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Monday, January 12, 2015

I Just Had A Baby

I wanted to put it out there because I know I'm not the only one...

My jeans don't fit. Not even my "fat pants".

I know, there's an article circling the internet right now that is all about how "you just had a baby" and how you should give yourself a brake, but I don't want to feel like that. I want my life back. I want normalcy, I want out of those maternity pants, I want my almost perfect daughter to stop puking all over everything, and I want to have an outing with friends, or heck, I'd settle for a good, timely texting conversation or a Facetime with friends. I want to eat a meal that I can cook instead of grabbing something on the go in between juggling three kids and nursing. I'd love to go on a hike or to the gym. I'd love to run, and I hate running. I'd love to have pants that fit, really, that's what I want the most. 

 I hate pulling up on the nylon that should be covering a pregnant belly but instead is covering a nice little post baby pooch, but the battle is pointless as they don't stay up because my baby belly is gone and my hips are starting to move again, and, they don't look cute anymore.

But at the same time I'm conflicted. I hate that there is pressure on women to lose all their baby weight by the time you are deemed "recovered" by a doctor. Did you know it takes about two years for your uterus to shrink back down? And I whole-heartedly agree with that article, I had a freeking baby! Give me a break, in every aspect of my life, I need it! 

Eight weeks ago, I had a baby via unplanned, emergency c-section.  I also packed up an entire house while parenting three kids and moved across the country.  We had Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a whirlwind family vacation, just the five of us. I also said, "see ya later" to my husband because he'll be working away from us for a very long time, and I moved in with my parents. My life has been everything but the calm, quiet, baby snuggling, recovery that we all had with our first child. And since my life has been everything but relaxing, my mind is telling me to get back to normal life, but my body isn't ready. I've been dying to get back into my size 4s and my all-time healthiest point in my life just prior to becoming pregnant with my daughter. And now, as I hold my baby after a somewhat excruciating but horribly short first workout, I want to eat chocolate.

This all started when we were at our hotel on our family vacation, my daughter has horrible reflux and every time after she eats, she burps and pukes for about an hour. Every time. While the boys were at the pool, I was bouncing Sweetie and burping her with all my energy. I happened to bounce her in front of a mirror. Up until this point, I thought I looked pretty good. In fact, I thought, "heck, I can be happy with this body! Some women are this size or bigger after three kids, and I'm only at 7 weeks post baby!" My husband thought I was sexy, I thought I was sexy, but for some reason, at that moment, I saw a different side of my body as I struggled to hold, burp, and pull up those damn maternity pants. So after she was calm and puke free, I went to get the regular "fat" jeans I brought on the trip. I put them on, and while they fit nicely in the legs, they were too tight for my waist. Actually, that's not totally true. I could button them, but I was left in such discomfort that I had to take them off immediately.

A few days later I tried to retire the maternity pants again and just wear regular clothes that included a nursing friendly shirt instead of a nursing shirt. It lasted 20 minutes. The pants hurt my incision and made my belly too constricted to make it through baby bouncing, playing cars and wrangling children. So I stood there, in front of a full length mirror in my underwear as my husband's eyes lit up and he gave me the nod. It was hard to take him seriously, as I just took off my "fat pants" because I was too fat for them. I placed my hands on my stretch marks; number three did a number on me. More stretch marks this time and a fancy new horizontal scar to add to my Mom badges. I'm not embarrassed by the stretch marks, or the scar. In fact, I love them, they tell the story of the most important aspects of my life. I earned them and wouldn't trade them or try to hide them,  I just wished my pants would fit and it was socially acceptable to have a belly after baby.

So tonight, since I've reached the magical 8 week post c-section mark and I am allowed to resume normal activity and life, after I put the boys to bed and got the baby comfortably asleep, I did what would be to me a simple work out, only it wasn't simple. My arms were weak and I couldn't do "boy" push ups, my abs were pulling and stretching as I did sit-ups and crunches. I laughed at myself after I caught my reflection in the window, my giant boobs flopped around like a spoof cheerleader film and they ached as I did jumping jacks. It's both funny and depressing at the same time.

After I fumbled through that workout, I picked up a fussy baby, refilled my water bottle and successfully avoided the cabinet with the chocolate. Then I sat down, and gave her a long kiss on top of her head. That new baby smell is so intoxicating. Then I started to write. I realized that exercise is important to me so that's why I felt like I needed to do it today. I missed it, it was my favorite time of the week when I could escape my crazy children and get out the stress of the day in a good sweat session. I missed that. But I realized that my "depression" or perhaps anxiety is not because I'm fat.  I'm actually happy with the way my body is coming along and I cut myself some slack because I did just have a baby 8 weeks ago and dammit, I do look good.

No, this anxiety is because I hate my maternity pants and my fat pants, and, I'm afraid to go to the store to get pants two sizes from my ideal size and one size larger than what I own because I hate shopping post baby. Just like that article suggests, there's nothing more depressing than going to the mall when you have to time it around a feeding, lugging your children, or with a nursing newborn strapped to your body as you try to find something cute and trendy when we really all know that I'll be covered in spit up and boogers before I even get home. There isn't anything more annoying when the younger-than-you-kidless employee stares at you blankly after she asks you if there is anything she can help with when you try to describe your needs in pants and a shirt that leaves your incision free from pressure and your boobs accessible. And, there isn't anything more horrifying than trying on jeans. It's horrible when your body hasn't gone through changes and it's about a million times worse when your body has.

Part of me wants to workout for hours on end so I can fit into those "fat pants", and avoid the store. The other part of me wants to throw in the towel, eat the WHOLE cabinet full of chocolate and fill those maternity pants right back up. Since there's a war on leggings and I'll have to leave the house eventually, I'll have to face my fear and hit up a store. Only this time, I'll do it confidently. I have to. I have a daughter now. 

I'll face the reality that I've given up the glory days and have traded it in for something better. I need to teach her, even though she's only 8 weeks old, that I am comfortable in my body and who I am. I need her to know that I am proud of the changes and hardships my body has gone through so I could become a mother. And this isn't just about her, it's about her brothers too. They see me naked, they've noticed the scar and know why I have it. They need to know that I'm not embarrassed or shy because my body doesn't look smooth like it used to. They need to see that I am comfortable and happy in my body so that they can learn to respect all body types. They should see their dad admire me and think that I am beautiful so that they can learn that they need to be supportive and loving to their partners as changes come to them and their bodies. And because they are observing everything, they need to know that it's OK to like your body, no matter how it looks, the don't need to see me pinch the pooch or get stressed out about what clothes I'm going to wear. Heck, they wear shorts, a sports jacket with no shirt under it, a tie and slippers and call it golden. If they can do that, I can wear and buy jeans that fit, even though they are larger than I want them to be. If they can be so confident, then so can I.

And I need to do it for me. Yes, I have a million reasons why I'm not a cross-fit poster model just a mere 8 weeks after my daughter was born, but those reasons are so much more important. Right now, I need to learn how to care for the three of them, maintain a schedule and make sure we all eat. I have to juggle work, and their school, and laundry, god there's a lot of laundry. But each day, the boys see me do a little workout and they join me. I need to rebuild the confidence in myself as I battle hormones and sleep deprivation. I need to start to make time for myself again as I've been selfless for too many months. And, I need to fight the stereotypes to show that women do have to wear "fat pants" or even a size bigger than their "fat pants" because, you see, I just had a baby.