If you are on Instagram and following ANY fitness account of a woman who has had a baby, you have inevitably seen their before and after photos of their baby weight loss. I *LOVE* that women are proud of their bodies and what they can do, and I am definitely not going to tell someone not to share or brag on themselves for an awesome, awesome accomplishment, but I thought I’d share my personal story on losing the baby weight both time.
With both of my pregnancies I worked out from the start to the very end….in fact, I went to the gym the morning before I headed to the hospital to deliver my son! (I think I stopped with my daughter a week before due to some hip pain, but can’t really remember) I maintained my normal routines, modifying when necessary, ate a healthy diet (with some treats for sure!) and gained about 30 lbs with my daughter and around 25 with my son and exclusively breastfed both of them.
After chats with my sister and several friends who had nursed I fully expected the baby weight to fall off, especially with nursing involved! Sooooo many women I know can’t keep weight ON when they are nursing, and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty pumped about this! A few days after I got home from the hospital with BOTH kids I was kind of excited to hop on the scale to see how much weight had come off in the hospital – I knew at least the actual weight of the baby and the placenta would be gone, right?! Well…WRONG!!! My babies were both the exact same weight (6 lb 10 oz) and when I got home from the hospital I had lost FOUR lbs….BOTH TIMES! WHAT?! You have GOT to be kidding me, right?! With my daughter I was surprised, but with my son, I was SHOCKED! (I worked out lot more consistently, gained less weight, and had less fluids during his labor)
Ok, ok, so maybe I was holding onto some water weight…that’s fine, the weight will start falling off soon, right? WRONG. This is what I want to remind you, sweet mama who is pregnant or just had their baby….every single body is different. There is no right or wrong here. There are some girls who will be back in their pre-pregnancy clothes/jeans in just a few weeks, and others it will take awhile. I think with both of mine I had to rock maternity jeans or my bigger jeans for a good 4-5 months before I could get into my regular jeans. And can I tell you something? That doesn’t mean you are less healthy or fit than any other mom out there, even the one back in her jeans in the hospital. Soooo much of our post-partum bodies are completely out of our control. Genetics, hormones, stress levels, sleep….so much is at play, not ONE of our stories will be the same…and I’m so thankful for that!
It makes me want to reach out to girls on Instagram commenting on these 6-pack postpartum photos (which hello, are so inspiring and amazing, but definitely not the “norm”) with comments like “you give me hope that this will be me as soon as my baby is born!”….and I want to hug them and say, “it might be you, and it might not, and either way is ok, and you are still amazing, fit and beautiful.” Your body just went through a HUGE journey of carrying a baby AND delivering it, respect that. Let your body recover and get to it’s new normal in whatever time it takes. If you snap back quickly….awesome! It if takes 6-9 months (like it did for me both times), that’s OK too! I just pray that you don’t find your worth, beauty or anything in how quickly you are back to pre-baby weight/look. And remember, the journey is different for everyone.
I hear a lot of people talk about how nursing makes the pounds fall off, and for the mama out there who can’t lost that last stubborn 10-15 pounds even though you are nursing….it’s ok. Our metabolisms are so different. I was SO incredibly frustrated with this aspect of weight loss because so many people had painted the picture that weight loss was a perk of nursing! But guess what? With both of my kids I lost about 10 lbs in the month AFTER I finished nursing them without changing a thing in my diet or routine. So mama, if you’re like me, don’t be discouraged. You are doing great. Your life and worth is about so much more than your weight, pant size, pre-pregnancy weight or your abs. Enjoy that new baby. Make healthy choices for you and your family….enjoy the journey, don’t be a slave to it. And if you are one of those with abs at 6 days post partum….get down with yo bad self!
I remember a fitness professional (who just so happened to snap right back….lucky!!) post on one of my pictures at the gym when I was pregnant: “keep it up girl! You will be RIGHT back to your normal workouts and clothes in no time!” and I KNOW that was a well-intentioned comment, but when that wasn’t my story, it was discouraging. Was I not as fit/healthy as I thought? Am I doing something wrong? Should I be working out more or should I have started before my 6-week checkup? (I waited until 6 weeks with both of mine!)
New mom…my advice to you….don’t make this your god. Sure, make healthy choices with your food, get your workouts in when you can, are rested, your body is ready AND your doctor clears you…and you WILL get there. And it’s OK if it takes time. It’s ok if you miss a workout because your baby was up all night and you just want to snuggle…or nap. Be free from the idea that your worth is found in your body, or how quickly you get back into shape. You will get there, I promise you will!
Here’s some real, raw pictures from *my* journey to get back after baby #2:
These are my quick snaps on days I was frustrated I was still wearing my maternity clothes when all I wanted was to be back to “normal”…
The photo on the left is 4 months post-partum, exclusively breastfeeding, exercising 4-5 days a week (mostly cardio, some weights) and counting calories. The photo on the right if 17 months post-partum, exercising 5 days a week (lifting weights and some cardio) and eating the same amount of calories.
I’m still on my journey, but I am so thankful I have come to the realization and peace that we are all so different, have different priorities, different stories, and most of all….different bodies.
Enjoy that baby, mama.