experimented with going Vegan. But at the same time I also enjoy date nights, I enjoy a good glass of rosé or spicy margarita, & I try and live my life to the fullest without my weight control me. Even with all my hard work I still have 8 pounds to go until I’m back to pre-baby weight, and you know what? That is okay.
Thank you for taking time for reading about my postpartum health journey & struggles. Feel free to share your journey in the comments!!