Before kids, I had a cute bod. I had never had any sort of health issues, I enjoyed running, I ate decently and it was the perfect formula for a 21 year old. At 22, I became pregnant with my daughter and I was over the moon. Since I was so tiny beforehand, I didn’t start showing until 24/25 weeks. When that adorable little baby bump finally popped out, I went a little crazy and BOOM! I gained 70 lbs by the time she was born.
She was born in December and by January, I was dunzo with the extra weight. Breastfeeding had helped a lot and some of the weight had fallen off, but there was pesky 20-25 lbs that still clung on, so I signed up at a gym right down the street and went 1-2 times a day, lived off Slim-Fast, Special K cereal and water and bang, I was in a size 0 which I hadn’t been in since I was a teen. I was tiny again and I loved it. We weren’t planning on another kid until our daughter turned 4, so I figured I could ride this tiny train until then. Then, surprise! I got pregnant.
It was a boy. And boy, I grew. It wasn’t 70 lbs, but for some reason, he made me bigger even only gaining 45 lbs with him. My stomach was tight, but other things had started to sag. Like my boobs, which were just not feeling the breastfeeding this time, so my milk took its sweet time coming in. When he was born, he was bigger than my daughter had been. With his health issues (a story for another time), I wasn’t able to breastfeed and also was dealing with PPD. I couldn’t even pump, because I could not produce enough milk to make dent in what he needed. I tried mother’s milk and had a super awesome Medela double breast pump, but nothing helped. So, the magical qualities of losing the weight by breastfeeding my daughter did not help in this case. The weight stuck and I gave up. I tried joining a gym a week after he was born and gave up after two weeks because nothing was happening and I was exhausted. So, I thought I’d give myself some time and joined another gym when he was a year and a half. It had childcare, so I figured it was finally time and I’d start losing weight. Nope. Nothing happened. The lowest I’ve been since giving birth to my son 2 years ago is 140, which is 15 lbs over what I’ve been most of my life.
It has eaten me up. Losing weight is something that is constantly on my mind and it weighs (literally) me down. My favorite pair of jeans are by Elizabeth and James and I bought them after having my daughter. They’re a size 0 and I wore them constantly until I got pregnant with my son and now they just hang there in my closet, tucked back away so they can’t see my shame and I miss them. I refuse to get rid of them. I’ve thought about it, but can’t seem to pull the trigger because I’m still holding out hope that one morning, I’ll actually get up at 5:30 in the morning and drive to the gym and get back in that groove. It was definitely a high two years ago, but I was almost 24 and now I’ve just turned 27 and things seem to be more difficult. I need more energy to get around and since our daughter gets up around 3am for a potty break, getting up at 5am just doesn’t seem fun to me.
The frustrating part is that I know my kids couldn’t care less what I look like. I’m still the mom who makes them breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m still the mom who buys them popcorn when we go to Target and the one who snuggles them on the couch when we watch Toy Story. They literally do not care what I look like and I live for my kids. They’re my joy and the reason I stay at home, but there’s still that part of me that longs to be thin again and feel good about myself. There’s no happy medium when you’re happy and also unhappy with yourself.
Ah, motherhood and trying to find the old you at the same time. It’s an ongoing battle and one that I have yet to conquer. I know we’re told to love our bodies, and I am grateful for the two lives mine brought into this world, but it doesn’t mean I quit wanting the old me back. I have no answers or words of wisdom to impart in how to accept you in the state you’re in if you’re unhappy with it. But, I can say, i’m here with you and we’re in this together.