Well, I have no idea who wants to read this. But I need to type it. It’s a bit lame. It’s marginally taboo. It’s definitely not the biggest deal in the scheme of all my deals. But it’s really itchy today. If I don’t type it, it’s gonna stay pent up and extra bothersome.
The weight I gained after this last pregnancy is weighing on me. (Take that sentence in any way possible. Lame. Emotional. Physical. Cheesey. Deep? No, it doesn’t read deep, but it feels deep.)
After I had my first daughter, the pregnancy weight was devastating to me. I’d never seen myself look like that, nor did I know to expect to ever look like that. I couldn’t look in the mirror for months. I just avoided it on purpose. I went forward with pure determination to lose that weight, and then some more, because I had a whole host of emotional issues after that c-section. So I emotionally detached from how I looked, and chose to just focus on health. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever look good again, I somehow figured I’d always look exactly like I did the first time I saw myself in the mirror after delivery, but that I would just weigh less and “be healthy.” I don’t know why I thought that made sense. I guess it was just me resigning to not care about looks.
Well I found out after losing that weight I did look better. Which was a perk. But I was focused on health, and really more-so on conquering my next birth. So I didn’t notice that I enjoyed looking better. That felt like just a side effect.
When I was pregnant the second time I was obsessed with health because I wanted to be able to say that even if I had another c-section that I did everything I could towards being able to have a VBAC. And I did do everything I could. Every single second of my time was spent hovering around the center of my world -- “being perfectly pregnant.”
So of course once I did VBAC, I had no more center of my world. That’s it own post -- or if not a post (cause I don’t feel like typing), then just it’s own thing. But anyway that was messy.
What wasn’t messy was how I looked. I mean, I just had a baby, so I looked like I just had a baby. But I sure did not look the same as I did the last time. I still felt somewhat self conscious about my appearance. But mostly I just felt pretty proud of myself for all that hard work I had done staying healthy. Not like in a cocky way, just in a “wow I really did a lot of work, good job.” So it felt fairly natural to lose that weight. I took a break from my “rules” and ate a bunch of cookies and ice cream for 8 weeks after. But then I diligently made sure I got the weight off. And felt good about how I looked again. (Not that I still didn’t have “fat days.” ….What the heck, life? Why do you mess with our heads so bad?)
Both times I lost the weight 5 months after giving birth. Both times it was effortful restraint and purposeful exercise.
If you followed my blog during my last pregnancy you saw that it was not kind to me. I was nauseous, to the point of pain, for 42 (really stinking long) weeks. (I rarely threw up, I just mostly felt horrible, like on the verge of throwing up, all the time.) Most things turned my stomach more, but I had to eat in order to not cross over the threshold of bad over to horrendous. And the only way to do that was eat the only thing that didn’t make me want to die. For a while that was corned beef hash (I don’t know why -- that actually sounds disgusting, but I could eat that then.) For another while it was hamburgers. But through the whole pregnancy the only thing that cured my stomach ache a little bit, for all of 15-20 mins, was ice cream. Had anyone told me that during my second pregnancy I would have (mentally) called them a bald faced liar who just was making up excuses in order to eat without regard for health. But now, having been the health warrior, I was left to admit this was actually happening. And that I had no control of this. No amount of determination could change anything. So I ate ice cream every night after kid-bedtime, because it was worth the 15 minute reprieve -- my soul was dying from so much discomfort -- I wasn’t gonna attempt gaining a couple less pounds just to let my soul die.
To my utter astonishment my 42 week gestated baby boy was only 8 pounds 8 oz. I thought he was going to be a twelve pounder. Nope.
To contrast, my “super healthy no sugar pregnancy” baby was 8 pounds 6 oz. Life is hilarious.
So he seems no worse for wear for all that. Which I am very glad for.
But I am.
I didn’t un-nauseate for about 2 weeks after he was born.
And then I couldn’t like food.
Like when you throw up after a certain food and you avoid it because of the association. Only with everything.
I also associated working-out with nausea. Because to my surprise, physical activity made EVERYTHING worse during that pregnancy. (Which was the exact opposite from my prior pregnancy, where swimming was one of the only things that kept me sane and functioning, it was my life line.)
It took me about five months to feel like a normal person.
For the first five months, I felt like I was 100 years old. My joints and muscles felt horrible. Food was gross. And the only kinds of food that felt “safe" were crap foods.
Would you be surprised to hear I didn’t lose another pound, after the baby came out loss, during those five months?
There was actually spurts where I put a few back on (and off, and on, and off.)
So finally in January (6 months postpartum) I was ready to lose it. My body felt more like my own. And I was ready for all the right reasons. I just want to take care of myself and feel the benefits of that (I remember how physically nice it is to carry around an appropriately sized body.) I was annoyed that I still had 30 pounds to lose at 6 months out, when the last two times I had already lost it all a month sooner. But I was resolved to say “Oh well. It is what it is. Let’s go from here.”
And I did go from there. And, I did awesome. I lost 10 pounds in one month. (Which I think is very safe and healthy in this instance, because of all the circumstances. And I wasn’t starving myself or making poor choices. Actually I was making great choices. And my nursing supply was still perfect.) I still couldn’t bring myself to workout -- the emotional hurdle was still looming, but I was eating good-for-me-foods in good-for-me-amounts. I was feeling so pleased and so much less frustrated with all the things. I felt optimistic about where I was headed. This included our family meals -- which are always emotionally loaded for me with our food allergies mixed with very particular eating for some.
I was feeling better inside my body. Parts that hurt, or just generally felt bad started to feel better or improved. Walking felt more like it should.
Then my brother died.
Like I said, weight is really not the biggest deal in all my deals.
But it is a deal inside my deals.
About a month since now -- I have hovered around the same weight. Some big ups after the funeral and such. But back downs. And back and fourths. But essentially I’ve kept those 10 pounds off. Which I have to say is a relief because I’ve magically been able to do that -- I haven’t tried to maintain.
I now have about 20 pounds, give or take, to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight.
And my thoughts go like this:
“I hate this weight. I want it gone so bad.”
“Who cares. So sad. Cookies.”
“I hate this weight. I can do this. I should do this, it will help me feel better. Yeah, it will. Exercise is so good for your mind.”
“Ehh-hemm. Actually exercise terrifies me. It makes me flash back to pain -- emotionally and physically.”
“Oh….yeah. That is a problem. Well what if we just eat healthy for now and work up to it?”
(Day kicks my butt)
Never mind. I just won’t look in the mirror anymore. I’m too sad to give a crap.”
“Well do you think we should go shopping for more clothes then? If we don’t plan to lose this weight?”
“No! Are you crazy!? That’s admitting defeat. I’m not defeated. We aren’t shopping for clothes!….Let’s go buy another rug... for the kitchen.”
That’s a good general summary.
Of course I could narrate for days.
I have no idea where to go mentally right now.
I’m guessing there’s not an answer to that.
I’m guessing this is a “give yourself grace” moment.
But geeze, how long do I have to just put off “normal” and instead live inside heartache and not-what-I-hoped-for.
I mean, that’s really a whole lot of why I hate this weight.
There are moments where I feel self conscious about how I look. And I do have feelings of embarrassment.
But really a huge reason the weight is so frustrating is it’s a physical scar, that I want to remove, of all the “not-what-I-hoped-for.” And the weirdness physiologically is, I can remove it, the weight anyway. (I know I’ll still have those scars.) It’s just freakishly hard under current situation.