Accepting My Body: Post-Baby + Beyond

Post-baby bodies can be devastating to many women, while others seem to be blessed with bodies that “bounce” back almost immediately.  My journey to being able to accept my body as it is has been a long one…and I apparently am still on it.

I have always envied the women who gave birth and could show up a couple of weeks later looking like they never had a small human inside their bellies for nine months.  I have never been a thin person.  There were the college years and a few years beyond where “things” were all in the right place.  Clothes fit great and I looked in the mirror feeling pretty good about myself.  I could run for 3-4 miles without stopping, proudly wear a bikini, and seemed to possess an endless amount of energy. 

What happened? Why can’t I have that body now?

My first pregnancy came when I was still in my fit body. I was pretty sick the first 8 weeks or so. Nothing stayed down and I actually lost weight during that time period. Then I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Mrs. Hostess and Mr. Haagen Dazs and gained a whopping 46 pounds! For the first time,  I looked in the mirror and saw someone I didn’t recognize.  Pregnancy had also graced me with a face full of zits, swollen feet, and a bad haircut to boot. After months of a rough recovery (post baby), it became clear my sleek, youthful body was gone. 

After my third and final child, I had lost some weight and was feeling better about my body, but I was slowly noticing some new post-childbirth issues. Remember when you would have a little “accident” when you would sneeze or cough while pregnant?  I remember my doctor instructing me to do Kegal exercises at the stop light. That would strengthen my muscles. Now I don’t want to call my doctor a liar, but seriously? I think I actually peed my pants while doing the squeezes! After a few odd side glances from the cars next to me I quit clenching in the car. Sadly, the problem still exists and I wish every day I had stock in Depends…I’d make a fortune!!

Narcolepsy or Menopause?

I know all of you young moms are tired. The constant picking up the same toys every 10 minutes, laundry, and running from practices, games, and doctor appointments. That feeling of being so tired you could fall asleep at any given moment – I remember it well. In fact, I think I am more tired now than when my kids were at home. My body has increasingly become more tired over the last year. I used to be able to stay up until my husband came home from work at 11:30pm, when we would talk and catch up on the day’s happenings with the kids and events. 

Now, I am finding my date nights with Jimmy Kimmel and my hubby are waning. I am lucky if I make it through the news.  When I get home from work I feed the dogs, make a little supper for myself, attempt a load of laundry and dishes. I longingly look over at the recliner, trying to stay away from it as long as I can.  As soon as my body nestles into the Lazy-Boy, I will start to nod off like the elderly gentlemen you see on the mall benches. 

The funny thing, as tired as I am I have a lot of nights where I can’t sleep at all! Nature can be so cruel!!

A Girl’s Best Friend

The mirror these days has been my new sworn enemy.  However, I also have some new best friends to combat that dreaded morning reflection. Spanx, hair dye, and wrinkle cream. I still don’t like what I see some days, but until my exercise regiment becomes fatihful, I must deploy the “smoke and mirrors” plan. This is why I have enlisted my growing collection of Spanx.  I have thigh length, regular, nude and black colors, and when I need to pull out the heavy artillery, I combine my back-fat bra with it!  I can’t breathe, but dang I look good!

It is what it is…

Over the years, I have finally accepted my body as it is. The biggest thing I want is to feel good. My wardrobe has stepped up the last few years and I think I look ok for a 50-year old woman. I’m not ready to go grey yet, so I keep up with coloring my hair. I am biking and trying Zumba again, and I still listen to my awesome selection of 80’s music in the car. If I can still remember the words, then I figure my memory switch is still on! I have decided my frquent trips to the bathroom, droopy breasts, and stretch marks should be looked upon as baby badges of honor!

Oh, and I am now mall walking…yes, you read that right…mall walking with my husband on Saturday nights this winter. We can usually get in a good 3 miles plus stairs.  The only sad thing is it’s usually us and about twenty middle school aged kids throwing pennies at us when we pass through the food court. 

Hey, after a couple more Saturdays, I’ll be able to buy a Starbucks for myself! 

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