I Want My Body Back!
26 06 2013 • Tanya Kazeminy Mackay
Confession. I gained a lot of weight in each of my pregnancies. I remember looking wistfully at my still small wrists in my 8th month, and thinking this is the only part of me that has not swelled to thrice its size. But it all felt kind of fine, because I figured it would all fall off once I started breastfeeding…and due to a naturally overactive sense of optimism I was convinced I would be the one that was slimmer after baby than before.
I read Heat, I read Grazia , I watched all the celebrities back on the catwalk within weeks/days/hours of giving birth. So I knew how it is supposed to go. No pressure, these are the facts right?
Ummmm, wrong. This was not to be the case. I lost 8 lbs with the birth (my son was 8.8lbs!) and the rest of the weight just settled itself in for a long winters stay all snuggled around my body like an array of soft cosy cushions. And instead of just relaxing, I freaked out. I set myself dietary and exercise goals that were impossible, unhealthy and totally unachievable (one rice cake for breakfast and a 20k run of a Monday kind of thing). Each time I failed to succeed, I beat myself up and reset my impossible goals fort he next day and so on, and so on, and so on. And it really got in the way of my confidence. The harder I fought, the less it shifted. Until finally, after a year of full warfare, I started to see a vague outline of my ribs again.
And I did a lot of thinking about why it was so important to me to be a certain size by a certain date. And I realised I kind of felt like a failure if I didn’t. This is kind of the problem with all the celebrity reference we have in our lives. I mean in some ways it is great – those lovely women show the world that pregnant is beautiful and they give us a lot of confidence to be out and proud of our bumps. But on the other side they send out a message that women can just snap right back – and if you don’t you have somehow failed.
But there is good reason for the old adage 9 months on nine months off. So if you can just put your expectations of yourself on hold, if you can just sit comfy with your cosy cushions there will be a point where your body is ready to let it all go. It will probably be the same point when you are feeling more confident in yourself as a mama, and the point when you have sort of relaxed into your new life a bit.
So when I found myself in the exact same cosy cushion state after my second son – I refused to call the troops to battle. This time I decided to trust that one day I would reclaim my hip bones, but until my body is ready to spring clean get lean and lose the cushions I am not going to make any great progress. I tried to keep myself to a few rather than the whole pack and I would do the odd bit of gentle exercise. But I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it. I decided to just relax and be a new mom and not get caught up in what my body looked like. It was so much more fun so much less stressful.
And exactly a year later, I started to see the vague outline of my ribs again.
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