Growing up, I was always on the thin side. Part of it was due to my metabolism, and then in my teenage years, part of it was due to a very low sense of self esteem. I struggled with my body image and would panic if I started to gain weight. This continued well into my 20s though by that point I think it was a combination of being a perfectionist and needing to control something (after dealing with Sweet B’s autism diagnosis), my body image issues, and clinical depression. Whatever the case, it was an issue that I needed to address but never really did anything about. At least not until after my last pregnancy. Loving my post pregnancy body was something, at first, that I could not deal with. In fact, I hated it. I didn’t hate pregnancy, but I hated what it had done to my body.
Pregnancy changes women in so many ways, we know this to be true. The weight that we gain is necessary but sometimes it becomes a struggle to lose that weight after the baby is born. With V and Sweet B, I didn’t have that problem. Why? Well it was my own doing and my own thoughts that convinced me that I needed to be back under 100 pounds or at least hovering around that weight.
I was wrong, of course. And I think this also contributed to my not being able to breastfeed them longer.
I was determined, however, that after my pregnancy with Squeaker- it would be different. I gained roughly 45 pounds with her. Though I was also slightly underweight when I got pregnant. I had a fairly healthy appetite and I also started reading about proper nutrition since I intended to breastfeed for as long as possible.
My doctor assured me that if I ate like I was when I was pregnant, I would be able to maintain my milk supply.
But for the control freak in me, the perfectionist that insisted that I needed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight… it just wasn’t settling well.
I was always one of those women who shopped in the Juniors department. I wore a size 2 or 3, depending on the brand. I was thin. And I felt like it was something that I needed to maintain. It was one of the few things that I had control over when other things were falling apart.
It was also dangerous.
I was never formally diagnosed with an eating disorder, but sometimes I think I should have sought one out.
Would it have changed anything? I really can’t say.
But I digress.
After having Squeaker, I looked through my wardrobe. All of my small or extra-small skirts, my small shirts, my size 3 pants… all of it. I examined them with disdain because I knew there wasn’t going to be any way possible that I could shimmy my way into those again. Some of them never even made it over my thighs.
And at first, I cried. I lamented the fact that I would never be able to wear those clothes again.
But once I got over it, or at least pulled it together enough, I reached for one of Kyle’s sweatshirts and a favorite pair of yoga pants.
I admit, I don’t really get dressed beyond yoga pants and hoodie if I’m not going anywhere. I don’t see the point or at least not yet. But that’s another post for another day.
I shoved all of those old clothes back into drawers- out of sight, out of mind.
I looked at my old dresses and skirts with longing, but as I did so… I took a deep breath, looked over at Squeaker sleeping peacefully in her bassinet. And I suddenly realized something.
It wasn’t about me.
My weight wasn’t about me, it was about maintaining a healthy body weight so I could breastfeed. It was about maintaining a healthy weight for my height. It was about learning to live a healthier lifestyle at my current weight.
For the first time in my life, I was over three digits on the scale and I wasn’t cringing at the thought.
It took me three kids to get there and a bit of maturity.
I may never be able to get back into my size 2 jeans or size 3 skirts that I bought in the Juniors department. And I’m okay with that. Most of them probably aren’t appropriate “mom-wear” anyway.
I’m still thin, just a healthy thin. And I want to keep it that way.
My post pregnancy body is nothing to be ashamed over and I’m proud of it… most days. But on the days that I start to regress, I remind myself of how it used to be. How obsessive I was, how crazed I would get- over every little inch, every little pound, every calorie that I consumed.
Yes, maybe I could stand to lose a few pounds but I’m not going to go out of my way to do it. I’m not going to put myself or my health at risk. I love my post pregnancy body for what it is. It’s my body. I’ve put it through hell.
But it’s my body and I love it.