Now that we made it through the first year of Jordan’s life, there are so many things to look back on in amazement. So many emotions go along with that first year and I think I experienced every one of them. In retrospect, the first 4 months were really hard and even though it’s just a short time, it feels like forever when you’re in the thick of it.
Going on little sleep and breastfeeding all day and night is just plain HARD, no way around it. Over time, the lack of sleep catches up to you. Thank God Jordan started sleeping through the night at 4 months old, because I was really getting cuckoo about that time.
It’s also a journey that your body goes through from getting pregnant, growing a tiny human inside that gets bigger and bigger until you look like you’ve swallowed a giant balloon that’s about to burst! I actually enjoyed most of my pregnancy with Jordan, even though I was older, I kept working out and eating healthy and that made the biggest difference in how I felt. Of course, there were hard parts in the third trimester, but mostly I felt great and was just.so.happy and thankful to be pregnant with her!
You guys know that fitness has always been an important part of my life and I was three days out from competing in an NPC bikini contest when I realized I was five weeks pregnant! Even though we had been trying, I didn’t realize I was pregnant, because the tests I took at first said negative!
During those 10 month longs of pregnancy, your body goes through so many physical changes, but it takes time to lose the weight and get back to the level of fitness you were in pre-pregnancy. I’ve been very candid about my postpartum ‘body after baby’ and did personal recaps at 6 Weeks, 12 Weeks, 4 Months and 6 Months if you want to check those out.
It was almost exactly one year ago that I posted this pic of Jordan and I on Instagram after one particularly restless night. I still had a big, round soft belly, super tired eyes and hair that hadn’t been washed in I don’t know how long, but all I felt was just so in love with this precious newborn baby girl. The love is overwhelming! People said I was brave to post this pic but it’s just me. Most new mamas probably look and feel the same way at this stage! Unless they don’t, and then we hate them! #Ikid!
Now it’s been one whole year! and what a difference a year makes! I’ve caught up on sleep, have clean (darker) hair!, and I’m happy to be pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy level of fitness.
Y’all have been so kind to offer sweet compliments, especially on InstaStories Friday when I was trying on all those swimsuits for Spring Break! Thank you so, so much! I know I need to learn how to just take a compliment and say “thank you”, because my initial thought is always, “No! You can’t see up close the loose skin I have on my belly” and on and on picking myself apart. I did work hard during my pregnancy to stay in shape and I worked hard this last year to get back into shape, so I truly appreciate those of you who take the time to send a “You look great!” my way.
One thing I’ve gotten better about over the years is learning how to dress my body to help accentuate the parts I like and camouflage the parts I don’t! I’m super short (5’1) and petite, so I finally learned that it’s important that things fit properly (espeically not too big) or I’ll just look frumpy.
And since taking too many outfit selfies ?, I’ve realized which angles help me look better in pics. For example, if you pull your arm slightly back and bend the elbow, it’ll help define your shoulder. Twisting a little to the side makes you appear thinner.
So, I may be able to dress better to make my short self look as good as I can, but underneath, even a year after baby, I’m still struggling in some aspects. Although I’ve worked hard to lose the baby weight, regain my strength and muscles, and get back into good shape, I’m still left with loose belly skin that I’m self conscious about.
Is it okay to say that? I immediately think my message should (I always know there’s a problem when I’m thinking “should”) be “Love yourself loose skin and all. What’s the big deal?” And yet, I don’t love that part of my body. In fact, I really hate it.
I also have diastasis recti (ab muscle separation) that keeps my lower belly from being taut. My separation is only a couple fingers wide and I’ve heard it can close with certain exercises over time, but I’m still working on it. Lots of mamas have it because our abdominals separate and widen to accommodate the growing baby inside. Many people have it and don’t realize it, they just think they have a “pooch” they can’t get rid of. You can do exercises to help repair (try MamaStrong.com) and certain exercises can make it worse, so you have to be careful.
The “funny”? thing is, the leaner I get, the worse it looks! The pictures above are the same, but you can see how it looks worse in certain positions too.
I wanted to “go there” and share this with y’all in case any of you have this too and might be thinking you were the only one. But I don’t want to scare any expecting mamas! To write an honest “body after baby” post, I have to give you my true thoughts and the real deal photos of my post-baby body. Even though it’s scary for me to do so. When I share these pictures and my experience with you, I feel particularly self conscious, and this is why I shy away from bikinis. It’s also why I love these high waist workout capris (size XS for me) so much!
I was talking to my good friend Audrey about this post and these pictures and she was looking at me like she didn’t realize what I was talking about, meaning, the skin didn’t look “that bad” which led to a whole conversation about how hard we can be on ourselves and our own struggles and insecurities.
I feel like I’ve come a long way since my 20s and even though I don’t love my loose belly skin, I’m quite confident in who I am as a person. I’m one super loyal friend, a loving mom, a caring wife, generous sister, and responsible daughter. No, our bodies don’t define us as people, but we can still want to look good. Right?
Can I share a secret with you? Actually, it’s not even a secret, just something I only did super recently, so I haven’t had a chance to share. I saw my dermatologist last week (after these pics were taken) for a laser skin tightening procedure. He said I was a good candidate for it and recommended 3 or 4 total, one month apart and I’ll definitely let you know the results after I’m finished. I was even thinking I could do an InstaStory so you could see how easy and painless the 15-minute procedure is. Let me know if you’d like to see that.
I’m not at all embarrassed or self-conscious about doing that skin tightening procedure. I figure if there’s something that can be done to help improve it, and it’s not invasive or dangerous, I’ll try it! It’s about $300 per treatment, worth it in my book.
But, at the same time, as women, we don’t want to be caught up in how we look all the time. Heck, as mothers, we don’t have time to! I try to get a few workouts in a week, eat relatively healthy and get spiffed up once in awhile, but then get on with life and mothering and working and being a friend, wife, daughter, and just vigorously living life. Trying to enjoy it, take it all in, do all the things that need to get done in a day before I collapsed in a heap on my bed at the end of the day.
Sure I want to look good and feel great, yet also be healthy for myself and my kids, but I wonder can those two live in harmony in a healthy way? Without being vain or ego driven or on the other end of the spectrum, not caring at all how we look and letting ourselves go?
Many of you ask about my workout routine, which currently consists of training with weights 2-3 times a week and (ideally) doing cardio (usually running outside) a couple times a week also for about 30 mintues. I haven’t run in quite awhile because “I’ve been so busy” (isn’t that all of us), but I want to get back to it soon. I just love how running makes me feel – so alive and energetic and it puts me in such a great mood.
If I’m being strict with my diet, I mostly follow a plan with 40% protein, 35% carb, and 25% fat, staying around 1300 – 1400 calories a day. And I make sure to have treats on the weekend so I don’t go crazy. I love the Ghirardelli dark chocolate square and often eat a couple after dinner. I’m also a huge Haagen Dazs lover, it’s my guilty pleasure!
I’ve recently found that meditating just 10 minutes a day in the morning has helped calm me down and lower my stress levels significantly. I use the Headspace app and it’s a guided meditation that’s not at all cheesy or weird and I’m committed to sticking with it this year.
Sometimes I get so busy busy that when I sit down at my computer in the morning, I want to get straight to blogging and all the projects I’m working on, but I always remind myself that I need to take JUST 10 MINUTES to meditate and get centered and the rest of my workday will go infinitely better.
Since I “work” from home, I get to interact with my Mom and baby all day, and those interactions are more present and pleasant when I’m not so stressed out. Even though they don’t know it, I’m sure they appreciate that I’ve been meditating.
I realize this ‘Body After Baby’ post is deeper than a chirpy, “Look Great After Pregnancy in 10 Easy Steps!” but you guys deserve and have come to expect the real deal and I can only offer you my honest experience and feelings. I’m sure I didn’t say everything perfectly, but I hope my heart came through.
I’m extra aware with these quickly growing kids (two birthdays back to back!) that we only get this one life to live vibrantly and enjoy!
I want to be healthy and have energy (I need it!) to run around and play and chase after my kids and do silly things like handstands and cartwheels and somersaults with them!
I know my kids don’t care what my body looks like, they care how I treat them, that I pay attention to them and that we have fun times together.
I’m feeling all vulnerable and yet so happy to just be putting all this out there. It’s been a year in the making and I’m looking forward to sharing more of this journey with you in the future.