So here I am again. Second baby, second time struggling with my postpartum body. If you have been following my journey for a while then you know how much I agonized over my body image issues after the birth of my first son. It's not something that felt good to talk about but since this blog is my place to put it all (almost all) out there, that's what I did. With Cruze I put on more than the recommended 25-35 pounds. I didn't eat crazy amounts of sweets and kept my diet pretty healthy but in the end I had gained 44 pounds. While it was way more than I wanted to gain I kept telling myself that I would lose it once the baby was born. When that didn't happen, it tore me apart. I felt defined by my new size. I felt humiliated to be seen by others who knew my formerly slim self. Humiliated.
It didn't help that when I was 9 days post partum, an uninvited guest showed up at my home and actually made fun of my belly. Girls, she actually JIGGLED my stomach while giggling! I was mortified and felt like there was something terribly wrong with me for not bouncing back faster. The very next day I cut my calories drastically. I'm too embarrassed to say how little I was eating because looking back, with a much clearer mind, I was starving myself. In turn, I was starving my baby of the nutrients he needed from my milk. Do you know what happened when I cut my calories? My weight loss came to a HALT and my milk? What milk?
I finally started losing weight once I stopped nursing (or trying to nurse). Six pounds the very first week! Since then I've learned how important it is to treat my body well. I was abusing myself and didn't even realize it. I knew that my body size was not as important as I thought. Feeding my son? That was important. So before I got pregnant with Caleb I kept telling myself that I would not do that again. I would not torture my body with starvation diets. I told myself that Phillip would never again have to pick me up from off the floor with a face soaked with tears because of how "disgusting" I looked. I wouldn't compare my "bouncing back" with other women on instagram. I would just embrace it for what it was and know that the weight would come off eventually.
But here's the thing. It's just easier said than done. After Caleb was born, I felt great. I had barely any swelling, my energy level was on point and I didn't feel the same overwhelming anxiety that I did as a first time mom. I felt lighter and I was so happy with that. And then it happened. I saw the scale in the bathroom and it was as though it was calling my name. I knew it was too soon but I just had to step on it. To my complete surprise, I had only lost the weight of my baby. WHAT?! And just like that, my obsession started up again. Weighing myself FIVE times a day, overanalyzing everything I ate, googling things like "why can't I lose weight while breastfeeding", the anxiety and feelings of humiliation. It all came rushing back. For a few days. Because this time I know better. I know that while I do still care about how I look (just being honest here!) my body has just done something so amazing. It deserves more than being scrutinized by myself. It deserves to be treated well, to be nourished properly and rewarded. It deserves RESPECT.
It's a daily struggle. Especially when I catch my reflection in mirror or see a photo of myself. But I'm working through it. And for now? I will just try a tad harder to find clothes that make me feel a bit more confident. I'll also resist the urge to tear the house apart in an effort to find the scale that my husband so lovingly hid from me...