Pregnancy is a total life changing experience. Your hormones go haywire, your organs move tighter together to make room for your expanding uterus, your breasts grow and change, you become swollen, your skin stretches, your heart beats 25% faster than normal because you have more blood circulating… You completely change during pregnancy. After pregnancy, it gets even crazier. Your hormones go into a complete whirlwind of changes, you bleed for about a month, you take time to recover from birth whether you delivered naturally or had a c-section, you acquire lovely stretch marks, and some women go through diastasis recti, an abdominal separation that may require surgery.
What also changes, I found, was attitude. After having my girls, my “I don’t care, I do what I have to do and I don’t need your opinion” button got switched on and stuck. I had a really bad attitude for a while over people telling me what I should do with the girls or over being criticized on what I did chose to do or control when it came to them. While my attitude has gotten a little better, I still don’t care for criticism over what I do, don’t do, and ask to be done or not done with or while with the babies. My response to that is that I’m the mom, it’s my way or the highway, I don’t care who you are. But I have become a little nicer about putting it into words.
But the biggest change was external. Prior to getting pregnant, I had lost a lot of weight. I was at a nice 133lbs, with toned arms and an almost-flat belly. After going through 28 weeks of twin pregnancy, I had gained 75lbs, my stomach looks like it was attacked by a tiger, and my c-section pouch has proven to be difficult to get rid of. I’ve been told it takes about a year to lose any kind of baby weight, and 8 months postpartum I’ve lost 42lbs of it. I still have 33lbs to lose and that has been more difficult than it should be. I’ve tried a low-carb diet, which worked extremely well pre-pregnancy but not so much after. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for the last few months and, though some weight has come off, I’ve reached an almost 2 month plateau. I worked out for two months straight but ever since going back to work, it’s been really hard finding time and energy to continue, though I am literally walking all day at work. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’ll probably take me a long time to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight. As a short woman (4’11”, to be exact), having twins completely screwed up my body. It was hard looking in the mirror for the first couple of months postpartum, and I avoided taking pictures of myself when I went to the NICU to see the girls. I would pull my shirt above my stomach and trace my sudden and almost infinite stretch marks, feeling sad about my stomach stretching out so much during my pregnancy. I’m a little over the stretch marks now, and I’ve accepted that part of motherhood (and being a mother of twins) is having to sacrifice your looks to bring one baby (or two or more) into the world.
Me at 133lbs and me at 26 weeks pregnant. I made it to 28 weeks (yes, that’s me cosplaying as Lara Croft. I’m a huge geek if you haven’t noticed yet).
You may think that sounds dramatic, but it’s very logical. With the pressure of looking perfect for your significant other, to make sure you look good so people won’t size you up or judge you, and with the obnoxious expectations that our general population has for a woman’s body, it’s all very normal to feel like you’re not pretty anymore. I’m super guilty of feeling like that and, though at times I may think it’s the hard truth, it’s not. Being a mom makes me beautiful. The way my husband loves me reflects upon me, and I glow. When I’m out and about with my girls, in my one and only LuLaRoe leggings or sweats, hair in an atrocious bun, bags under my eyes, and baby drool all over my shirt, I’m still beautiful. Beauty is kind of weird like that. Heh, calling myself beautiful is pretty weird. I’ve always had a really low self-esteem, so my postpartum body has taken a toll on my mental image of myself, but it’s definitely getting better (thank you, mandatory make up for work).
Allowing yourself to go through these feelings is very important. It’s all part of this life changing experience. It’s also all about how you face the facts, and what you do to change it if it bothers you so. Sure, be a little bummed out you won’t be able to wear a bikini for a while (or ever again for me), but don’t wallow in it. So many more things are so much more important now that I am a mom of two absolutely gorgeous babies, this is now on the back of my mind. I do take care of myself and watch what I eat, how I eat it, and when I eat it. I’m just not going to be obsessing over something that will absolutely not change overnight.
I should probably cut back on the wine, though. I do hear that it can get in the way of weight loss. Probably. Maybe. Nah. *sips glass of wine*