Writing about my life in regards to my son is easy and difficult all at the same time. The words come easy, so it makes for a quick post, and it helps me to gain perspective on things to put everything down on (virtual) paper. But then the emotions flood in, and it hurts a little…sometimes a lot. I won’t shy away from it, though. I’ve decided I will write about all parts of life, and I feel like, today, this is my story.
The doctors first discovered something was not quite right after our first ultrasound. My belly was bigger than it was supposed to be at 17 weeks, so my midwife thought maybe I had been given the wrong due date and wanted an ultrasound to measure baby’s growth. It wasn’t long after, that we were given the diagnosis and told that our son would miscarry at or before 20 weeks. He didn’t, but that’s a story for another day.
As my pregnancy progressed, I was getting very big very quickly. When you are pregnant, your belly is measured in centimeters, usually at each appointment. For me, that was each week. Most people gain an average of one centimeter per week. Due to his condition, Leeland couldn’t regulate my amniotic fluid, and it was just accumulating more and more each day.
In a matter of three weeks, my belly grew what it normally would in three months! It is only by the grace of God that I am not just one giant stretch mark. He knew I couldn’t handle all of that, too.
As I look back at some of my pregnancy pictures, my jaw drops. I can’t believe more people didn’t gawk at me everywhere I went. I was enormous!
When people tell you about pregnancy, they usually skip out on all the awful parts like peeing your pants and having to eat breakfast twice because you threw it up the first time because your husband made you laugh too hard. Pregnancy is beautiful and strange and exciting…and kinda awful.
I had never in all my life struggled with body image. I knew my thighs could be smaller if I compared myself to other women, but I am far too practical to care about my thighs. I was a runner, and I knew that my thighs were the result of that. I wasn’t about to try to sacrifice that practicality of big thighs just to have twigs.
I have a gap in my teeth. It’s never bothered me. I’m just over 5’2,” and it’s fine; I can fit into smaller spaces if I ever had to hide from someone! And I definitely didn’t mind my 6 pack abs that rivaled every guy’s in my high school and even into college. I liked the way I looked; I liked all of the things I could do.
Then I got pregnant. I thought I looked adorable when I was pregnant, but I didn’t look forward to being unpregnant. Now things are different when, at the end of your pregnancy, you don’t have a baby in your arms to show for it, but I think a lot of this will still be relatable.
I got abnormally huge – my belly measured 43cm the day before I went into labor, just shy of 32 weeks – but any time your belly stretches for a prolonged period of time, it will do a number on your body.
I remember the first time I tried to do an ab workout. Ugh. It was a nightmare. We have one of those little ab wheels that has a handle on either side. You are supposed to be on your knees, holding the handles, while you extend your arms until you’re flat on your belly. Then, using your abs, pull yourself back to the kneeling position. Before I was pregnant, I could do 20 of those, easily. Post baby? I couldn’t even develop enough tension in may abs to MOVE. At all. It was like my muscles had disconnected, and knowing how practical I am, it was terribly upsetting.
Now over a year later, I can use the ab wheel, but back then? No one told me how difficult it would be to strengthen a belly that had been stretched to the max and separated down the middle.
Since pregnancy, I have sacral pain on a regular basis. Thankfully, I have the best chiropractor in the world, and we are beginning to make progress.
A month after I delivered our son, I had to have a D&C. There have been residual complications ever since.
Today, I weigh 25lbs more than I did before I got pregnant. Pregnancy isn’t all to blame, but I didn’t get a chance to breastfeed and jumpstart my body getting back to its old self. I know I play a huge role in this, and I’m working on it. But it is hard to know what I used to look like, the things I used to be able to do and then see where I am today. It’s discouraging.
I know I am not the only one who has struggled with a post baby body – or even a post Thanksgiving body for that matter. My biggest frustration is the things I used to be able to do, and now can’t because of my current level of fitness. Yes, I want to feel beautiful, but more than anything, I want to be able to run 5 miles if I want to!
I have good days, when I look at myself and say, “Wow! I am looking good today!” I get a glimpse of that old self that I liked so much, and see light at the end of the tunnel. And then there are days I say, “Ugh. I really hate this new body of mine and all the limitations and pain it brings with it.” I don’t like those days. But as I continue to work at it, I hope they happen less and less.
Until then, I’m looking for a buddy to hold me accountable to working out at least 5 days a week. Any takers???? 🙂