Body Image. Such a hard topic for so many women. I didn’t realize how much my body would change with pregnancy and how afterwards it wouldn’t just jump back to what it used to be. I mean yes there are women who are blessed with getting back their pre-pregnancy body right away but most of us aren’t so lucky. I was ignorant to think that I would jump back into shape by breastfeeding. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. I was pretty fit before I got pregnant. I went to the gym all the time. When I got pregnant I was gifted with “morning sickness” except I had it throughout the whole day. Thank you hormones! Thankfully it was my 5th term in school (that’s when we were done with all of the tremendously hard science classes where the teachers tried drowning the weak-I made it!), and the easier term (kinda). I slept for 14 hours each day. I think I did my homework in my sleep. Anyways I did not have anytime what-so-ever to exercise. BIG MISTAKE! You know the images of celebrities popping a baby and then looking amazing? You see it doesn’t work that way for everyone.
Many claim that breastfeeding helps you loose weight and I applaud the women that are able to loose all their weight with breastfeeding, but honestly it does not work for everyone. I found out that the hard way. I know I’m not the only one like that because I heard other moms say they gained weight instead. True story. It’s a great way to get women to breastfeed but women should not count on it. There are things that have to happen postpartum that will help guide you to loose the weight. I wish someone took my hand and helped me.
I was too busy trying to finish Chiropractic school, breastfeed in the middle of classes (and argue with teachers not to count me absent because I needed to pump), and too busy being harassed by some of my teachers verbally. Looking back I can definitely say that it was a tough postpartum journey for me! The stress of leaving my newborn child with strangers who we thought were good nannies, but weren’t, also added incredible hardship (but that’s a story for another day). Looking back I really wish I could have put all the stress to the side and just had a calm, relaxing postpartum experience. Sometimes I wish I could rewind and re-live it all again just so I could stand up to those teachers that made my life hell, fire those nannies right away that neglected my newborn son, and just scream/cry for help. I obviously didn’t. The cry comes two years later when I finally have time for myself.
I am finally where I want to be. Specializing in what I love to do. Nothing is perfect of course and there is room for many changes of course but my husband gave me a wake up call the other day. My sweet husband looked at me while I was stressing over nonsense and said, “you have the time to take care of yourself, and only yourself now.” It was true. These past two years I put myself last. I forgot about myself and put everyone else first. I have finally reached the time where it can be all about me and I can start my self-healing journey. As a mom you need to remember to concentrate not only on your family, but on yourself as well. It is important for you to grow as an individual and then grow as a family. Now I understand my psychology teacher when he asked us in class one day back in Chiropractic school term 8 (when my little one was 4 months), who should be valued first in the family. The options were family as a whole, the baby, the relationship of the parents, or the parents as individuals? I chose baby. I was a new mom. What do you expect? Baby was my number one. Everything revolved around him and it still does but differently. I don’t have to worry that I have to rush home on a 5 minute break to breastfeed him. He is growing up so fast and doing a lot of things on his own. I realize that YOU as a MOM have to take care of yourself first. A happy Mom is a healthy Mom, and a happy/healthy Mom makes a happy/healthy family. There are so many things that I would have done during postpartum that no one told me about but now is my chance to inform other moms.
10 POSTPARTUM TIPS THAT I WISH I KNEW BACK THEN:
1. Breastfeeding MAY OR MAY NOT help you loose weight. Do it but don’t count on it. (I did….ergghhhh WRONG!)
2. You get super hungry when breastfeeding, at least I did. They say you need more calories when breastfeeding, BUT HEALTHY Calories!
3. I don’t care if you are a stay-at-home mom or a busy working (or going to school full time mom)- you will NOT have time to make healthy food throughout the day. Prep it the night before or over the weekend when your significant other can help. Cut veggies, fruits up so they can be easily accessible throughout the day. Other great snacks are granola bars, yogurt (there are non-dairy options as well), nuts, and dried fruit.
4. For quick dinners: invest in a steamer for veggies (can be used for baby later) because it only takes 2 minutes to wash the veggies and turn it on, the rest is all up to the steamer and they are ready in 20 minutes! Crockpots and pressure cookers are awesome as well. I loved using a table top grill to make some chicken.
5. Stock up on some frozen meals like ravioli from Costco or steamed rice from Trader Joes. They also have orange chicken to go with the rice which is one of my favorite fast dinners when there’s no time for cooking. This is better than stopping by fast food places! TRUST me I know. I ate at Corner Bakery and Panera Bread for most of my pregnancy and then postpartum (they were close to school and fast). Not a good idea.
6. Deny those cravings! It’s okay to satisfy them during pregnancy, not so much during postpartum.
7. EXERCISE. Find that time. Do it! And if you are breastfeeding it is a myth not to exercise. As long as you are cleared by the doctor then you are solid to start. I was told not to do it because either my milk will taste sour or I will loose all of my supply. Take it easy and do it. Dedicate at least half an hour to yourself a day. You can also go for nice, long walks with the baby in the stroller. Fresh air is good for the baby and you!
8. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water!
9. Get adjusted by a Chiropractor. My back was killing me when I was breastfeeding. I went to get massages but relief came and then went. Getting regular adjustments is the only thing that helped. If you are not breastfeeding, still get adjusted! Did you know that babies can get super heavy? I am still carrying my 31 pounds of joy and I really feel it in my back!
10. Love your body. It just made a baby. Take care of it. Realize it may not ever look the same again, but it is perfect in every way.
I am heading out on my new journey of changes.