I’m probably going to get some eye rolls for this one.
I have been an athlete all my life. I have been active all my life. My husband and I found out we were pregnant and I continued to be active to the best of my ability. My first trimester was rough and I couldn’t workout as much as I wanted to, but I was still active. I worked out a good amount in my second trimester with help from the ladies at BIRTHFIT. I worked as a manager/waitress throughout my pregnancy until varicose veins showed up and the weight of my babe got to be too heavy to stand for more than thirty minutes at a time. I was most active towards the end of my pregnancy once we hit 36 weeks and we were in the safe zone.
After the birth of our girl and eight very long weeks of recovery at home, I began to lose muscle. As time went on, I continued to lose muscle. When my babe was eight months I dropped two dress sizes. Diaper ass, saggy pants to the point where wearing a belt was necessary at all times. My leggings didn’t even fit anymore. None of my clothes fit. A couple of weeks ago, I dropped more weight. I dropped more muscle. I currently weigh less than what I weighed in high school. That was about ten years ago.
I haven’t been able to work out because the energy it takes to do so is given to my babe through the milk I provide for her. I do not sleep, I barely have time to eat during the day, other than a solid dinner. When I do eat, I can’t just stuff my face with pizza for health reasons, but also because there are better sources of fuel for my girl and I. I’ll stuff my face with a muffin some mornings but that’s about it unless I want to feel like a heroin addict scratching my skin. I know other mothers can relate to the lack of time, maybe not the whole heroin thing but the juggling act, yes.
I was active and continued to be active throughout my pregnancy so I didn’t gain much weight other than what was necessary to grow my babe. I took care of myself. I took responsibility for my pregnancy and my actions. I am continuing to do so to the best of my ability, but where that has left me is down forty pounds when I only gained thirty pounds during pregnancy. My weight is brought up all the time.
“You look so good for having a baby.”
“Oh my gosh, you’ve lost so much weight. You look good.”
I appreciate the intended compliment but I am ten months into being a mother and I am still healing. It doesn’t take six weeks. It may not be obvious because according to you, “I look great”. But the truth is, I am not as strong as I once was, I am too skinny and feel uncomfortable in my skin. My clothes don’t fit. I go insane when I don’t workout but can’t get myself to a damn class. My legs don’t rub together when I walk (yes, I take pride in that). I don’t stand up as straight, my back hurts, I don’t squat as heavy, I could go on. You may have just rolled your eyes, but I don’t care. Frankly, fuck your eye roll. This whole thing about being skinny is bullshit. I want to be healthy. My body has changed and I’m learning to be comfortable with the temporary skin I’m in after housing a babe, giving birth, and continuing to provide for her in every way. Don’t get me wrong, I am damn proud of this body. I understand this whole thing is a process.
My point is this, be sensitive to how you speak to new mothers. Just as you wouldn’t say, “Oh my gosh you gained so much weight, I can’t believe you just had a baby.”, please don’t tell me the opposite. I’ve gone through a shit ton of changes and I’m still adjusting. Yes, ten months after giving birth–still adjusting.
Be sensitive to those around you. Be aware of how the words you speak effect others in the room. Not just the mother you are speaking to but think about how that sets up expectations and false realities for other mothers in the community, women in society.
Thank you for your compliment, but can you tell me I’m looking stronger, not thinner?
I invite you to be extra sensitive with your words on this hump day, and hopefully a little more everyday.