As per usual, I am writing about my own experience here, not because I think it’s the right way or best way or even a good way, but because one of the best parts of having all these internet friends is reading about their different experiences. If at any point you think I’m intentionally judgmental or preachy or na-nee-na-nee-boo-boo, let me know so I can tighten up the tone since that’s not at all my intention.
I am also not editing in the interests of time (and I’m wordy as all hell) so feel free to skim or skip or whatever. (Ha, like you needed my permission for that, duh.)
This Wednesday my son was twelve weeks old and I am pretty close to feeling like my old self again. The pants I bought a month ago are too big, I went back to underwire bras so my b**bs look less floppy, and I’m currently wearing a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, albeit ones that were a little big before.
Honestly, though, it’s a bit difficult to remember my pre-pregnancy self. I haven’t been her for almost a full year. I somehow didn’t expect that post-partum recovery would be also be post-pregnancy recovery, but many of the habits I’m trying to undo I picked up during pregnancy, not as a result of birth.
Here’s an example. A few weeks ago I noticed that my walk was awkward and stiff, like someone trying to not jiggle, and I realized I’d started the stiff walk while pregnant and unwilling to waddle. After a few days of intentional swaying and sashaying, my whole body felt better.
Full disclosure: I had a c-section after many hours of contractions but never having progressed to the point of pushing. (After 12 hours I’d dilated to like 2. Yea, shoot me. With a needle. Which they did. And things went downhill, but that’s a story for another post, one I keep promising and not getting to.) My recovery, therefore, was post-surgical recovery rather than post-pushing. I’m not having any problems with incontinence, didn’t have any trouble necessitating emergency kegels, and didn’t have a hard time with h****oids until recently and probably only because I stopped doing all those healthy thing (like eating fiber and drinking water) once it wasn’t directly impacting the health of my kid.
Put another way, coffee quickly became far more necessary than bran, okay?
The reality is that I seem to err on the side of too-tightly wound, not the other way, something that worked against me when I was supposed to be dilating but fabulously when the goal was to tighten and shrink back to my former self.
The first week was the worst. Who knew how often one uses one’s abs? Someone who’s just had abdominal surgery, that’s who knows. Luckily I’d already gotten into the habit of rolling to my side before getting up from a laying position, using my arms to propel my body off the couch, and not doing anything unless I couldn’t sweet talk my husband into doing it. (Like you didn’t do that in your third trimester?) All these things came in really handy right after my kiddo was cut out of me.
I was up and walking around town by week two, and although I overdid it a few times and walked more slowly than usual, it wasn’t bad. I was driving by week three – and both of our cars have manual transmissions.
Week four I was sick and tired of being achy, thankyouverymuch, but realize now that most of the achiness was my skeleton recovering from being pregnant and carrying a baby awkwardly lest I wake the monster. Note to pregnant women: do pushups while you can and some kind of back stretching/ strengthening exercises through third tri. Your posture (and spine and back and legs and neck) will thank you when you’re contorted in an attempt to get that kid to stay latched on to your b**by, I promise.
Weeks five and six (and seven) were my low point. Even low-level pain and discomfort gets annoying after a while, and by this point I thought I’d be able to move more easily, but add the sudden eight-pound-appendage (a cute one, but still) to the post-surgical-recovery and you get… nope! Thus the annoyance.
By week eight the jeans I bought around week six were too big and falling off my (still larger than normal) arse and I could *almost* squeeze my upper body into pre-pregnancy clothes.
Now, week 12, I’m wearing most of the tops from my pre-pregnancy days (with a tank top underneath to help contain the jiggle) and able to keep my mid-section sucked in about 85% of the time. (Pre-pregnancy, I was in the habit of always keeping my abs tightened. Weird, I know.) My gut is a shadow of it’s former self (if the shadow was somehow bigger than reality) but I can deal. Soon enough I won’t have to figure out whether to tuck my extra rolls under my waist band or above when I sit down.
Also one of my b**bs is bigger (and thus flatter and hanging lower – awesome) than the other because I always started breastfeeding my baby on the left side so it got more of a workout. Consider this a cautionary tale.
So there you go. I know I’m lucky to have good genetics that mean I don’t have to worry too much about weight, even post-partum, but perhaps you are too and are still slightly freaked out that YOUR BODY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME like I was. And sure, I’m sure that’s true for a lot of women, but not all of them. According to my husband my booty is wider (he thinks this is a compliment) but other than that, I’m pretty much where I started (albeit with lopsided boobs and an extra roll or two in the middle).
Now, my face has aged like a decade, methinks….