Monday, January 31, 2011

Body After Baby or Babies

The body that comes with having a baby or babies is absolutely a huge adjustment. It's something no one really could have prepared me for & it was definitely a huge shock! I wish that I could hop in a time machine & go back to Sarah in the teen/young adult years & just give her a huge slap across the face! Back then I was so obsessed with my weight & thought I was never skinny/fit enough. I want to ask that girl, "What on earth were you complaining about, appreciate yourself more!". 

The young women of today need to appreciate what they have while they have it instead of focusing in on what their body is not. Young ladies, let me put it into a lil' perspective for you, imagine a new t-shirt if you will (this will represent your young fine body). Now imagine someone stretching that shirt as far out as it could possibly go from like every angle (being pregnant). Now imagine a person letting go of that t-shirt (body after you have the baby). That shirt does not just snap back to its originally condition. That shirt looks really different & parts of that shirt definitely are not in the same places they used to be. I am not saying I would trade this new body for the world & I am not saying that getting back into shape is impossible to acquire, but I just wish young ladies would adjust their focus a little bit onto the things that really matter. Appreciate your God given body & also realize the way you look on the outside is not the only thing its all about. It should not be your primary focus.

Having the ability to carry babies is an absolute honor & despite how I feel sometimes it is beautiful because without these changes I have endured, I would not have my 3 lil' ladies to show for it. Learning to love the new body I am in, despite my perfectionism, is a process that I am still working my way through. The marks that come & the things that fall, its hard not to miss the old body at times. I have decided that instead of sitting around feeling bad about it, I am going to make this new body look as fabulous as possible! I want to workout & get fit, but also make sure I have an inner confidence & love for myself to go with it!

As mommies, its so hard to find that "me time". We so often find ourselves in mommy uniform (no make-up, a ponytail, sweats, a large t-shirt, pajamas, drool on one shoulder & snot on another) & the feeling of "beautiful" is so far from our thoughts. But sometimes we have to just make that time because if mommy is happy, then everyone is happy. I got a pedicure the other day (3rd one in my life) & it was absolutely heavenly! By the time I got back home, I was ready to take on the world again. It takes just lil' things to make you feel just that much better. If I get the opportunity to sneak in a lil' cardio or put on a lil' mascara it is amazing how different I feel.

I think the first step in feeling beautiful again (inside & out) after having a baby, is changing our communication. Often times we are our worst critic & greatest enemy. When someone says, "Wow, I can't believe you just had a baby. You look so good!" we are the first ones to comment back "Yeah, but I still have a lot of baby weight to lose". Why do we do that? Why are we so quick to put ourselves down. We especially have to watch the way we communicate to our husbands. I remember early in our marriage I kept saying to Justin so often when I got dressed, "Well, it makes me look fat". Then one day he turned to me & said, "I don't think you are fat, but if you continue to say it to me over & over again then I am going to start believing it too". That really hit home for me. Why was I putting myself down to my husband? Insecurity. Thinking back, it was not always looks that first attracted me to people but rather the inner confidence they exuded. We need to constantly keep ourselves in check and change our thinking.

Fitness is obviously another step in helping to restore confidence & the "feeling" of being beautiful again after having babies. I am definitely not saying there is a perfect size out there that all women need to reach, but it is important to be healthy & feel good about the way you look. I have found that the scale can be a very discouraging tool in this process, so I think that going by the way you look to yourself & feel is the best way to go. Cardio is a must! This sometimes requires a lot of creativity depending on how many children you have. You can wait until after they go to bed or wake up extra early, but my personal preference is finding things I can do with the kids (I don't want anything cutting into my sleep time, lol!). I love going for fast paced walks with my double stroller around the neighborhood or through the mall even. Gentle hiking is also a cardio past time that I enjoy & the girls love the fresh air & scenery. An online site I found to be very helpful for my actual workouts & dieting tips for after a baby is Better Body After Baby. It has diets that cater to breastfeeding moms & also has workout videos that target those especially tough areas after giving birth. Lose It is 1 of the easiest & most detailed fitness trackers I have ever seen & already knows a lot of calorie counts for most of the restraunt & fast food places (that you should not be going to).

The 3rd thing I think is extremely important to realize while trying to get back into shape after having a baby is realizing it is a process that is not going to happen overnight. It's a complete lifestyle change that is going to require a lot of commitment & changes in our priorities, but in the end it will all be worth it! Our bodies our beautiful & maybe we can't erase all those stretchmarks, but I am going to make being a mommy look as good as possible!

*Note to husbands/daddies: It helps a lot when you remind us that we are not just mommies, but women. Taking us out on dates & giving us a reason to dress to the tens is so refreshing. Romancing us from time to time (not just on holidays) with a thoughtful gift, kind words, or flowers all plays into making us feel appreciated. Giving us a break from diaper duty to enjoy a nice lunch with the ladies assists in maintaining our sanity. Not just saying "I love you", but also showing us helps keep the husband and wife relationship strong.

Well, I have said my piece for today.

M&M Momma

After having Austin Rose, November 10, 2010

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