Another Body Altogether

Warning: I’m taking a break today to talk about postpartum issues.  If you have trouble with body talk or periods, please don’t read this post!  I will be putting out another gender and kids post later, so keep an eye out if that is more your style!

My baby turned 3 months this week.  When did that happen?  I also had a follow up for my birth control and endometriosis treatment (an IUD).  I’ve been bleeding for 4 weeks straight (going on 5!).  My doctor had warned me the bleeding my surprise me but I was unprepared for this.  It was sometimes worse than my immediate postpartum bleeding.  I was dumbfounded.

My doctor didn’t want to dismiss my fears but she did tell me, “You need to think of your pre-baby body as a completely different body altogether.  This new body is unknown.  For me, it was like going through puberty again.”  That was frustrating to hear but after reflecting on it for a week, I guess it is helpful.

I’ve felt so wrecked and all broken up postpartum.  I had a hard, arduous pregnancy.  Between losing 35 lbs (and only gaining 1 back) and having SPD, it was awful.  I was at my heaviest in recent history by the time I got pregnant.  I figured losing weight was pointless and time to conceive was pressure.  I was still an endurance athlete and ran about 3 days a week, lifted seriously. I was dedicated to the gym and would run with the dog in the morning at the crack of dawn before work.  I was hoping to run a 5k in the spring.  I assumed it would take MONTHS to get pregnant. And then, like a fool, once I got pregnant with my daughter, I figured I would still work out.  NOPE.  It didn’t work like that.  I was too sick and couldn’t spare the calories.  I was so atrophied when I delivered due to it.

I fit into pre-pregnancy clothing immediately after delivery and now fit into pretty much everything I did before I reached my heaviest weight. I planned to donate all of these clothes the month I got my positive test with Ruth but was then too tired to make it into town to go to Goodwill.  Instead, I kept them.  And then I lost so much weight, I mainly wore pre-pregnancy dresses and pants with a hairtie until I delivered.  Now none of those pants fit because they were just too big about 4 weeks postpartum.  I continued to lose weight (as most women do postpartum) although nothing like I did before.  But, I have so much loose skin and feel so fat.

Today, I started back to “running”.  In my time, I was never fast, but ran sub-30 5k’s in my early 20s and rode up to 65 miles in races and charity rides on my bike.  I also used to regularly run 5-7 miles several times a week before starting the time suck that is grad school.  But now, I’m hoping to do Couch to 5k at the behest of my OBGYN who thinks i’s the safest bet I have to slowly begin running. I wasn’t even cleared to do any running or light weightlifting until 12 weeks postpartum.  It sucks because I’ve never needed to start so slow.

My goal is to run a 5k by May.  I think that is doable.  I’d love to run a sub 35 time.  I will still get beat by my 70-something in-laws who do this for a serious hobby.  They run halfs and 10ks still.  My BiL who is a marathoner and ultramarathoner.  He’s run races around the world and now, in early retirement, is trying to run a marathon twice a month.  I feel like what I’m doing pales in comparison and is sad.

I know I will never get my body back.  I welcomed the stretch marks because they are a battle scar in a way.  But my abs are GONE.  I never had a six pack but I had such good abs before my daughter.  Abs that made me carry high and almost not show until 24 weeks.  I never appreciated my strong thighs, big calves, or tight stomach.  I felt so fat before I conceived.  And now I feel like a bowl full of jelly.

I need to get better at accepting my body has changed.  I know my husband still thinks I look good.  Others tell me I look amazing for having had a baby 3 months ago.  I can’t accept compliments from anyone (which I think is a common problem for most women).  I need to cut myself some slack – start slow, make it a goal to finish, don’t get bogged down in how out of shape I am.  If I could just feel more like myself again, I would be happy.  But this is the new body and it’s a whole ‘nother chapter to write from here on out.

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