I figure this is common enough as a mothering-related experience (and indeed, a common female experience, period, parity aside, but that's another topic, what with all the social context such a topic requires) that it might be useful or interesting to readers on some level, especially those who are in a similar place themselves, or who have been there, or soon will be. There's even a breastfeeding-specific point I want to make, so read on!
In PhD in Parenting's original post, she said, "I want to lose weight. I want to do it for all of the right reasons and some of the wrong ones. But mostly I’m doing it because I want to feel like myself again." I think this was simply and honestly and beautifully put. Much of what follows is an elaboration upon the comment I wrote.
Count me in. You phrased it exactly as I have: I want to feel like MYSELF again.
Lily is 20 months now and I STILL haven’t lost all the baby weight! Now, I gained a whopping 65-70 pounds during my pregnancy – I was forbidden exercise due to my placenta previa. This is a story I'll have to tell here one day; I have a lot to say about my experience of parallel care with a mainstream medical practice as compared to the care I got from my home birth CPMs. Anyway, from week 18 all the way up to my last ultrasound at week 34, I was on strict pelvic rest (nothing in the vagina at all, and no sexual activity of any kind) and was warned against anything but the gentlest prenatal yoga. As most of you know, I went on to have a wonderful home birth, but as a formerly extremely active person, this had a huge impact on my weight.
Then, after Lily's birth, we had unforeseen challenges with nursing, which took up a tremendous amount of time and energy (totally worth it in every way, I'm certainly not saying otherwise), and I was living alone about 75% of the time, as Aaron was only able to commute to stay with us for a week or so every month. So, yeah, solo baby care, compete with pumping every 3 hours around the clock no matter what, including the wee hours? Exercise just did not make it to the priority list at all, much less the top of it, aside from an occasional walk. What can I say? What's done is done.
Enough explanation/excusing myself. The situation today: I’ve lost about 50, net total (including a brief period of gaining some back during a complicated period of what might, in retrospect, have been some minor postpartum depression - yet another thing to post about in the future), but still have 25 left to go, since I was already 5-10 pounds above my healthiest weight when I got pregnant. But even with all those factors, you'd think by now I'd be back to normal or at least close to it, already.
I’m still nursing, but with less overall output – you know how it goes with a toddler. It’s funny, I’ve been kind of reluctant to talk about it publicly because one of the many great benefits of breastfeeding absolutely is weight loss – so if I’m still at it, why are these particular pounds so stubborn? Well, I recently developed a theory, based solely on myself and what I’ve observed in friends and many online anecdotes: I think perhaps breastfeeding helps you lose the weight you were SUPPOSED to gain in pregnancy, i.e. 25-35 pounds-ish, or whatever it was for your particular frame and body type – I actually did drop 25 pounds extremely quickly. But then, any additional, excess weight you packed on? You’re on your own. And if you gain weight back?! God help you.
Totally just my theory. It makes me feel better, anyway.
SO. I’m restarting the 30 Day Shred, and hitting Zumba at the Y at least 3 days a week, and hopefully power yoga 2-3 times as well. I would attend yoga classes daily if I could afford it and work out the child care - I know many people cultivate amazing home practices, and I admire that deeply, but I thrive on the classroom and the relationship with the teacher. I'm sure my former life as a dancer has much to do with that. Routine is also always key for me - I need to keep a regular schedule of classes or otherwise scheduled workouts. As far as the food end of it goes, after a lifetime of experimentation (see above re: former life as dancer), I know myself well enough to know that carbs are my nemesis, and thus a modified South Beach-ish approach (absolutely NOT Atkins), with lots and lots of vegetables, is the most effective way for me to go. An aside: Kalyn's Kitchen is a great resource for low-carb dieters and for foodies in general - amazing low glycemic & South Beach -friendly recipes for food lovers of all kinds.
Okay, I feel renewed and fortified in my ambitions. By Lily's second birthday on April 14th, I WILL feel like myself again. Realistically, I'll still have 5-10 pounds to go, but I'll be almost there. And then by June? Dare I commit to posting a bathing suit shot here? Yes I do.
I've thrown up a ticker on my side bar - I used my original starting weight, to remind myself of how far I've come already. The little scale marks where I'm at today, beginning anew. Annie is much braver than I, sharing bathing suit shots, but I'll still pony up a humbling picture or two. Here's a real "before" shot, visiting LA when I was, unbeknownst to me, exactly one week pregnant. And hey, it's at the beach, if not suited up:
And good grief, here I am about 36 weeks later:
I KNOW. Gah. (Cute kiddo, though, eh? Daughter of one of my best friends.)
Here I am today, basically, as of a few weeks ago:
I know you can't see much of the body - I purposely don't pose for many shots were you can. I cal always tell where I'm at by my face, though. Here's one where, even if it's not a great pic in general, you can see more bod, sling-draping and weird position aside:
Stay tuned for the "After" shot.
(Uh, it might be awhile.)