Sunday, September 29, 2013

Body Change

The post-pregnancy body is a difficult topic. It's not something I really enjoy talking about but I also feel like it's something I need to talk about. Because the truth is, when I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see. Although I don't want my daughters to feel that way about themselves, it is unfortunately the way I feel. I didn't love my body before I had children but I had gotten used to it and mostly accepted it as it was. And, of course, there's no question that children are worth the changed body. But it doesn't mean I can't admit to not liking the changes it caused. Sometimes I even feel guilty about not liking this body because I guess in a lot of ways it isn't that bad. But here's the problem I have:

My second baby just turned one and I STILL have a baby bump. In certain outfits this looks more true than others. It's definitely worse when I'm not wearing my Spanx (which I have refused to do on a daily basis). At least like a true baby bump it doesn't get bigger and bigger. Instead it has wild fluctuations depending on what and when I eat, my overall GI health, hormones, and even if I have a full bladder!! There are some days I even feel thin and then 2 days later, I'll wonder what happened. 

When my baby was 11 months old I was super happy to step on the scale and be back to my pre-preganancy weight. I'm even in my old dress size. Unfortunately, some of my old jeans still don't button and many of my shirts are now mid-driffs. This is illogical because I can go to the store and buy new clothes in the old size that actually do fit but then go home and feel like I'm stuffing myself in my old clothes. I think part of that is variation in clothes. The other part, the bigger part, is when I put on my old clothes I expect to see myself the way I used to look in them before I had two babies. 

And it's pretty unlikely that I will ever look the way I looked before I birthed my beautiful (and large) children. I'm not saying I won't be able to get to a place where I'm satisfied or at least accepting. But just that it will never be the same.

Backtracking for a moment - I was so happy to see the beautiful Kate Middleton admit to wearing maternity clothes postpartum and publicly look like this: 

Source: Google Images

Because this is how I looked:

1 week postpartum

I know there was a lot of criticism for all the hype that was given to the Dutchess' postpartum belly. I admire her for stepping out and sharing that part of her vulnerable self though. A lot of the articles shot back: of course she still looks pregnant!  But before I had my own children I DID NOT KNOW that my belly would look like that. I had friends that had babies before me and I don't remember their bellies looking like that. Maybe some were lucky and didn't look like that but if they did, I don't remember. I was probably too busy checking on how they were feeling and admiring their adorable new baby. I didn't even actually know my belly was that big after my baby until months later when I saw this picture (which was taken of my friend's son whose shoulder can be seen in the foreground). I was feeling small when that picture was taken compared to how I had felt a week before at 9 + months pregnant. 

I also wore maternity pants to work for SEVEN MONTHS!! While this might be extreme, I couldn't fit into any of my regular clothes and I didn't want to have to buy multiple work wardrobes while going through this slow transition. I had been lucky enough to just have to change scrub sizes for my work wardrobe after my first baby. By the way - added benefit of maternity pants (other than the elastic) is that they smooth the belly and are much more comfortable than Spanx. People would tell me "you look great" and I would feel guilty because it felt like I was cheating by wearing belly flattening (maternity) pants.

Today, I'm thankfully out of maternity pants but I still have a protruding belly and I do my best to cover it up. Before I had children I didn't think I could fix the things I didn't like (I won't detail what those things are) but there is one thing I CAN fix now. It's my diastasis recti. The separation of my abdominal muscles that occurred while I was pregnant. It's something that I thought would just fix itself if I gave it enough time. But it hasn't.

Maybe you also have this problem. Hopefully, you're lucky and this didn't happen to you. Maybe your baby is too young for you to notice and you are quite comfy in your sweats and maternity pants (enjoy it as long as possible!). I've read of people who didn't know they had this until their kids were in their 20s. But I've done the simple test to check and my muscles have not returned, not even after a year. And I'm at the point where I'm ready to fix it. Here's hoping it works! 

Here's the link with a little info about diastasis recti and the exercises I started. 

It's new to me so I don't know how it'll go but it's worth a try. Please let me know if you've tried this or have any other methods. I'll keep you posted on my progress and would love to hear your story too!


  1. I will have to look into buying some Spanx! I too have the belly pooch. It is very frustrating considering I weight LESS than I did in high school! But I attribute a lot of that to muscle loss. I also notice some belly "triggers." Chocolate milk puffs me up like crazy :) I did dare a bikini this past summer but only after hours of running and constantly making sure not to EVER bend forward! My skin is just...loose and no matter what I do to build muscle or trim seems like it will always be there.

    1. I actually only have generic Spanx and I bought them on Amazon! I got them around 4 months after baby #2 when I realized the belly transition was going even slower the 2nd time. And you are SO right about the loose belly skin being another problem. Either way, it's awesome you're in a bikini - my stretch marks alone prevent that option!

  2. Hey Julie! I am so glad that you shared this post. I really enjoyed it and had actually considered writing something similiar.

    I struggle with the exact same thing. My weight, as in the number on the scale, is actually slightly lower than before I got pregnant, but I have no idea how because I have this awful stomach pooch. It drives me nuts because I never had it pre-baby. I try and try to accept it, but I just can't fully get there.

    And I totally agree about the clothing thing! I have no idea how that happens. I swear my clothes just shrunk while they sat in the closet for a season. :)

    Going to check out that link you shared now.

    Thanks again for sharing! :)

    1. I'm really glad you enjoyed the post and hope you find the link helpful! Seriously, when I pull those clothes out of the box/back of closet it really does look like they shrank!

  3. I want to thank Emily and Becky for sharing their belly stories - it's not an easy thing to do! But I also want to add that I think both of these women look amazing so it just goes to show that we are way more critical of ourselves than anyone else!!


I would love to hear your thoughts, tips, or advice! Please share!