It has been exactly three months and ten days since I had this incredible moment in my life:
|Hi, little buddy! Happy birthday!|
I remember everything about the moment I saw my sweet little boy for the first time. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude that my husband and I were charged with the rearing of this little baby boy. In that moment, there was nothing else that mattered. For the first time in my entire life I saw everything clearly. I understood the unconditional love of my God. I understood that no matter what came our way, the most important people were in that delivery room.
On Sunday, I posted this picture with my dear friend who is soon to have her own little boy in the coming weeks.
Another sweet friend of mine requested that I share my workout and diet tips for becoming “high school skinny” after having my son three months ago. I had a few thoughts. The first was complete relief that she couldn’t see what I try to hide. The second was utter flattery (thank goodness someone thinks I look fit!) In the spirit of health and not vanity, I will share what has worked for me in the last three months and what does not work.
Throw away your scale. I said it. Throw it away. Even within the first WEEK postpartum, I must have weighed myself twice a day. I tallied each pound in my head. ‘Only x pounds more until I will reach pre-baby weight.’ After a two weeks, that number seemed to stay the same. I got incredibly frustrated. Shouldn’t this weight be falling off? After my fourth week postpartum (and my first few runs postpartum), I was solidly at the same weight. Despite upping my physical activities, that number was the same. So I stopped weighing myself. I didn’t weigh myself often before having a baby, so why on earth was I weighing myself after baby? I shouldn’t be measuring my progress on the scale, but by the way that I felt. My baby was growing; I felt healthy enough to resume exercise; this should be enough. I was enough. I am enough.
Put away your measuring tapes. My guilty obsession pre-baby was trying to measure my waist. I felt a certain sense of pride when I could squeeze to a certain number…mostly because it was the feature I was most proud of. After all, every woman has a body part (or two) they are most proud of. As I can never claim to be “voluptuous,” I took pride in looking fit. After baby, as I mentioned, my waist was two inches larger than it was before baby. My waist had just taken nine months to stretch and to make room for my growing son. I should take pride in the two inches that I gained because I just gained a beautiful baby boy.
Only use the stroller when you’re jogging. I take my son everywhere with me. Whether I visit the nail place, the ball park, the grocery store, the mall, lunch, or dinner, I am always with him. Instead of loading my stroller, I just take the car seat. If he is awake, I unbuckle him from the carseat and carry him. The only time I use my stroller is when I am taking a walk to the pool or jogging around our neighborhood. I find that even if I don’t have time to fit in a regular workout, I am working out. I get reps in wherever I go as I am lifting 16+ pounds of baby at any given moment. It may seem like a hassle, but it has worked in helping me feel active.
Don’t count calories. Especially if you are breastfeeding, be sure to eat whenever you feel hungry. I try to have healthy snacks on hand that are packed with protein. You require a lot more energy as a new mom and over 500 calories that you eat are dedicated to feeding your growing baby. This is not a time to diet. Besides, diets don’t work. If you believe that you are depriving yourself, there will never be any lasting changes in your lifestyle. If you begin to enjoy healthy food and try to remain active in a way that you enjoy, you will enjoy being healthy. You will choose to be healthy.
Find an activity that you enjoy. I began distance running two years ago. It has become a sacred time for me and has become something I truly enjoy. Summertime is tough, however, battling the heat and feeling guilty that your baby is in the heat as well. So I’ve decided to try to substitute my runs two days a week with swimming early in the morning. Steven can stay with the little guy for the hour I am in the pool. I enjoy cardio-rich activities, but your time may be dancing, workout videos, bicycling…anything (as long as you’re moving.) For me, physical activity is a reminder that I am a person who needs time to myself to refresh my mind, body, and spirit. It is really easy to neglect time to yourself as motherhood brings a new wave of guilt about everything (Am I cooking enough? Am I cleaning enough? Am I putting my baby on his tummy enough? Am I spending enough time with my husband? Am I making the right decisions for our family…)
Keep your eyes on the real prize. I have attempted to re-focus my energy back into the moment when everything became clear: the moment my son entered the world. Whatever you look like in the mirror and whatever number you see on the scale, the most important thing is that you have had the amazing privilege to carry your baby into the world. Your body is a temple; “a vessel through which to worship, not to which to worship.” Your beautiful body created a beautiful life. That should be celebrated above all else.
Here is a picture of my body at 38 weeks pregnant and 13 weeks postpartum. As I look at both, I see two different bodies that I am so truly proud of. God has blessed me with a growing baby boy and an able body; both of which I do not take lightly.
|Thirty-eight weeks pregnant; 13 weeks postpartum with my little blessing|