You see these images on social media of slender pregnant moms with beautiful, little perky bumps… And then you get some of us that expand like blow-up fishes, but instead of deflating again, our faces, butts and ankles just keep doubling in size… Pregnancy is not very pretty for us all…
I trained during my pregnancy, mostly cardio though (which I regretted afterwards as I lost a lot of muscle mass resulting in the bounce-back being slower – but that is a post for another day). I ate healthy, wholesome meals 70 - 80% of the time. I said no to cake during office parties and only really didn’t watch what I ate the last 2 weeks of pregnancy and over the December holiday. I gained 27 kilograms – yes, that is right, 27 kilograms… Pregnancy and my body are not friends. My ankles swelled so much I could not wear takkies. I was ‘unmarried’ for most of my pregnancy as my wedding ring did not fit due to my fingers looking like little frankfurters. I think people in public sometimes pitied me as I did not wear a wedding ring? Do they do things like that? Or was I just self-conscious? I realised the change in size and colour of my nipples, this continued post pregnancy. My nose felt (was) bigger, my face was rounder, I got stretch marks on my hips. I thought that post pregnancy I should feel normal quite quickly afterwards. I had my meals prepped (chicken, rice & broccoli) for once baby came, I simply had to pull my meals out of the freezer..
Anyways, I did not stick to my ‘chicken, rice & broccoli plan’ but I thankfully still lost 15 kilograms 6 weeks post pregnancy. This was all water weight though. Believe you me, you cannot loose 15 kilograms of fat in 6 weeks without doing something drastic, like lipo or getting your stomach stapled. It is 14 months later and I have about 2 – 3kgs to go. But this blog post is not about what the scale says, it is about how you feel after pregnancy - we obsess about that scale way too much, so much so, I even added a whole paragraph on it.. and I won’t remove it.. – stupid scale.
The day I returned home from my C-Section, my legs and feet were swollen, it looked like I had elephantitis – it really did! It took about a week to go back to normal. Apparently, it was due to the drip and all the fluids they pump into you. I could not look at the C-Section scar for quite a while, even after the plaster was removed. It gave me the creeps, it made the hair stand up at the back of my neck. I looked into the mirror at one point and wondered ‘Will my body ever go back to normal? Will I ever feel beautiful again?’.
Upon breastfeeding, my boobs grew so much they made little stretch marks on the side. And they sagged… and then the sagging got worse when I stopped breastfeeding.. and they grew smaller… way smaller… Again, I wondered, ‘when will I feel beautiful again?’..
My face remained round, I had a butter face, and my arms remained flabby. I still didn’t fit into my jeans. I refused to buy new clothing till I fit into my old clothes. This meant I wore the same stuff over and over again – washing clothes was a daily ritual. I reminisced back on the days pre-baby; some days when you blow dry your hair and you slap on a bit of extra make-up you could look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘You don’t look too bad today’... I still hadn’t had a day where I felt that. I hadn’t felt that since I fell pregnant.. I felt like a worn-out rag.. I was tired, over-stressed at work, struggling juggling the roles of being a new mom, wife, friend, family member and employee (at the time). I gave my job everything and my new baby everything, I had nothing left to give at the end of each day. Gosh, I felt so inadequate. – I sound like I was depressed, I was not depressed, there were good moments to, but those moments are not in tune with the topic here.. I still wondered, ‘when will I feel beautiful again?’..
It is just over a year later. A lot has changed (and some things not). I started my own business, I am sleeping more, my baby girl is now a little toddler. And guess what? I finally have those days where I can feel beautiful again. I fit into my normal jeans, I don’t fit into my ‘smaller’ jeans yet. My boobs are even smaller - they are still sagging. My stretch marks are no longer visible. My wedding ring fits. I still sometimes feel inadequate, but I now feel like “I have got this – most days”.
So, when did I start feeling beautiful again?... Shortly after a year post pregnancy.
My point. Growing a baby is tough. Getting a baby is tough. Taking care of a baby is tough. But eventually, you will find your equilibrium again. If you are where I was, either pregnant or you just had a baby and you can’t really fathom what your body has just been through, wondering when you will feel like yourself again, wondering when you will feel beautiful again. Just know it is temporary. Things will get better. Some changes will remain post pregnancy, others may not be visible anymore, others will disappear.
Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. You just grew a BEAUTIFUL human.