I gained 43 pounds during my pregnancy. I did not need to gain 43 pounds during my pregnancy. I did not start off grossly underweight. I was not carrying multiples. I just gained weight. A lot of weight.
In hindsight, my postpartum depression was not entirely postpartum. Things started to go downhill somewhere around my 34th week of pregnancy but at the time I attributed it to being huge and tired and achy and having a stressful work situation and moving to a new city (and, and, and.) I am not someone who loses weight when feeling blue. I am an emotional eater. I eat my feelings in the form of baked goods and sour candy.
I gained eight pounds in my last week of pregnancy. Yes, Grady was five days late. Yes, it was late July and I was retaining a lot of water. But still. Eight pounds in one week. At the time I didn't care because as I was standing on the scale hearing the nurse tell me my total weight gain for the week, I was actually in labour and had more important things on my mind. But thinking back on it now, I feel a bit icky. Eight pounds is a good-sized baby. Eight pounds is more than what my niece weighed at birth. I put that on my body in one week.
I spent my teen years and a good portion of my twenties hating my body. It's only been recently, as I've entered my late twenties, that I've been able to appreciate my body for what it is. That's not to say that my body issues magically disappeared. It will always bother me that my lower half is wider than my upper half. I will probably always appreciate my height while hating my long torso. But I managed to overlook the flaws and focus on the good. Until I got pregnant. No, until I gave birth. Pregnancy gave me curves and made me feel voluptuous and supple. My postpartum body made me weep.
A week after Grady was born, I was changing my clothes and Shawn said to me, "babe! You look three months pregnant!" in a congratulatory tone. As the tears started to flow, he quickly tried to fix the damage by saying, "no, it's a good thing! A few days ago you looked six months pregnant!" (And then I killed him. I am writing this from jail.) The thing was, I did look three months pregnant. And that was okay! I had just given birth! But I didn't feel okay. I felt huge and jiggly and more insecure about my body than I had ever felt before. I didn't know what to expect from my postpartum body. I still don't know what to expect from my postpartum body.
I hit my pre-pregnancy weight about six months after Grady was born. I had been hovering about five pounds above it for a few months thanks to no effort on my part (I'm not trying to be all pro-breastfeeding here but seriously, it melted away the pounds) so when I decided to cut back on sweets, it was a fairly quick and easy slide back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Which was great. Awesome! Cause for celebration! But also a little depressing. Because even though the scale told me one thing, the reality of my body is an entirely different story. I am jiggly in places where I never jiggled before. My abs are pretty much non-existent. My once perky butt is now flat and saggy. I'm a mess is what I'm saying.
I've been participating in Jennie's Biggest Blogging Loser since January. I have been eating salads and cooking more and trying to avoid sugar and processed foods. I have gone to yoga once a week - every week - since October. I feel like I'm making the right choices. But it's not enough. I want to be proud of my body. I want to feel physically strong. I want to feel healthy. But ... I also want to wear a bikini this summer. And I kind of hate myself for that. I hate that vanity is playing any part in my attempt at a new, healthy lifestyle.
This is my long-winded and twisty way of asking how you approach your weight / health. Are you motivated by your appearance or something deeper? Have you ever struggled with a significant change to your body? How do I work to improve myself without feeling like my current state isn't enough?