Motherhood brings out this whole new side of a woman.
Start with pregnancy…
It’s this (typically) 9 month-long journey filled with many ups and downs.
I’ll be real, my experience was not how I always imagined it to be.
Some women have flawless pregnancies and just love every moment of it. (Ladies, tell me your secrets!)
TV portrays pregnancy to be this wonderful, magical experience once the morning sickness phase is over.
That may very well be the case for some women.
For me? Not so much.
I was extremely nauseous for the first 4 months of my pregnancy with Lena.
I only actually vomited a handful of times, but I was nauseous A LOT. Trust me, being perpetually nauseous is worse than the act of vomiting itself.
Because of said nausea, pretty much all I could stomach during that time was toast/bagels/any type of bread I could get my hands on, dry cereal, pizza, applesauce… annnnd I think that’s about it.
I started to worry a bit after my first trimester ended because I had lost 3lbs instead of gaining any weight. My OB said this was normal, so I didn’t panic.
I did think it was strange though. I’d been carb-loading like I was training for a triathlon, yet I lost weight?
Somewhere around week 20-ish I steadily started gaining weight; about a pound a week.
But then it rapidly increased…
After pound 25, I wanted to put myself on a diet.
I was only at about week 26, and I knew I had a ways to go before little miss Lena left my body to join this world. If I kept gaining weight at this rate, I’d be as big as a house by the end!
But, I knew that my baby needed nutrients and that this was all a part of pregnancy.
Again, my OB told me that everything was fine, to keep doing what I was doing and she would worry about the weight if it got out of hand.
She told me she had gained 58lbs during her first pregnancy and ended up weighing as much as her husband in the end, and she was still perfectly healthy.
That made me feel a bit better.
Around week 34, I had gained almost 10 lbs of fluid that week alone from being overworked!
I’m a nurse, so my job requires a lot of standing and constant movement. I had worked 4 out of 5 twelve hour nightshifts in a row, and it proved to be too much for my body to handle. I felt mostly fine, just a little short of breath here and there, which was expected at that point of pregnancy.
However, during my OB visit that week, my blood pressure was high and I had significant swelling in my face, hands, legs, and feet.
Needless to say, my OB was now worried.
Like, high-key red alert worried.
She wrote me off of work for a week until she re-evaluated me.
Many people would panic at this point.
I was concerned about my health, sure.
However, I was more concerned that she might keep me out of work until my delivery date, because that would only give me about a month at home with my newborn before having to return to work.
How could I have a newborn, learn how to breastfeed, go through the rollercoaster of postpartum emotions, deal with sleep deprivation, and return to work only a few short weeks later?
That would be devastating!
Luckily, at the next visit I had lost 7lbs of fluid and looked much better, so my OB was okay with me returning to work.
I ended up stopping work 2 weeks later because my blood pressure increased again.
I was also feeling more short of breath, and the swelling had returned.
Bright side: at least I went back to work for 2 more weeks instead of staying home wasting my leave time.
By the end of my pregnancy with Lena, I had gained a whopping 54 pounds!
So yeah, that was not my favorite part of pregnancy.
I am now a little over 3 months postpartum and I have lost 36 of those extra 54 pounds. I’m feeling more and more like myself every week. I’m learning to be patient with my body and to appreciate the journey that it’s going through.
I realize that I went through a tremendous physical change; and while some women snap back within a few short weeks of delivering their babies, it takes other women a little longer, and that’s okay.
Ladies, my tip to you: ignore the pressure of society to need to immediately “snap back” into your pre-pregnancy body (or better).
Sure, you can strive to be back to your old self, but shouldn’t be the highest priority on your list (unless your career requires you to look a certain way).
You have a new life to take care of, while simultaneously continuing to do the hundreds of other daily activities that you do.
It’s okay to take it slow.
It’s okay to rest.
It’s okay to be exactly how you are.
No matter what state your postpartum body is in, it is perfectly imperfect, because you’re human.
Love yourself. Love your journey. And most importantly, love that/those little baby/babies that you have just recently given birth to.