post-baby body blues


July 5, 2012 by Heather

Now that I am (thankfully) on the other side of the “baby blues” mountain, there is a new mountain looming.

Before I talk about it though, I feel like I should say the thing that goes without saying but has to be said anyway so I don’t come across as an ungrateful, shallow, vain, selfish person:

Having Parker in my life is worth every extra pound, lump, and stretch mark this world has to offer.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s be honest here and discuss how badly these extra pounds, lumps, and stretch marks suck big ones.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life.  I had run my first half marathon the previous year, had stuck with the running, was into road biking, and we had joined an amazing gym in Colorado that had me addicted to yoga and spinning classes like nobody’s business.  More importantly, perhaps, I was finally at a point in my life where I was confident and comfortable with my body – flaws and all.  I felt healthy and strong.

The first trimester of my pregnancy had me feeling pretty gross.  I’m sure anyone who is or has ever been pregnant can relate.  No one else can tell that you’re pregnant, but you are gaining weight and your clothes are really snug and you just feel chunky.  Then the second trimester rolls around and your belly “pops” and suddenly your love handles and extra thigh pieces aren’t so bad.  Finally, the third trimester hits and you are as big as a house but it’s ok – you’re supposed to be that large.

Then you go through the trauma and ecstasy of bringing a new life into the world, or having it brutally cut out of you.  And all of a sudden those extra pounds aren’t so cute anymore.  In fact, they kind of gross you out.

After my c-section, I had to go back to the doctor a week later to get my staples removed.  They weighed me like they had done at every pre-natal appointment.  I knew I still had a lot of extra fluids going on in my body from the surgery, but I was expecting to see a somewhat drastic drop in my weight.  At least 7 pounds and 3 ounces, right?

A week after having Parker, I weighed the exact same as I did at my 40-week prenatal appointment.  It was all I could do to hold in my tears until we got back to the car.  I felt like an elephant riding on a hormonal roller coaster from hell.

When you are climbing the mountain that is the first month of new-mommyhood, everything feels so out of whack.  Add to that your body feeling like a foreign object, and you are just completely jacked up.  Not to mention your breasts have taken on a mind of their own and are now controlling your life.  Oh yeah, and you have to take care of this new tiny human and try to pretend like everything is hunky-dory.  It’s a real blast.  For those of you who are about to have a baby, it all gets way better after that first month.  Don’t let my honesty pessimism scare you.

Last night around midnight I was getting out of the shower.  I Q-tipped my ears, rubbed lotion everywhere, and stopped to take a good look at the ol’ post-baby bod.  Most days I try to ignore it if at all possible, hoping that our evening walks and constant breastfeeding will take their toll on these extra 25 pounds I’m carrying.

And there it was:  The Blob.  Also known as, Post-Baby Belly.  It is not entirely different from what an over-the-hill sailor’s beer belly might look like.  It droops down and jiggles at the slightest of movements.  Since I got a massive sunburn at 34 weeks, my stomach coloring now only adds to the splendor of it all.  What was once nice, tan skin on my pregnant belly has contracted and shrunk down into what can only be described as three things: 1) dry, cracked peanut butter, 2) a poorly stained slab of leather, and/or 3) an old smoker’s neck.  Add to it the leftover dark line that runs down the middle, and it basically looks like this drunk sailor is in need of a scrub down.

I pulled the sides of my stomach back to see if any significant weight loss would return my midriff to its former glory, but it kind of looks like my entire bone structure has widened out by about six inches on both hips.  Oh goody.

Fortunately, I only ended up with a few stretch marks.  Nothing too horrible, but still not great.  I already had some on my sides, so they fit in nicely.  Nothing like a long pink streak to scream out “SEXY HOT MOM!”  That’s what I say.

Before my shower last night, I decided to do a few yoga moves in the hallway.  I did a series of planks and downward dogs, which felt terrific.  Of course I just had to glance down at my stomach, mid-plank, to see it hanging low to the ground in this weird “W” shape.  “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” came to mind.

A few weeks ago I purchased a giant pair of stark-white control top panties.  And I mean control top.  They don’t mess around.  In fact, they control so much that I can only really stand to wear them for a maximum of 4 hours.  But they do a wonderful job of smoothing things out and holding it all in.  The real goal, though, is minimal jiggle.  That is what really drives me nuts.  And my new briefs-of-steel keep jiggling out of the picture – at least for 4 blessed hours.

So if you happen to see me out and about, looking all firm and taut, don’t be fooled.  It’s the underwear.  And my Jergen’s Firming Lotion, duh.




7 thoughts on “post-baby body blues

  1. Sarah says:

    Oh sweets, I know this is SUCH a hard thing to get used to. I had to follow the mantra of “9 months on, 9 months off” and that included any extra jiggle, even if all the weight was back to normal. First of all, you are SO beautiful. In fact, you were in my dreams last night. We were having a great time with our little boys…writing this is great and I’m so glad that you’re honest with yourself and your readers. I still pack some jiggle in my trunk and honestly, I like it now! So hang in there and even after two months, six months and so on, it keeps getting better. 🙂

  2. Katherine says:

    I always enjoy your honesty! It is a gift! I noticed that it took my body about a year to feel normal after both of my c-sections. It does get much better though. The scar fades a ton, and breastfeeding definitely helps. Oh, and that year will go by super fast! I just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your blog.

  3. Kimberly Markham says:

    When you try to pretend everything is hunky-dory, the only person who is fooled is you! Let yourself breathe and adjust to the new rhythm. It was, and is, so hard for me to allow myself to take twice as much time to do half as much work. There will be times when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, but that’s ALWAYS right before you find out you don’t have a clue! 🙂 I don’t say this to get you down, but hoping you will avoid the crash and burn cycle most new Mom’s go through before they find their new pace. Allow yourself to be slow, and try to enjoy it. Or you will have your husband sitting on you to try to prevent you from doing “just one more thing…”

  4. Angie B says:

    Thanks for coming out and telling it how it is and speaking like a woman thinks! I stumbled upon this while researching why I have all this fat on my low back and middle area when I’m 9 weeks and only have gained 2 lbs. I’m petite, but not anorexic, but have prided myself in the running and other healthy activities I do very consistently- DID until ~ 6 weeks ago. Afraid of MC I cut back but it’s crazy to feel u are losing yourself and then you feel guilty for thinking you are vain… Arg!! Thank you for helping me feel more normal!!!

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