I have struggled with weight and food issues since I started college and began to use eating as a way to comfort and shield myself while in an emotionally abusive relationship. And it's been a roller coaster of a ride ever since. I've found a lot of healing along the way, and pregnancy was instrumental in accepting my body for the miraculous things it can do just as it is.
I called my sister when my regular pants didn't fit. I called her when I could see the inside of my belly button. I reveled in the fact I was carrying the boys all in front, looking like I had swallowed a basketball (or two). I loved being round and pregnant.
|This was taken at 30 weeks. I used most of my standing up minutes that day getting good belly pictures.|
Between the babies being born, and the stress of them being in the NICU I lost about 50 pounds in 4 weeks. I had yo-yo'ed in weight from the beginning, though. I lost 15 pounds in the first trimester from not eating much due to near-constant nausea. I only gained about 16 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight to delivery, but the doctors weren't concerned because with the first trimester weight loss it fell into an acceptable range of gain.
So there I was with colicky, refluxy newborns. Weight was the last thing on my mind. I ate more food, and of better quality, than I had ever eaten before. Between pumping for and then nursing two babies, I needed all that fuel.
But-- and here's the kicker-- I was in survival mode. I did not exercise. I hardly even showered. I certainly didn't sleep much. Mostly I sat on the couch and nursed the boys and ate. Day and night. Literally all.the.time.
I continued on like that for months. And by the time things settled down and I actually began to see glimmers of a life off the couch, I had gained back ALL the weight, and then some. And my new normal had settled onto me like the extra pounds.
Right now, I am heavier and unhealthier than I have ever been. I am not brave enough to give you specific numbers, but suffice it to say, I am a fat mama. I'm scared to diet because I intend to breastfeed the babies until they self-wean and I am terrified of losing my milk supply again, even if they don't rely on it as their only sustenance anymore.
I understand that I don't have to fit society's expectation of a woman's body. I never will, and that I can embrace. I loved my body when it was strong and healthy, no matter the numbers attached.
Right now I am searching to find a way back to strength, back to health. I know it will be easier when spring arrives and we can go to the park again. Until then, I have taken the first steps to reclaiming a part of myself from before, one that can co-exist with my mama-self. I joined a yoga studio and started going to class again, and I scheduled an appointment to talk to a therapist to begin working through the trauma of this past year.
I will move more and eat less. I will keep reading about other real women who love their bodies. I will stop hiding behind the camera and allow myself to be photographed more right now, as I am.
|I can't even find a good "bad" picture of me to share.|
And Lauren? This one's for you. Thanks for getting the ball rolling for me to write about this.
|This ended up being the day before the boys were born. I'm glad I have this picture.|