In what comes as news to exactly no one, pregnancy messes with your body, big time. I've read so many pregnancy advice blogs that I can't even backtrack or credit where I obtained this philosophy, but I noticed that there seems to be a common, resounding theme that "it takes nine months to get that way, so expect it to take at least another nine months to get back".
Ever since my college days, I've struggled with weight - and shortly before becoming pregnant I had actually made some significant strides
in a direction that pleased me. Many of the changes I made
(like avoiding diet soda and exercising frequently) were well-timed, as I became pregnant shortly after adopting those new practices. But then my belly started to grow inversely to my lung capacity, and by the end of the second trimester I would become out of breath simply from climbing a flight of stairs, so exercise got put on the back burner. And really, aside from carrying that adorable, cooing 16-pound weight around with me, I haven't brought exercise back into the equation yet.
What seems most interesting to me is that pregnancy was maybe the first time in quite a while that I felt good
about how I looked. The stretchy clothes probably helped, but to me, my body was finally doing what it was supposed to do and I didn't feel guilty or ashamed of what size I became. My size felt purposeful
- perhaps the most significant difference - and pregnancy allowed me to feel a bit of the "normal" I'm not used to enjoying. Weight gain? Awesome! Stretchy clothing? You bet! People often remark on your body when you're pregnant (which, in itself, can be a good or bad thing), and for a change, I could accept those compliments as geniune and true. Why yes, I do
look gorgeous today. My belly; I know! Isn't it great?
But once that little fluffy-tailed Rabbit left the premises, that purposefulness left with her. My stomach deflated like a tiger-striped balloon, if you will, and the process of regaining my abdominal strength after a c-section was hard, and continues to be.
I'm now five months post-pregnancy and wondering how in the world I'm going to get back anywhere close to where I was, health and body-wise. (Is it normal to take much longer than nine months to "get back"? Is there really even any "getting back", or just "getting close"?) The surgery left a part of my stomach right above the incision site numb to the touch; advice told me that feeling would come back, but it hasn't fully, and I'm wondering if it ever will. For days, and even weeks, after my surgery even sitting up out of bed was a struggle, as my stomach muscles sloooowly mended themselves - I had to press myself up with my arms to a sitting position, because my stomach couldn't help me do it. Laying on my stomach feels uncomfortable still in a way that causes me to avoid doing it. Getting up from a sitting position on the floor is something to see (please don't watch, ever). Things just aren't back to where they should be, yet.
Part of me thinks this should be expected, and that I should be patient and forgiving of myself - you made a friggin' person, for crying out loud!
But there's another part - the one who watches those around her seem to bounce back so quickly, the one who refuses to buy all new pants, but can't feel good about still having to wear some maternity clothes, the one who wonders, is this just how I'm going to look, now?
- that's frustrated and knows that this extra weight and inactivity are contributing in some way to the lackluster results in my diabetes data, too.
I think I'm starting to feel what a few people experience as it relates to the DOC: they come in with a not-the-norm view, and they sometimes find that the sharing social media promotes becomes a negative instead of a positive - a reminder, each time they see a post, of how different they are, instead of hearing that "me too" that we all long for. Instead of feeling happy for my friends and their successes in bouncing back post-baby, I find myself feeling... resentful. It makes no sense, and I don't want to feel that way, but I seem to do so anyway.
And here's the rub: every time I see someone talk about what's working for them in terms of attaining a healthy weight, I feel myself push away. I feel almost angry that this is so hard for me when others seem to find it so easy, yet I don't seem open to new ideas on how to achieve anything there.
I may not yet know how resolution will develop here - getting things done for myself with baby in tow proves a challenge - but I know that it's a place I need to focus on, and soon. I can't afford to let the negativity mope around much longer.