I decided on the title “Postpartum chic” for this post because I figured no one had ever put those two words next to each other before, and maybe I could trademark them or something?
Chic isn’t the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of the postpartum period.
There’s all kinds of medical things happening with the immediately postpartum body, and those things continue for a while as your body recovers from pregnancy and childbirth and adjusts to feeding and caring for a baby.
It’s no secret that bringing children into this world involves a lot of body changes and weight fluctuations. I gained a lot of weight with each of my pregnancies. Each time I was pretty active, and by the third time around I just decided that this is how my body does pregnancy. It grows an 8-pound baby with 42-pounds of accessories.
In the first few weeks after delivery, I don’t think too much about my body. Except that one time I tried on my pre-pregnancy jeans THE SAME DAY I got home from the hospital after having David. In that moment, when I could not get my jeans over my knee, I realized that through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, I had turned into a completely different person.
I no longer compare my post-pregnancy baby to its pre-pregnancy counterpart because I am no longer that person. It’d be like comparing sweet chubby baby thighs to an Olympic sprinter’s. Those thighs have different purposes and different responsibilities. They can’t and shouldn’t be compared.
THAT SAID, while I’m in the midst of exhaustion and ill-fitting clothes, I think it’s ok to admit that this process is a little disheartening. I truly do feel so much gratitude and awe that my body has been able to grow, birth, and feed children. If I’m honest, the longing isn’t about the loss of my waistline, it’s the loss of feeling like myself.
For me, I know from experience that it can take me a year or more to get back to normal. But already the process seems stalled this time. My body doesn’t seem to be bouncing back after baby three the same way it did the first two times. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the time or energy to devote to exercise and healthy eating. I am four years older. Perhaps it’s that.
Now that I have three kids, I honestly don’t have a lot of time to dwell on vanity. As long as everyone is healthy and tucked into bed at night then I’m happy. When I think about exercise or stocking the pantry with [ugh] vegetables, I start to feel overwhelmed.
This is not how I felt after my first two babies.
When I was pregnant with David I ran consistently until 37 weeks. He was born at 41 weeks, and I started running slowly and hesitantly at 6 weeks postpartum. Then I ran a half marathon when I was 10 weeks pregnant with Mary Virginia, and ran pushing David in that dang jogging stroller up to 34 weeks.
After I had Mary Virginia, I jumped straight back into running. I ran a half marathon when she was five months old.
Through my pregnancy with Thomas I did my best to remain active, but ended up stopping running at about 25 weeks, and I haven’t really run since.
How is one supposed to run when they have three kids under the age of four? Please don’t suggest a triple jogging stroller. And PLEASE don’t suggest waking up early to run because HAHAHHAHAHHAHAAH.
But this is exactly what I mean, exercise and running used to be so tightly entwined with who I was. Now, somehow, I think of exercise as something “other” people do. Other people who also sleep.
I want to get back there. I want to feel fit and strong. And maybe even fit into a pair of my favorite skirts by fall. Maybe.
I’d love to hear your experiences.