Learning to Love My Mom Body

This is a post a long time coming and it’s something that I have really struggled with the last couple of months … learning to love my mom body.

Anyone that has given birth knows what I am talking about.  The changes that your body goes through during pregnancy are miraculous and amazing, however, the aftereffects are well, not.  I truly struggled in the weeks and even months following having Emmalyne with my appearance.  I would look in the mirror and grimace.  I would try clothes on and take them off crying because they didn’t fit.  But with the support of my amazing husband, awesome family, and fabulous friends I learned how to love myself again.  Here’s how …

The day I gave birth to Emmie I had gained 32 total pounds.  I am almost 5’9 so it was pretty well distributed throughout my body and I felt pretty awesome for being 38 weeks pregnant.  I was convinced that once I had the baby I would lose the weight quickly because breastfeeding just MELTS the pounds, right?  HAHA … WRONG.  At least it was wrong for me.

When I left the hospital I came home 22 lbs lighter with 10 left to go.  I was thrilled.  I had a super easy delivery/recovery and was cleared to workout after 2 weeks so I got back to it!  And the scale didn’t move.  At all.  Despite how hard I was working.  For two months.  I hinted at my feelings in my 2-months post-baby body update. 

That’s when my husband sat me down and gave me a reality check.  He reminded me what my body DID do … it grew and birthed a beautiful and healthy baby girl (all 8lbs 14oz, 21.5 in of her).  He reminded me it took 38 WEEKS to do that so it was going to take some time to get back to where I was.  He reminded me that to him I was beautiful and perfect just the way I was.  It was what I needed.  I needed to hear those things again, and again, and again.  And I made some changes.  This is how I came to love my mom body:

1.  I bought new jeans.

I can’t begin to tell you the emotional boost I got just having jeans that fit and zipped.  I didn’t want to wear maternity jeans and goodness knows I wasn’t fitting in my size 4’s any time soon.  I bought two pairs and J Crew jeans and didn’t look back.  Now that weight is slowly coming off it is even more of a boost to have them get looser and looser 😉
2.  I researched breastfeeding and weight-loss.
Baby Fit by Spark People had an awesome article.  It was interesting to learn that of the weight you gain while pregnant 5-12 pounds are “maternal stores” that you body saves for breastfeeding.  Your body knows it needs those stores to provide nourishment to your child.  Those are also the hardest pounds to lose.  Knowing WHY I was holding on to the weight and why it wasn’t just melting off gave me a new perspective … I was providing Emmie with the best possible food source.  Score.
3.  I started counting calories.
Before you go, WHAT?!?!  I started counting calories when I realized I wasn’t eating enough calories.  My body needs 1500 calories a day just to run itself sans breastfeeding.  That’s about what I was eating.  I then realized I not only needed to add on an additional 500 calories for breastfeeding but I also needed to add in my workouts.  I now eat close to 2300 calories per day and guess what?  I’ve lost 1 1/2 lb!
4.  I drank more water.
I still use the 1L bad-boy water bottle they gave me at the hospital.  I downloaded an iPhone app to track my water intake.  The cool thing is that it incorporates both working out and breastfeeding into my intake goals.  My goal is 104 oz per day.  Staying properly hydrated is not only essential for maintaining milk supply, it is also an important aspect of weight loss.
5.  I embraced my hips.
I have never had hips in my life and now I do!  I am learning how to embrace my more womanly curves understanding that I may never go back to my straight frame again.  These hips got me thru child birth and God willing they will again.  It’s been kind of fun figuring out a new mom fashion style!
6.  I realized some of it was due to stretching.
My dad is a doctor and also reminded me that my body STRETCHED.  It takes time to unstretch.  My organs have to get back to where they were and my uterus is still shrinking.
7.  I’ve gotten support from other moms.
Many of my friends in real life are moms and we are able to commiserate together.  I am also blessed in the fact that so many of the inspiring ladiesa of the blogospher have had babies around the same time.  I have found support from MariaLisaBrittanyKristenJenSabrina, and Emily.  I am so thankful that when I have questions, concerns, or comments they are there just a tweet away :)
8.  I stopped comparing myself to others.
Jessica Alba I am not.  Just like every baby has a different story, every mom has a different journey.  I can cheer others on for their successes but know that their successes don’t make my failures.  Every body is different and mine is just taking a little longer to come back :)
9.  I finally let go.
Over the holidays I stopped stressing about getting back into shape and losing weight.  I decided not to step on the scale once during my 2 week vacation.  I went out to dinners, drank some wine, and had a lot of fun.  And somehow managed to lose some weight.  I really think letting go of that stress helped.  
10.  I just look at my daughter.
Just looking into those sweet blue eyes reminds me WHY I have a mom body.  And reminds me that it is so totally worth it.
I am eating better than ever, working out 5-6 times a week, and loving my life as a mom and now I can honestly say that I love my mom body.  I finally started seeing some progress too!  I still want to lose the weight and have abs again but I am content knowing it will come.  It will be hard.  It will be worth it.  And I am up for the challenge :)
**Edited to add: You can see my entire post-baby body progress on my Pregnancy/Baby tab!  For a look at where I end up check out my 12 month post baby body update :)
Moms … how did you learn to love your mom body?  Non-moms … have you ever struggled with loving your body the way it is?

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