I’m 12 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, which is 3 pounds over my normal body weight (got pregnant around Christmas, you guys! 😉 ). So I’m 15 pounds heavier than my ideal body weight. And I will proooooobably stay that way until I stop breastfeeding.
This makes me feel many things. I feel blessed. I feel thankful I can provide nourishment for C. I feel frustrated – about the way I look, the way I feel, the way my body feels different than before, the way my “problem” areas are markedly fuller, the way areas that weren’t previously a “problem” area are now a “problem” area.
But I also feel extremely happy & beautiful. I look at C and I see that he is healthy and happy. I feel strong; my body grew and birthed a baby. Ben tells me I’m beautiful and makes me feel like a million bucks. And I believe him. It’s in those moments that I feel the most beautiful. Even more beautiful than I did before I had C.
The transition from expecting your first baby to becoming a new mom is wonderful, magical and intense. It’s a super exciting time filled with mountain top highs yet filled with many, many challenging lows, one of them being a new postpartum body.
I’m a researcher. When I found out I was pregnant with C, I dove into all the information I could find about pregnancy, labor, birth, the postpartum period and breastfeeding. I researched all my options. Not only did I learn facts about the whole experience but I learned about feelings, emotions and sensations I may have during each stage of the process from other moms. I read their testimonies and soaked up all their positive birth stories and affirmations. I knew I could be extremely emotional and irrational following his birth and would probably feel a little crazy. I learned all I could about delayed cord clamping and skin to skin. I knew all about how to get that perfect latch; I also knew how an incorrect latch could make breastfeeding extremely painful! I felt like I was as prepared as I could be without actually having experienced childbirth myself.
In the end, I feel like I had an idyllic labor and delivery, as well as an amazing immediate breastfeeding relationship with C. We didn’t encounter any breastfeeding challenges, other than an overactive letdown that developed a little later; we were lucky. Very lucky. The first few weeks postpartum were great, too. I felt supported by friends and family. I knew I would be exhausted & emotional, but that was okay because I was prepared to feel that way. I was prepared to look 5-6 months pregnant immediately after giving birth. I had done my research. I could handle that.
What I wasn’t prepared for were the struggles that came later; the delayed challenges that only come with the passing of time. I wasn’t prepared for how lonely and isolating new motherhood can be. I wasn’t prepared for a baby who would fight sleep. I wasn’t prepared for how going to the grocery store would feel like a monumental task. I wasn’t prepared to feel at a loss as to how to calm and comfort my crying baby. I wasn’t prepared to stand and do so much rocking and swaying. I mean, so much rocking and swaying and bouncing! (Side note: my Solly Baby wrap saved me. Whether you get a wrap or a sling, get something for those first three months! This allows you to function. To go to the bathroom. To make food for yourself to eat. Worth every penny.) I wasn’t prepared to not know so much and constantly question if I was doing the right thing. I wasn’t prepared to feel needy and rely on others for help. I wasn’t prepared to be so needed by another human being 24/7. I wasn’t prepared for how distracted C would become when it came to nursing and he was around 4-5 months old. I wasn’t prepared for my cycle to return so quickly (12 weeks postpartum) and affect my milk supply, the monthly dip draining me physically and emotionally. I wasn’t prepared to stay 15 pounds heavier just to maintain my milk supply. I wasn’t prepared to feel like I was in survival mode for 6-6.5 months.
I wasn’t prepared for so much, but I also wasn’t prepared for the magic.
Motherhood makes you feel strong. It makes you feel connected to other moms. It is humbling. It is a privilege. It’s the best thing ever.
So many mothers comment about how hard it is, but how it is soooo worth it. You don’t realize exactly what that means until you’ve stepped into motherhood yourself. You think you know what it means, but you don’t really know until you’ve lived it. And I know how cliché that sounds, but it’s true.
So believe me when I say, I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was pre-baby and it is sooooo worth it.
P.S. Charley was quite enthralled with the grass! So most of my photos of him he was looking down, but I HAD to document his first time wearing overalls! ♥
Me: Hat is from Target, Kimono from Scissortail Clothing Boutique, Black Jeans are Old Navy “Rockstar”, Sandals are Target, Necklaces – solid bar is from Collected Thread & bar with C’s name on it is from James Michelle.
C: Overall outfit is Carter’s