I look 5 months pregnant when I am 5 months postpartum. Sometimes, I get nervous in public wondering if people are going to congratulate me on my pregnancy when I am without my baby. How awkward would that be? Most of the weight is in my stomach, similar to when I was pregnant. I notice it when I carry Clark around because I naturally set him on my belly pouch, which makes a great little seat. The tummy ledge happened with Cooper, too. Over and over again people reassured me I would shed the weight once I started breastfeeding. It turns out that isn’t true for everyone. I didn’t lose the weight until I stopped breastfeeding and guess what, that was when I was already three months pregnant with Clark. Even though pregnant, within the first week of nursing I dropped 7 pounds. I calculated it the other day. I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding since April of 2015--3 whole years. No wonder my body doesn’t feel or look like it used to.
But guess what? I am choosing not to complain but instead to love my body. I have been blessed to be pregnant twice and am now blessed with two healthy babies. And after Cooper’s birth experience, I recognize with gratitude I am also healthy and alive. As I have mentioned before, with Clark I had a scheduled C-section. In forgetful moments, I find myself critiquing my C-section scar and the swollen section above it. I have learned that this is kindly referred to as a “mother’s apron.” Then I remember the promises I made before I gave birth to Clark, a promise to myself and to God that I would be grateful for any outcome as long as my baby was healthy, and I was alive-- even if that meant scars, tearing, bleeding, surgeries, etc. So when I look at my belly scar, my little mother’s apron, and my extra 15 lbs, I remind myself of these promises.
So the next step is how to love and embrace the changes in my body, without using them as an excuse to throw up the flag and surrender to the weight gain? How do I find time to exercise when I am barely finding time for other essential priorities like sleeping, showering and eating? The reality is I am still up all night with Clark. Last night I decided to write down every time I got up with him because the night would soon pass, I wouldn’t remember the exact number and I wouldn’t be able to give you a true accounting.
Well, he went down at 7:00 p.m. Then back up at 9:30 p.m. when I nursed him. I went to bed at 10:00 p.m. hoping that because I had just nursed him, I would get at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Nope. I was up at 11:15 p.m., 1:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 4:15 a.m., 5:15 a.m. and finally up for good at 6:45 a.m.
How in the world am I supposed to have energy to exercise when I am not sleeping? I am barely finding the energy to be a mom of two while coaching lacrosse and running the Be Better Movement.
My conclusion: Sometimes everything looks black or white to me. I am either going to be all in or all out. That is one of the reasons I love the #bebetter52 challenges. They are not telling us to change our whole lifestyle, but to just add little challenges weekly. I need to remember that eating healthier and exercising doesn’t have to be so dramatic. The reality is I won’t be able to fit hour-long gym sessions into my life right now or go on an extreme weight loss diet while I am nursing and need the extra calories.
I think it comes down to committing to eating healthier and exercising even though I won’t see the results in weight loss. This week, making healthy smoothies is my focus and a great way to sneak tons of extra nutrition into my diet and my family’s. Cooper loves the morning smoothies and so does my husband. When Cooper had a cold a while back, I loved the suggestion of adding an orange into a smoothie for the extra vitamin C.
Here is what I put in my smoothies this week:
Frozen Kale and Spinach (buy fresh, cut it up and put in freezer)
Natural peanut butter
Plant-based protein powder
Coconut milk (chocolate flavor, which has extra sugar but so yummy)
A little coconut oil or avocado oil
Going forward this week, I am not going to be so black and white. I want to find the gray zone and do little things to improve my health. My goal is to love my changing body but at the same time to take care of it. Our bodies are truly amazing, and I believe it is a huge responsibility we are given to take care of them and LOVE THEM.