“I can’t wait to get my old body back, “ my naïve, first-time pregnant self said to my husband during a routine nightly bath to help with Restless Leg Syndrome, one of the many “perks” I was able to experience during pregnancy.
Now, pregnant for the second time, I know that my pre-prego body was just that - a thing of that past. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t look and feel good again, you can and you will. But there are definitely some things I would do differently with body image the second time around. So here it goes:
1. Cut Out The Sugar
I could lie to you and act like what I put into my body during pregnancy was best for my baby. But when you have a box of Entenmann’s Pumpkin Pop ‘Ems staring straight at you in aisle five during the Third Trimester, it’s really hard to say no.
By the end of my first pregnancy, all I craved were sweets. I could eat an entire watermelon in one sitting, which was impressive yet slightly alarming. But the problem was, after I had the baby, the sweets craving didn’t go away.
Processed sugar is so addictive and during the newborn stage, it’s the easiest thing to turn to on a bad day. I was hoping that since I was breastfeeding the weight would just fall off right away. But that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t until a couple months later when I started cutting out those damn delicious nightly cookies that I noticed some of the pounds really starting to shed.
This time, I plan on giving up the processed sweets in the New Year, cliché I know, but if you think I can do it over the holidays, you are crazy. It won’t be as fun to swap out slices of pie for apple slices during the Third Trimester, but I know my future self will thank me.
2. Start Working Out Sooner
Most doctors will clear you to work out at the six-week mark. I remember thinking, “Six weeks? How can I go six weeks without working out? I’ll go crazy!” Uh, with a newborn baby partnered with new stitches in your nether region, I can tell you the last thing on my mind was working out.
But once I was given the clearance, I attempted some post-pregnancy workout DVD’s. Dear God! I was an idiot for thinking I could just hop right in like my old self, I forgot I hadn’t done a sit-up in nearly ten months, and when I went to do one for the first time, I could barely lift my head! I knew it was going to be a long, long road to ‘old’ body.
Those early months I would try to squeeze in a workout DVD here and there, but amongst growth spurts, sickness, and traveling over the holidays, it was really hard to get into my old routine.
It wasn’t until around month eight that I started making myself a priority and getting back into my fitness regime again. I would wake up before my daughter and make sure to get my workout in. Making it to the gym was a thing of the past. Thirty minute Tracy Anderson Method DVD’s were all I could squeeze in, but they did the trick. It was then that I started feeling good again in my old clothes and having the energy that I used to.
While those early months can be daunting, the second time around, I know what I’m in store for. And although working out during naptimes may be the last thing I want to do, once again I know my future self will thank me if I start sooner.
A shift in the way I looked at exercise was also equally important. Working out isn’t even about the physical aspect anymore; I now know it mentally keeps me sane and carving out some time for myself makes me a better mom!
3. Embrace Your New Body
Listen, if you are pregnant for the first time, I really didn’t mean to paint such a bleak picture with my headline. You can look and feel your best even after the baby, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard work, and most importantly take time. It took me about a year to feel confident in my clothes again… Stella had gotten her groove back, which lead to Stella getting knocked up again shortly there after. Imagine that.
While wearing clothes, you may look the same, but is every nook and cranny going to be where it used to? Most likely not. Things may have “Shifted during takeoff and landing,” as they say.
After breastfeeding your boobs may look more like tube socks with spare change dangling in the bottom, leaving you searching for those full B cups you once took for granted, but now long for. Your belly button? I don’t know, it just looks different. And your skin? Looser. Maybe that’s the best way to describe it.
But you see, the real reason I’ll never get my ‘old’ body back, is because my body is not my own anymore. My arms are now meant to lift my eightieth percentile chubster, my legs are now meant for horsey rides, and my stomach is meant for spilled milk during mealtime.
They may not look exactly the same, but they serve an even more meaningful purpose. So this time around, after my second pregnancy, I plan on fully embracing them.
It’s out with the old and in with the new.