Let’s Talk Postpartum.

Before I was pregnant, I spent a long, long time each week on my appearance. I was a little more than slightly obsessed. I lived happily for four years as a Twenty-Something in New York City, the mecca of fashion, beauty, and looking fierce just to make a trip to the bodega. I wore carefully-selected vintage clothes that I religiously scoured from store after store to find. I took pride in that.

Now, I’m pretty much dressed in head-to-toe Target.

It’s just not as important to me right now. Wait, as I typed that, I realize that I wasn’t being honest with myself. It is still very important to me to be “put together.” Even though there have been many days this past year that I have left the house in loungewear (Actually, the first outing I went on postpartum, I accidentally wore a cotton nightgown, thinking it was a dress). But let’s be HONEST, it is so hard to try to put together outfits when your little one is crawling around on the floor trying to eat buttons (JG is really good at finding buttons–why are there so many buttons on the floor?!) I actually am pretty lucky, because my husband watches our babe to give me some prep time in the morning on most days, bless him.

But even now at 13 months postpartum after I put on makeup, do my hair, pick something out that fits and looks semi-presentable, I still feel…bleh. I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself. Or, I do, it’s just a different version of me. There’s a wisdom in the lines on my forehead, and a deep level of tiredness in the blue-tinted rings under my eyes (which I covered with concealer, of course). I tend to nit-pick while a little voice in my head says, “Umm, not good enough.” I am my own worst critic.

But, we all are, aren’t we?

Especially as moms. I think there is definitely a social construct that moms feel pressured to fit into little perfect categories: Working Mom, Stay-At-Home-Mom, Upper-West-Side-Mom, Yoga Mom, you name it. But the truth is, that we are whatever we want to be, and we wear many different hats. On some days, I feel super confident and wear heels and a nice leather jacket, on others, I run around all day in my workout clothes, whether I have worked out or not…Most of the time not.

To get to the topic, however. I digress.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately on mommy groups on Facebook, and like me, many of the new moms I encounter are concerned about losing the baby weight. I have struggled this past year to lose weight, despite assurances that, “Oh, breastfeeding will take the pounds off!” Hmmmm, nope.

I know that I will not ever look exactly like I did prepartum (Did I just make up that word?), unless I was a Kardashian. I am realistic, I don’t have thousands of dollars to recreate my early 20s bod. But, I would like to get somewhere NEAR to where I was, body composition-wise, mainly to just to feel healthier and stronger.

So, I started working with a trainer. I workout with a group of ladies, all moms, and we train together to keep the cost down. The trainer is amazing; She gives us great workouts twice a week, and then we do recovery workouts like walking or running on the other days, so it’s not like forcing me to go to a gym, which I hate. She also helps us with nutrition. It’s a great start, and I don’t feel like I’m breaking the bank.

Since my birthday in January, I’ve lost about 12 pounds (gained a little back on vacation, yay, bread), but that seems like a really big victory to me, because it is pretty much the first time in my life that I lost weight healthily, instead of starving myself like I used to. My habits and lifestyle are more important than fast results.

This year, and every year after, I have resolved to love my new bod.

It is strong, it is healthy, and it is slowly getting muscle tone definition. My tummy will always have a little “poof” to it, and I have some tiger stripes for all the hard work by body did to carry a baby. They will forever be the reminder of the love that I grew inside of me. And, as the icing on the CHOCOLATE cake, I get to see my beautiful daughter grow into an empowered woman one day.

Motherhood has put things into perspective for me about my body. I struggled for many years with body dysmorphia and bulimia, and I knew that that wasn’t going to fly now that I’m a mom. So, I’m tackling that mind set head on (by being gentle and curious with myself as much as possible). Fortunately, I have the support and love from my family to help me through those days when the negative thoughts overcome me and I feel so depressed that I can barely stand. Additionally, I am able to go to therapy, after losing my father, and for that I am very grateful.

All in all, I just want to say–

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, MOM. You are doing it. This is also a special time, because May is Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Awareness Month. With everything, all the pressures we put on ourselves, the way the media portrays moms that “Do it All,” I think we should give ourselves some credit– we fed our babies today. Even if it was pizza and blueberries.

And I know that there are PLENTY of moms who look awesome going to the bodega, by the way. In sweats or in heels, we look hot. XO

 

–Steph.