I have started this post two different times. Two different times I have deleted this post. Why? Well, the first time, I was alone at home, with a fussy little miss who simply wouldn’t nap. My post sounded like a tirade. The second? I was at my parent’s house with help from my sister and mom. The post sounded like life was all unicorns and roses. Now, is my third attempt… and it is at this point that I feel I am in the most realistic state. TJ is home, little one is down for the night, and I’m enjoying a bowl of popcorn and getting ready to watch the OJ Simpson series. In all honesty though, I wanted to take time in today’s post to be honest about that post-pregnancy body and
I had a moment the other day when I was having lunch with TJ. I started to tear up over my kale salad. I felt like a five year old. Trying to hold back my tears, as we were at a restaurant, I told him that I was frustrated. That I had never needed to “eat” or “work-out” to lose weight. I wanted the sandwich, but didn’t want the carbs (…. even though Oprah ate carbs and still lost the weight…). Then I was upset because I didn’t allow myself to order the sandwich. Yeah, it wasn’t a pretty scene. I think I have small moments like this a few times a week. Where I avoid the mirror, or when I’m nursing Harper and look down at my stomach. Not too happy with what I see. It’s a daily struggle between cutting myself a break and at the same time making those healthy lifestyle choices (especially when you’re tired and hangry from breastfeeding). I told myself that I would be happy when I was able to button my jeans. Once that happened, it wasn’t enough. I needed to look exactly how I did pre-pregnancy.
I think it is hard for women. We want to be the best mothers that we can, yet at the same time we want to feel good about ourselves. I have found that there is immense pressure as a mother, not only from yourself, but sadly, other moms, to be “perfect.” Don’t make mistakes, don’t be negligent (believe me, I’ve seen negligent parenting in my 9-5 job… forgetting to give your child vitamin D one evening does not constitute negligence.), and always give of yourself. Yet, I’ve found that in the times when I give and give and don’t take a moment for myself, those are the moments where I’m not at my best. Not fully present. Frustrated. Feeling overwhelmed. I think these feelings are normal… at least they are from the friends I have talked to (and thank goodness I have those friends who can genuinely tell it to me straight).
So, I thought I would share just a little bit of how I have been practicing “me” time over these past few weeks… and how I hope to combat those negative thoughts that come in regarding my self-image.
1.Carve out me time: I know that give or take 10 minutes, Harper will be waking up at 7am. So, I squeeze my workout in before that. I set my alarm for 5:45am and get moving. Am I tired? Oh yes. Would I rather be sleeping? For Sure. Do I have the same amount of time as I used to? Not really. Yet, I’ve found that after my workout I feel more energized for the day and fulfilled that I allowed myself the time to do something good for myself.
2.Alter my expectations: Post-pregnancy, I was able to workout however long I wanted. That often involved an hour long spin class, yoga class, or lengthy run. While I know I will get back to those longer workouts soon, right now I have needed to modify my expectations. I have found multiple at home fitness videos that are time friendly (as in, 30 minutes) and very challenging. I’m in the process of reviewing them for a future post, but if you’re wanting to check them out on your own here they are: Yoga Inferno, Tracy Anderson (longer video), Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred.
3.Cut myself some slack: I try to remember that it took 9 months to grow a baby and it will take more than 3 weeks post doctor’s clearance to get it back. I also try to avoid comparison. When I was pregnant I read this quote from Kerry Washington and thought it was actually really profound: “I’ve been really focused on not being ‘back’ to anything, but being the best version of myself right now. My body is the site of a miracle now. I don’t want to be pre-miracle.”
4. Remind myself of what I am working towards: I have to ask myself, what is my ultimate goal? What example do I want to set for my daughter when it comes to body image and food. The answer is simple: I want to be strong. I want to show her that strength is more important than fitting into the smallest pair of jeans. Yet, it’s not enough for me to tell her that. I have to live that by example. I have started to tie my goals to smaller, more tangible outcomes…. like, post pregnancy I had zero core strength. Getting up off of the couch, while holding Harper, required that I push myself up and off. Now, I’ve met my goal of increasing core strength by being able to stand up without any assistance. It may sound small, but it’s something that isn’t tied to physical appearance, and I think that’s a more positive outlook to have… and demonstrate.
5. Have a healthy perspective towards food: I know that when I am tired and hungry, my inclination can always be to reach for chocolate (I’m a gal with an intense sweet tooth). To combat this, I keep healthy options on hand (as seen in this post). As opposed to limiting my intake, I am fueling my body with lean, clean, and green foods… with small indulgences when I see fit (a bowl of popcorn, or a piece of chocolate at the end of the evening… wine on the weekends…). I want the message that I give to Harper to be that food is good. Food gives you energy. Food gives you strength.
I guess what this all boils down to is finding the #balance. I think the post digressed from my initial topic of talking about how I want to get my body back, but more towards how I’m finding the balance and navigating the journey…. because this whole parenting thing is one big journey!