It’s been almost four months since Henry was born (whatttttt) and I finally feel ready to share my thoughts on the topic of body after baby. I’ll warn you, this post post is kind of long and rambly but I’m hoping that some of you might be able to relate to what I’m going through. And even if you’re not a new mom, there’s a special offer at the end for you Portland peeps…just FYI 🙂
After Henry was born, one of my first memories was watching the Victoria Secret fashion show on TV in the hospital. Super random I know, but what can I say, I wanted to see Taylor Swift perform! Anyway, I remember watching all these scantily clad models in amazing shape walking down the runway and literally not caring at all because I was so freaking proud of my own body for bringing our son into the world. Having a 9.5 lb baby with no epidural was not an easy task, but I did it and I was still basking in that post-labor glow, so in awe of what my body was capable of. Sure those models are in great shape, but at that point, I literally could not have cared less about how I looked because I felt so empowered by this experience I had just been through and I was so in love with our brand new baby.
Flash forward to now and my body is in somewhat of an unfamiliar place. I’m no longer pregnant (obviously) but I’m also nowhere near back to the body I had before either. Trying to navigate the wide range of emotions you face as a new mom is hard enough, but on top of that, we live in a society that seems literally obsessed with women getting back in shape after having a baby. Magazine covers constantly feature headlines about how slim various celebrities look just weeks after giving birth and all that noise can be hard to get away from sometimes. Before Henry was born, all I kept hearing was how breastfeeding makes baby weight just fall off. I think that I (naively) assumed that the weight I gained during my pregnancy would all just come off really easily from nursing and I’d just have to tone up a little and I’d be back to where I was before fairly quickly.
Boy, was I wrong.
Granted, I know there are plenty of women out there that have an experience like I just described where all their baby weight just falls off without much effort and that’s great for them. But that has not been the case for me, at least not so far. I gained about 40 lbs during my pregnancy, and while some did come off initially after giving birth, more than half of the weight I gained seems to really want to stick around. I’m not too fixated on the numbers and honestly haven’t been weighing myself super regularly since Henry was born. But from what I can recall, I feel like I lost a decent chunk in that first week or two after he was born, and then with the holidays and the stress that comes with having a newborn, I feel like my weight plateaued or I may have even gained a couple of pounds just because I was so.freaking.hungry from nursing and eating all the holiday things. I was weighed at my 3 week postpartum visit with my midwife and honestly, my weight has hardly changed since then.
So that’s where I’m at. I’m still a fairly significant amount above my pre-pregnancy weight and I wanted to be open about it. This post is definitely not me trying to fish for compliments on how I look or anything like that, honestly, I just wanted to share my thoughts about where I’m at right now because writing is a way for me to attempt to process my somewhat conflicting emotions.
Because first of all, I’m kind of surprised just how little I actually care about losing the baby weight because I’m so incredibly happy with life right now, happier than I’ve ever been. Henry brings Cam and I so much joy and we just love him so freaking much it’s ridiculous. At the end of the day, he is my top priority and I just want to him to be healthy. And I honestly, I love being a mom. I feel more beautiful and confident than I ever have and I think it’s in large part due to the fact that I MADE A HUMAN BEING. Like how cool is that? When I look at Henry’s little smiling face and know that I grew and gave birth to that dimple-faced cherub, worrying about numbers on a scale seems really, really dumb.
And then there’s the issue of nursing. I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and thankfully, things are going really great! (I’m planning on writing some BF-ing related posts soon so stay tuned for those) Like I said, when you’re pregnant, everyone tells you that breastfeeding is great for burning calories and losing the baby weight. And I know for some people that’s probably true. But now that he’s here, I’ve come to realize (after some Google searches and talking to other moms) that many women don’t really lose their baby weight until they’re done nursing. Yeah, no one told me that before but apparently it’s true. And it makes sense, your body is producing milk to sustain another person, so it’s understandable why it would want to hold on to some of those extra fat stores. Plus, nursing makes you really hungry. One of the key factors for keeping your milk supply up is making sure that you eat enough calories, and so that’s definitely my priority as I want to make sure Henry is healthy.
But on the other hand, I’m not going to pretend that I feel completely happy with my body right now. It’s super annoying that the majority of my pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit. Shopping these days is kind of depressing too because I don’t really want to buy a bunch of new clothes for the size I’m at now as I’m hoping it’s only temporary. And in addition to the constant barrage of stories in the media about celebrities who are back to their pre-baby bodies shortly after giving birth, I feel like I’m constantly being bombarded by it on social media as well. Granted I follow tons of bloggers who are at a similar stage in their life of just having babies, but when I see other new moms post photos on Instagram about how they’re back in their old jeans or they’re sporting bikinis just months after having a baby, it’s hard not to be a little negatively affected by that.
So right now I’m trying be realistic, but it’s challenging. Those first few weeks, heck the first few months with a newborn are HARD. You’re not getting much sleep, your hormones are out of whack, and your body is still recovering from labor. I keep reminding myself that it took my body over 9 months for Henry to grow and develop and he’s not even 4 months old yet, so I need to just give myself time and have patience. I may not be seeing the effects of breastfeeding in terms of losing the baby weight just yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t down the road. Plus, Henry is growing like a weed and gaining weight and that’s such a cool feeling to know it’s because of what I’m doing. And I realize that my body may never go back to the way it was before. After pushing out such a big baby, I don’t think my hips will ever be the same again…but I’m totally fine with that. I made another human being and I’m proud of the fact that my body has been changed by that. At the same time, I can see how it could just be really easy to continue to fall back on the excuse of “I just had a baby” as a justification for making choices that are unhealthy moving forward. Being able to experience pregnancy/birth is a huge blessing, but I don’t want to use it as a constant crutch for why I can’t attempt to get back in shape.
And if I’m being totally honest, I probably am putting a little added pressure on myself about wanting to get back in shape since I’m a stay at home mom now. That might sound really silly, but I feel like people are more judgmental about if you stay home and you’re out of shape vs. if you’re working. At least I know I probably was, pre-baby that is. When I was working, I totally thought to myself all the time that if I could stay home all day, I’d be in amazing shape…ha! Now I’m quickly realizing that the hours in the day go by really fast with a baby (especially when you’re nursing) and if I do have a few free minutes to myself, I don’t necessarily feel like spending them doing lunges around my house. At the same time, I don’t want to just waste time on scrolling through Facebook on my phone either and then look in the mirror and wonder why I’m not exactly satisfied with my body.
So that’s the struggle, finding a balance. On the one hand, I don’t want miss out on these precious, fleeting moments with my son because I’m hung up on something as trivial as how much I weigh or fitting into a certain size. But on the other hand, I do want to feel good about myself and how I look in clothes. I want to be healthy and strong so I can do things I enjoy like hiking and keeping up with Henry as he grows. I want to be able to take him to swim lessons and not feel super uncomfortable about how I look in a bathing suit. And even though Cam is so great and always tells me that I look beautiful no matter what size I am, I don’t want to just completely let myself go because I’m a mom. I still want to put in effort to look good! But…I also really like sweets…ha! I’m sure there are people who are reading this post who follow me on Instagram and see all the food pictures I post and think ummm no wonder the baby weight isn’t falling off you dummy! Maybe it’s all the macarons! Because yes, I like to indulge. I live in a city that has awesome restaurants and I feel like life is way too short not to enjoy good food. And when I’m home all day, nursing and changing diapers, sometimes I’m going to want to have a cookie. Or three. And that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.
So what’s the point of this post?
Honestly, I’m not really sure…just kidding, I promise I’m going somewhere with all of this!
Basically ClassPass allows you to pay a monthly fee and take unlimited classes at all sorts of fitness studios (yoga, spin, barre, etc.) all around your city. And I’m talking about nice studios that typically have very pricey monthly membership and per class fees. Such a genius concept right? I personally love having variety in my workouts, and so in the past, I never purchased memberships to studios I’ve liked because I couldn’t justify paying so much money every month to just take classes at just one place. (I’d typically always do a studio’s intro special and then just purchase individual classes which adds up fast) ClassPass is awesome because it allows you to try all different studios, plus the monthly fee (only $79/month here in Portland) is really reasonable compared to the membership costs for some of the studios that are included. The only restriction is that you can only take 3 classes at a particular studio in a given month, however, there are so many different studios to choose from, I almost see that as a positive because it forces you to mix it up.
I actually first heard about ClassPass because my sister signed up in NYC a while ago and she was raving about all the awesome classes she was taking. So when I heard they were coming to Portland, I was super excited to try it out! They launched here back in November, but at that time I was a little too pregnant to sign up…ha! I was initially planning on starting my membership back in February, but at that time Henry was still nursing way too often and his daily schedule was too erratic to commit to making it to any sort of classes on time. But now that he’s almost 4 months old, he can go 3+ hours between feedings and I feel like we’re in a much better groove in terms of his schedule.
I’m pumped because I know this is exactly what I need to get back on track health-wise. Baby weight aside, being a mom is a demanding full-time job and so I think that taking an hour for myself here and there to go to do a workout that I enjoy is going to be extremely beneficial not just for my physical health, but also for my mental well-being. My first priority is being the best mom I can be and I know that taking better care of myself is crucial. And as much as I love my baby to pieces, I know that getting out of the house by myself for a bit and working up a sweat will be really good for me. Plus, I honestly love taking group fitness classes and I just feel so much more happy and productive when I workout regularly. And if I tone up and lose a few a few of these lbs in the process, then so be it 🙂
I’m already signed up for a bunch of classes and I’ll be posting on Instagram throughout the month so you can see which studios I’m trying! (So if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you should probably get on that…@inthepinkandgreen) Another nice thing is that ClassPass has an awesome free app so you can keep track of all the classes you sign up for, perfect for someone with a serious case of mommy brain…ha! If you’re in Portland and you’re interested in signing up, CLICK HERE to get started 🙂
I know today’s post was a little wordy but I appreciate you reading my neurotic new mama musings 🙂
Hope everyone is having a great week!
I am being provided a free month of ClassPass, however, the choice to blog about it was my own, as are all opinions expressed in this post. The links included are affiliate links, and I greatly appreciate you supporting brands that I love!