on&off.

by chelseakyaw

While I’m not extremely thrilled to be sharing this photo, I’ve come to better terms in accepting that it is what it is – errr, it is what I’ve made it into AND it’s my body! the one that created and carried and birthed a real little baby. I’ll be honest, I’ve not had/made time to go to the gym *sorry, it’s not my greatest priority right now even though it’s something i’ve been meaning to do* but I do try to eat well and stay as “active” as I can with all things considered. That’s why I want to share about this and write out my experiences. Maybe there is another mom out there in the same boat who might not feel so alone. Maybe.

Once I became pregnant, I did worry about the weight gain aspect. I have had a lot of “experience” with eating disorders and body image dis-morphia, so I was concerned. I was honest and open about my feelings regarding this topic and was made to feel shameful by a lot of people with comments like “you should just be thankful you can carry” and “you’re having a baby. that should be the least of your problems.” but IT IS A PROBLEM. and it is a concern to a lot of moms and IT’S OKAY for you to feel that way. It took a while for me to accept that and to not let other people’s bitter comments put me down. There were a lot of supportive comments and those meant the world, which helped me see my body as a beautiful thing capable of growing life and less as a failure for maintaining a trim figure. Anyway, I worried and was concerned but stayed as active as possible. I exercised, hiked, mountain-stuff, walked, ran until I was put on pelvic rest and was advised that I couldn’t do anything. For me, that was hard to accept. I was excited to be an active pregnant woman and to keep my body trim throughout, but after being told that I couldn’t do more than walk and to limit that, that’s when things got hard. I’ll be honest… it REALLY sucked. Arnold and I were used to going hiking every weekend and the placenta previa and bleeding and pelvic rest instructions were a lot to take in. Aside from walking, I didn’t do much. I felt like a huge pile. The only thing keeping my spirits up was knowing I was protecting my baby. After that, I noticed that my metabolism changed and the weight literally just started adding on.

During one of my prenatal visits, the nurse told me I needed to watch my weight and that I was putting on more than they advised. I couldn’t handle that and broke down. What was I supposed to do? I wasn’t eating much due to morning sickness and food aversions and couldn’t exercise much, so I felt really terrible. They tell you that “normal” pregnancies usually gain around 35 pounds and I had already gained 35 by the middle of my second trimester. In total, I gained almost EIGHTY POUNDS. I went from 118 – 195 and every time I weighed myself I would get really depressed and feel so ashamed of myself. Thankfully I have a really supportive husband who reaffirmed how much the weight didn’t matter and I was healthy (you know, minus the queso and pancake cravings…) I also, admittedly, reached a point where I was like “Well fuck it. Eating is literally all I can do, I don’t have gestational diabetes, and hopefully my metabolism will come back… so might as well.” PLUS everyone feeds you like you’re eating for two (not a momma and a 4# growing baby but like two 300# grown men).

Once Forest was born, i lost about twenty pounds immediately after birth. I felt so good! I also remembered all the comments about breastfeeding helping you lose weight, so i was really pumped about that. Six weeks comes around and i’m already down a total of 50# – you guys. i lost fifty pounds in six weeks and was feeling amazing! Kinda, anyway. BUT THEN i got the damned Mirena and haven’t been able to lose much since (even though i ended up getting the Mirena out around 12 weeks postpartum because my body started rejecting it… but that’s another story). and considering the few pounds i’ve lost from about 12 weeks postpartum, breastfeeding has not helped me lose weight.

and now – nine months postpartum, i don’t have my body back. Most likely i will never have my pre-forest body back and that’s awesome. My hips shifted to create the perfect cradle while he grew from a ball of cells to a beautiful baby. My skin stretched and my muscles spread to adapt to his many changes. My breasts changed because they fed (and are feeding) my baby through his infant and newborn stages. My body retained some extra fat as a store to provide milk for just in case situations. Im 5’7 and was 118# before getting pregnant. I wore a size 0/2 and honestly, that was probably not healthy for my size. Currently I’m 135# and wear a size 6! I feel healthier and stronger than before and have to remind myself that those stats are only numbers. I’m still nourishing Forest with my body and have heard that some women drop the rest of their weight after weaning, but we will see! Meanwhile i’ll enjoy my pancakes and chinese food and fruit and veggies and anything else and focus more on my baby instead of my body. It’s okay to worry about how you look, but don’t let it overwhelm you.

All excuses aside, these are my feelings – BUT i am not the same person anymore that i was a year ago. I really did spend a lot of time on unnecessary thoughts worrying about what i looked like, which is extremely vain. i should have spent a lot more time falling in love with my body during my pregnancy. a lot of women spend a lot of time feeling bad about their birth experience and i feel bad about the way i looked at myself during the growing experience. everyone is different. Arnold and i are only having one baby and i do regret worrying about getting fat more than looking down thinking “holy shit. this is really awesome. i grew a person from scratch!” I won’t get that back, but thankfully i’m almost there now. i look at photos of myself while pregnant and i don’t see how gross i look. i see myself beautiful and glowing and creating life.

remember. the only “postpartum body” that matters is that little life you created.