Since it’s been just over year since Owen was born, I figured it was time to touch on the reality of what happens to the body after having a baby. One of the most common questions I get from new moms is “when will I get my body back?”, so I decided to share my personal story of the road back to pre-baby bodyville.
Immediately after giving birth, I still looked about six months pregnant, was puffy and gross from fluids and exhaustion, and my stomach felt like a big ball of bread dough. It was a really strange feeling.
I wore maternity clothes for a few weeks, and while it didn’t take long to start dropping weight (once the placenta is out, you’re losing all that extra fluid and oh yeah, you’ve had the baby, a significant amount of the weight is gone), but my body just wasn’t the same. My breasts were HUGE, my stomach was flabby, and my hips were wider. Even when I could put on pre-pregnancy pants, I couldn’t even come close to closing them because suddenly where I had never really had hips before, was this wide expanse of space that I couldn’t put a waist band around if you paid me to. They finally did receded, but it was really strange for a while.
Around eight weeks postpartum, I stopped feeling disgusting and was back in most of my clothes. But they fit differently. The larger breasts paired with the still wider hips gave me this weird situation where all my shirts were suddenly too short. Like, barely coming to the top of my pants. Do you know how annoying this is? Rather than buy a whole new wardrobe, I started layering a tank top under basically every top. Not always cute, but necessary.
Time went on, the weight continued to drop. I attribute this almost 100 percent to breastfeeding and power-walking a couple times a day. Now that my weight loss has tapered off, it’s time to start toning up again, but I was lucky I guess to not have to do much for the actual pounds to come off. It took probably about 5-6 months for me to reach my pre-pregnancy weight, give or take a month.
I know. Oh POOR YOU. It only took a few months for you to lose the weight. Yeah, boo hoo. Yes, while the weight came off, let me assure you, I did not escape pregnancy unscathed. Actually, I ended up losing too much weight, and while people will generally roll their eyes at you when you say that, it wasn’t something I was happy about. Lack of sleep and not replenishing enough of my calories lost to breastfeeding left me pounds below my weight in high school, permanently exhausted, irritable and gaunt. I didn’t look sexy-skinny. I looked gross. After the people I love tiptoed around it for a while, my mom finally convinced me that it was time to look into it. A physical, and a high-potency vitamin regiment got me back on track and I feel much better now.
On top of that, there’s the boobs.
I know this doesn’t happen to everyone, but here’s the truth: my breasts will never, ever be the same again. Ever.
The girls used to be one of my favorite body parts. I was proud of them! Full, perky, nicely sized. They certainly grew while I was pregnant, but nothing prepared me for what happened after Owen was born. On the third night my milk came in, and they doubled — no, tripled — in size almost immediately. The result of that was mean, ugly, red stretch marks that burst onto the scene on the underside of both breasts. And I thought I had escaped stretch marks my whole pregnancy. HA.
Oh man, were those ugly. And they hurt! I guess the skin was stretched very quickly and very thin. Ugh. I can’t remember how long it took for them to fade, but they are colorless now. In their place is what looks like permanently dry skin, in my opinion. It’s wrinkly. Ew. To look at me, you’d never know they were there since the top of my breasts didn’t get them. (Maybe next time? I HOPE NOT!) But I know they are there. And while sure, they’re a badge of honor, I’d still rather them NOT be there. I have the kid, after all, and he’s a pretty good daily reminder of the journey to motherhood.
As for size, since I’m still nursing they haven’t totally deflated, but I can tell when I stop breastfeeding they will be smaller. And sadder. I think the only way to perk them back up will be to get pregnant again, and when we’re done having babies? Invest in some really good push-up bras.
Here I am, the morning before Owen was born…
…and today, almost 13-months postpartum.
No, my stomach isn’t totally flat, but it’s ok. I even feel (mostly) confident in a two-piece bikini. I have no idea what my body will do after future pregnancies. This will probably be as good as it’s going to get! Ha!
The one bonus? My arms are ripped. Like, seriously. Perk of having a big kid, for sure. He’s the best free weight I’ve ever used.