Dear Baby Weight,
If we are being honest with each other, you and I have had a love hate relationship for nearly 21 months now. Emphasis on the hate for a large portion of said relationship.
Everyone said it would be super easy to get rid of you. “The baby weight will just fall off when you’re nursing” they said. “Don’t worry about the calories, you need an extra 300-500 a day”. Without realizing it, before my sweet girl was even born I had set unrealistically high expectations for my postpartum body.
Once baby girl was born, I didn’t go hog wild and eat all that was in sight, though I sure wanted to at times. Once I was cleared to workout, I started going to bootcamp classes regularly and even threw in frequent stroller walks paired with the occasional (yet painfully slow) run.
I beat myself up when you stuck around in all of your stretch marked, flabby glory. I even gave in and bought jeans in a bigger size (though I don’t regret that because there is something seriously life-changing about jeans that fit just right).
It felt like I was watching some women who had barely left the hospital before they were back to their pre-baby bodies. I would rationalize my feelings because I had a c-section, so surely it was just harder for me than others. Until I met others who had had c-sections and some of them had no problem kicking those extra lbs. to the curb.
However, I won’t say “Thanks for nothing”, because I know that we had some good times too. Baby weight, you’ve taught me a thing or two, even if I don’t want to admit it. Here is a list of a few of those lessons:
- My body can do AMAZING things. It was made for this. The fact that I was given the chance (thank you Jesus) to bring another life into this world, is an immense blessing that is not lost on me.
- The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It is easy to sit and envy a journey that I know nothing about. Often what I see on the outside only tells part of the story.
- It is possible to strike a balance between healthy eating & exercise and enjoying life. After over a decade and a half of various attempted diets, I realize that for me, those things are temporary. I think there is beauty in balance and moderation and some days I do those things better than others.
- Breastfeeding is not a guarantee for weight loss. For me it wasn’t until I completely stopped nursing, fourteen months after my daughter was born, that my body finally began to shed the extra pounds- very slowly might I add. Read more about my breastfeeding journey.
- The perfect body is the one in which I feel comfortable and confident. It’s not a number on a scale or a clothing size.
- Women are strong as HELL.
It has been 21 months since I became a Mama and I am happy to say that I am finally back to my pre-baby weight! But here is the thing, if I wasn’t, that would be OK too. I am realizing that my old clothes will likely never fit quite the same, regardless of size, but the reality is that each stretch mark and new curve tell a story all it’s own. A story that leads back to the most amazing, charismatic, hilarious, beautiful little girl that I get to call daughter. I want her to see (and seek) confidence, not a number on a scale and I know that it starts with me.
Thank you for teaching me how to love myself, love others and embrace change. Thank you for showing me that change, though scary, can also be beautiful. I have learned that size and shape don’t define me.
The reality is that some day, we are likely to meet again. When that day comes, I will greet you with a familiar smile, knowing that our time together is not permanent but will undoubtedly rock my world in all of the best ways.
Your not so long lost friend, Shannon