5. You may not be ready for the body you end up with.
I gained the most weight during my second trimester with a total of 33 pounds for the entire pregnancy. Upon delivery, I only lost 9 pounds. Within a couple weeks of returning home, I lost 14 pounds – fastest weight loss ever!! which was mostly water weight anyway. The fact that I had to give up dairy for Baby J’s tummy issues may have also helped the issue.I still have a nagging 10 pounds to go and that weight does not seem to want to budge.
Of course I haven’t really done much to reduce that weight in the first place. Since J was born, I’ve been to the gym once, gone for a light jog twice, done 5 minutes of the kettle ball once, done ab exercise 4 times, and yoga once….hardly enough to lose 10 pounds.
I do think though that the reluctant 10 pounds are still hanging around because: (a) I am breastfeeding and the body knows I need that extra weight for all the nutrients my baby needs; (b) I am not doing anything in particular to reduce that weight; and (c) my diet, though healthy, also has included unhealthy amounts of desserts pretty much after every meal – be it Oreo cookies, brownies, cakes, laddoos, gulab jamuns, and other things (e.g., my addiction for Chai and Glucose biscuits).
Anyway, so other than the weight, some other physical issues I continue to face are: back pain (constant motion of bending and picking up J), tingling in both hands occasionally from holding J rocking and soothing him to sleep, joint pain/aches overall (relaxin still at work and carrying the extra weight isn’t helping).
If hemorrhoids are my post-partum reality, another reality that hit during the later stages of pregnancy and continue today is my bust size. I went from a happy medium to a large size and I am not happy at all. I believe I have a healthy body image but my breasts depress me mostly because most of my dresses don’t zip up anymore and the zippers get stuck at the upper back. I bought a new sports bra from Lulu Lemon just so I can go jogging despite the large bust (the bra is another story…they seem to have a natural push up element to them as if women with a large bust need more “pushing”! and make me look like a hootchie when I am jogging….I HATE IT!).
Every day I have to go out, I stand and stare at my closet trying to figure out what I could potentially fit into. I DO NOT want to wear my maternity pants (which I did for a number of weeks. Thank Goodness for summer that I can at least find a few dresses or skirts that I didn’t outfat). I haven’t yet come to terms with my new body. Ideally, I want to lose the 10 pounds and get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I want my C-cups back.
If I have to accept my new body, it’s not the worst thing but strange though it may sound, I do not want to spend money on new clothes so I am really hoping for my old body back. I wasn’t ready for the body I ended up with. It’s not all bad and I am very hopeful that I can exercise and diet my way to getting back in shape.
6. You may never have experienced emotional roller coasters like you will in the first few weeks, post-partum. Recognize it.
Thank goodness for my parents, especially my mom and Aaron who were my rocks during the first few weeks post partum. I was a hot mess crying for no reason, extremely short fused, very anger prone, always grumpy (the constipation, hemorrhoids, and sleeplessness DID NOT help).
My mother gave me a strong full body massage the second or third day we were home from the hospital. I enjoyed the massage and everything was fine until after I had showered. Right after the shower and over some trivial argument with my mom, I was an emotional wreck and started crying bucketfulls for no reason. I guess I did have reasons but at that particular moment, tears just flowed and I couldn’t think of why that was happening. Although, comforted by Aaron sitting by my feet on the floor and my mom by my side, in the midst of my tears, I kept telling them not to worry that I was crying so much, that it was normal hormonal crap that I was going through and that I would be fine.
The second time I cried, Baby J, Aaron and I were in the bathroom and I was crying for all that was physically upsetting to me. The third time I cried, I sat hooked to the breast pump, agonizing over what had become of me and not having enough milk for my child.
The fourth time I cried, I had had a major argument with my mother and had just yelled at Aaron over something. I felt extremely alone, misunderstood, undermined, and inadequate in every way as a mother. These were the major ones. I had a few minor episodes over personal misgivings, hormonal dances inside of me, and the stress of accepting my new identity. I had a number of angry bursts at Aaron or my mom, both of whom were always extremely understanding of my emotions and who let me have my way.
My arguments with my mom had to do with baby J’s nurturing. As a first time mom, despite being sleep deprived, in pain, emotionally and physically, I still wanted to be able to do everything for my baby. Every time he cried, I wanted to be able to console him but I needed time. However, every time he cried, my mother would come in to take him from me so I wouldn’t get stressed out and so she could console him.
While she meant well for both me and J, to me, her wanting to take him away symbolized her lack of trust in my ability to console my child. Of course this was not true but in my vulnerable state, I concocted all kinds of misgivings. My own fear was that if she did that every time, how would I ever learn to manage him by myself once they returned to India. I was reluctant to hand him over to her care even though I trusted her completely and unconditionally with him because I wanted to learn. She feared my impatience, stress, anger and frustrations and worried that I would take it out on J.
All of J’s crying (because of his tummy issues and because he was just a little baby and babies sometimes cry for no reason) only made me more impatient, stressed, angered, and frustrated. So, in the end, while we never reached an understanding, she made it work.
Feelings were hurt, words were spewed, anger was expressed, doors were banged, and much theatrics ensued (almost exclusively by me and for which I feel most ashamed), but as we always do, we got past it.
The emotional roller coaster is for real. The sooner you recognize it, the better it is for yourself and your loved ones who care enough to stick around and still love you despite the temporary monsterhood you may embody. I consider all of the above as being part of my baby blues. I was never depressed. Out of frustration and trying to find humor in the situations, I have uttered the following: (1) let’s return him; (2) let’s exchange him; and more recently, (3) let’s give him to the bogeyman to have him sleep trained and then return him to us – but I have never ever wanted to hurt or harm my child and those utterings were just ways of venting.