May 19, 2017

Mind & Body 4 Months Postpartum

This is a vulnerable post. This is where I'm going to talk about what my postpartum journey has been like. It's raw, honest and real. Sometimes I don't think this part of pregnancy and motherhood is talked about enough. And with social media nowadays, it's mostly the pretty and curated that is shared. Not that I don't too share that, or enjoy seeing those photos in my feed, I just think it's important to recognize and appreciate all aspects of the postpartum process, not just the beautiful baby that is the result of one's pregnancy.
Mind and Body at 4 months postpartum
I don't often talk about my physical appearance. I've never publicly shown "before and after" photos. While I don't completely refrain from posting photos of myself, I don't like to draw attention to my body either. But I try to remember where I've come from and where my journey is taking me.

Pregnancy is hard on your body. You grow and change shape, all while nourishing a little human being inside of you for ten months. Just when you think your belly cannot possibly get any bigger, it does. Everything you do, including breathing, becomes uncomfortable and it's hard to imagine that you will ever feel "normal" again.

But then one day, that little baby finally decides to vacate it's premises and all of a sudden you're not pregnant anymore. It's a really surreal feeling to go from pregnant one minute, to not pregnant the next. Your breasts are larger than ever, and mostly likely becoming engorged. Your belly, while flatter than you're used to, still resembles something like a 6 month belly bump, except it's soft and lumpy, not nice and round. Your muscles are soft and you will experience uterine contractions that rival any menstrual cramp you've ever had. Going poop will be a terrifying experience for the first several days. And you will bleed enough over the next few weeks to make you think you are making up for ten months of no periods.

And if you've had a c-section, like I did, then you can add healing of your incision, numbness and pain to the list. And don't forget that you can't pick up anything over 15 pounds, or drive, for the next 6 weeks.
Mind and Body Post Partum
My recovery this time around was a completely different experience than my first c-section. My pain was better managed, my milk came in right away, and my bowels woke up much quicker. I was up walking with assistance less than 12 hours after my surgery. I felt 100x better than I did after my first delivery and I was home 3 days later. I haven't experienced any baby blues this time around and I have more energy and motivation as well. Mentally, I feel fantastic.

Around 7 weeks postpartum, I remember thinking that the incisional pain/tingling/numbness was never going to go away. I was still periodically getting weird twinges and was very aware of my incision. But then, just like that, I woke up one morning and all those weird physical feelings were gone. It was also around this time that I finally felt ready to embark on my postpartum fitness journey, and at 8 weeks postpartum, I was cleared to resume all regular activities and exercise. But being cleared and actually resuming an active lifestyle are two different things. I've dabbled in the odd workout, but I've been unable to stick to any sort of routine.
an honest reflection on the postpartum process
I'm not happy with what I see when I look in the mirror. I am beyond happy with what my body has provided me with - another child - and I marvel at the true miracle of childbirth and I will always be thankful and grateful for what my body has given me, but no, I'm not happy with the extra 25 pounds I'm carrying, I'm not happy that nothing in my closet fits, that maternity clothes are more comfortable than regular clothes, that my breasts are larger than they ever have been, and that I'm self-concisous of the extra rolls around my mid-section.

I truly believe you can love your body but also not like what you see. And I'm also realistic. I know I just had a baby. I know it took ten months to grow and nurture my daughter in utero. I know I'm beyond lucky that breastfeeding is easy for me. And I know that it takes kindness, patience and time to get my body back to a place I want it to be at. But it's also hard not to want it "right now!". And I'm also finding it hard to motivate myself to work on that better version of myself. Taking care of a toddler and a small baby is exhausting. I'm not in a place where I want to get up early to workout and I definitely don't want to in the evenings. And during the day, well, I'm just trying to keep everyone alive and fed.

I also know that this is just the season of life for me right now. My baby won't always be as needy, my son will soon start pre-school, I will get more sleep at night, my breasts will change as the demand for my milk changes, and I will figure out a way, hopefully, to somewhat balance motherhood and the need for self-care. Because my babies are worth it. Because I'm worth it.
postpartum an honest discussion


*I took these pictures 2 months ago when I was 10 weeks post partum, but I'm pretty sure I look the same today.


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