During my pregnancy, I gained 45 pounds. On my 125lb frame, that was a lot of weight. Granted, I had a pretty big baby, but once I had Sam, I had quite a bit of weight to lose.
All my life, I’ve always been skinny. Too skinny. Getting bigger during my pregnancy, I realized how much better I felt, with a little more meat on my bones. So when I gave birth, I told myself that I wanted to lose most of the weight, just not all of it.
Because I had a very difficult birth, I couldn’t do anything for almost of 5 months after Sam came. For the best of 2 months, I could barely sit down, let alone exercise. So coming up with a workout or weight loss plan was pretty challenging.
In the beginning, I started out slow. When soring came and Sam was 5 months old, I started taking a walk with him around the neighbourood every day for 45 minutes. After a trip to France where I swam in my parents’ pool a bit, I realized I was well enough to step it up. At that point, Sam was on a pretty rigourous napping schedule. Every morning, around 9:30 a.m., I would put him down for an hour or two. That was my designated workout time. Every day of the week, I ran. I started at 15 minutes. Then 30. And by the time I went back to work, 10 months postpartum I was running for an hour straight. I took it one day at a time, and was really happy with my progress. Of course, after I went back to work, I stopped running completely, but that is a story for another day.
In terms of a diet, I didn’t do anything drastic. Everything in moderation. I stopped snacking between meals, cut out desert, except for yogourt and fruit. That was it. I don’t really believe in drastic dieting. I think that all you need is to eat a good diet and exercise.
In the end, I lost 35 pounds. I’m still a bit bigger than I used to be, I still have a stomach pouch, but I’m happy with my weight, and comfortable with myself and my body for the first time in a long time. In the end, that was the most important thing for me. Weight is just a number, it’s how you feel about yourself that matters.
A few days ago, I went to a party for a friend’s birthday. I was talking to two of my close friends (one pregnant, one not) and somehow, we got on the subject of having babies. More specifically, what happens to your body when you have a baby. Even more specifically, what happens to you downstairs area when you have a difficult birth experience like I did (i.e. pushing for 4 hours, getting forceps used on you, and all of what that entails). They asked questions, I obliged with real answers.
Now, I won’t go into any details here, because it’s not pretty. I’ll just say that my non-pregnant friend got faint, hearing what happened to my ooh-ah (woo-ah? oo-aah? I’m not used to talking about my vagina is such a public way, you’ll have to excuse me) when I had my dear, beautiful, large-headed, 8-pounder son. As I said, it wasn’t pretty.
Later on, that conversation really made me think about the whole “giving birth” experience. I realized how we, as women, are uninformed about what really happens to your body. I mean, we go to prenatal classes, we are told about the whole process, the contracting, the pushing. We are told about how they care for the baby at the hospital. We are told how we’ll take care of that baby when he comes home (to a degree). But no one tells you about you. Or at least no one told me.
When I was in the hospital for 36 hours after having Sam, I was amazed at the extent to which the staff checked on the welfare of the baby (he was great, by the way) compared to how little anyone cared about how me, as the mother with pretty traumatic injuries, was doing. It’s all about the baby. I left that hospital not knowing in the slightest about the intense pain I was to feel every time I sat down for the next 6 weeks, about the risk of infection. I had no idea about how I would come to almost resent my child every time he asked to be fed, because sitting down would just be too damn painful. I had no idea about the incontinence that would become part of my life for months on end. I had no idea about the emotional scarring, the sense of shame, and everything else that came alongside the physical pain.
And you know what? Even though I know having all that information would have scared the hell out of me before living it (like it did my friend), I still wish someone had told me. I wish I had been prepared. I wish I had know going into this that other women had lived this and felt the same. Because I know now I was in no way the only one to live through this. And I know women have had it far worse than I did.
I still wish I’d known. It may have gone exactly the same way. But at least I would have been informed.
Of course in the end, I got this:
All worth it, wouldn’t you say?