Friday, December 7, 2012

The Postpartum Body and You

I think I was well prepared for the changes my body went through during pregnancy. I knew about pretty much everything I experienced... the swelling, the achy feet, the constant peeing, the flatulence. But this postpartum stuff has sort of taken me by surprise. Not that there's been much I hadn't heard about before. I think the difference is, the things you experience during pregnancy you know are just temporary so you deal with them knowing they'll go away soon. While some postpartum stuff is just temporary, a lot of it is not. A lot of the changes to your body are permanent and it's kind of weird trying to get used to this new body that is completely different than the one you've known all your life.

One thing I was extremely happy about was the quick weight loss. I gained over 50 pounds while I was pregnant and was really worried about getting rid of all that extra weight. I felt like I hadn't gone too crazy with the eating so the 50 pound gain seemed like a lot. Lucky for me most of that weight was fluid. I think I lost 35 pounds within the first 2 months. The last 15 pounds came off somewhat steadily over the last 2-3 months from a combination of nursing and going on almost daily walks.

The thing is, even though I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body looks completely different. There's now a small pooch on my stomach covered in stretch marks and slightly saggy skin. There's an extra fold and a scar from my c-section. My thighs, torso, and breasts also have their fair share of stretch marks. And I'm still getting used to these huge (less than perky) bewbs. Ok so maybe they aren't that big, but to me they are. I'm not used to things bouncing around when I run or jog down the stairs. I used to think I wanted big boobs but now that I have them I realize what a pain they are! On the up side, I have 2 new places to hold pencils.

During my pregnancy I think I lost about 5 hairs total, so I wasn't surprised when a couple months after giving birth my hair began to fall out in mass quantities. The shower drain would get clogged every morning from the fall out. I couldn't run my hand over my hair without losing several strands. I was starting to get worried I was going to go bald when the loss tapered off. I still lose a little more than normal, but it's definitely getting better. Which is a good thing because my temples were starting to look thin. Also, my hair was on EVERYTHING. I felt like a cat shedding its winter coat. So annoying to have hairs everywhere! The hair loss wasn't such a bad thing though because that thick luxurious mane took a really long time to dry in the morning. I'm glad to have my usual amount of hair back and will never wish for thick hair again.

One thing I was not prepared for was a change in my skin. My skin used to be so oily and now it's dry as a bone! I have to wear moisturizing make-up to keep the flaky patches at bay. Which really isn't so terrible especially since my acne has all but disappeared! Woohoo! I'm hoping it lasts but I'm pretty sure it will go back to normal as soon as I stop nursing. The one bad thing about having dry skin is ALL my skin is dry, including my scalp. I've tried everything and it's still dry and flaky and itchy. I've always had problems with my scalp, but never this bad. I really can't wait for this to go away!

I lost a lot of my muscle tone while I was pregnant, mainly because I didn't exercise like I should have. Unfortunately that means I now have flat mommy butt. Nothing a few lunges can't fix though, right? The good news is my arms are getting pretty tough! Carrying a baby around all the time will definitely help in the toning department.

I've heard the sentiments before about how women didn't appreciate their pre-pregnancy body until it was gone, but didn't understand it until now. I do miss the old me. But, this new body is all I've got and really it's not so bad. In fact it's helped me to appreciate some of the things I formerly saw as flaws. And the things that have changed I'll eventually get used to. My body is still healthy and allows me to be active and do the things I want to do. Plus it gave me my beautiful daughter so what more can I ask?


heidi said...

Flatulence is a funny word!

The pencils comment made me laugh really hard.

I went to the doc for a wellness exam this week--reminded me to be grateful for health!

And day before yesterday, I went for a jog after some time off... Good news! My body hasn't forgotten how! (Paul always thinks it's funny when I say that--I think he pictures me lunging wildly this way and that, trying to "remember" how to run.)

But: legs still work!

Rachel said...

I giggled aloud at your description of the post-partum belly. Yep. That about sums it up.