Posts Tagged ‘ body image ’

Here’s the One Thing You Might NOT Expect After Delivery

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Alesandra Dubin twinsHey Pregnant Ladies:

I hope very much that you, like a celebrity, look Us Weekly-cover ready a month after you deliver. Looking and feeling hot and sexy as a new mom would make for a few less things to worry about during that emotional, exhausted, insane first few weeks. And I want that for you.
And maybe that will happen. But just in case it doesn’t, I’m here to tell you a couple of personal tales that I hope can prepare you, in the event that you find yourself still looking pregnant for a really long time after you deliver. (If this is news to you, sorry I’m the one to—ahem—deliver it!)

Here’s the real deal: You’re probably going to look pregnant for a while, even a long while, after delivery.

Here are stories from my first three months postpartum, after delivering my full-term twins, that still make me cringe deep in my soul — the trauma may never fully fade, in fact. But now that I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight (50-plus pounds through hard, protracted work — no magic involved), I have the necessary distance (and confidence) to tell two tales from the trenches.

Story one, and perhaps the depths of my postpartum insecurity, came about two months postpartum: I was invited to a bachelorette party at a massive and well-known spa in Koreatown Los Angeles. If you are not familiar with the Korean-style spa experience, it’s totally communal, with nowhere to hide. For that reason, I almost declined the invite, but I somehow summoned my strength and went for it after all, knowing my friends would support me and pump me up.

Instead, at the entrance, the check-in lady took one look at my belly and told me pregnant women were not allowed inside. I turned around and cried into the arm of one of my dear friends, who did her best, as expected, to make me feel supported. Enough so, in fact, that I wiped my copious snot, told the woman I wasn’t pregnant but recently had two babies, and went on ahead into the locker room. I emerged wearing my maternity swimsuit — with enough fabric it could be a bed sheet—and a spa patron promptly yelled at me (in Korean, but the message was clear) that swimsuits were against the rules. Rather than let my further suffering take away from the bride’s experience, I collected my stuff, asked for my money back, and walked to the nearest bus bench at Crenshaw and Wilshire (not the most scenic of environments) to sob my eyes out and wait for my husband to pick me up. Aaaand scene.

Several weeks later — at almost exactly 12 weeks postpartum — I had a milestone. A business trip to Las Vegas provided the opportunity for my first flight since I got too pregnant to fly, and also my first time away from my babes. Thanks to an assortment of drapey new clothes, I felt somewhat more confident, and relished my success as a new mom in getting it together (logistically, mentally, physically) enough to maintain my professional responsibilities, even with eager flair and competence. All was going well until the return trip home: At the airport, I passed through the body scanner no problem. But the TSA agent on the other side took me aside and told me she’d nevertheless “have to check my waistband.” Yes, she thought it looked like I was a terrorist stashing something. Not a bomb lady, but thanks for the punch in the emotional gut!

Before anyone points out that I should shut up about my body because I was blessed to have to healthy babes, know this: I did, and do, feel deep gratitude for delivering healthy humans, in particular after a high-risk pregnancy and a delivery complication that might have killed me in another place or time. But none of that makes me less of a woman who wants to feel confident in her skin.

And those, of course, were only two of the more memorable times people inquired about my pregnancy long after the fact. Thankfully, those shattering experiences are at last in the past — though at six months postpartum, I’m still working hard to heal the diastasis recti that was partly responsible for rounding out my belly. Diastasis recti is an issue many moms face — and something close enough to my heart that I’m writing a series of three stories for explaining the details and treatment in more depth. (Look out for these!)

But with or without this specific condition, it’s a huge bummer. Your uterus will likely need weeks to shrink back down to size. You may need to heal damage to your core. You will need time to heal. You’re going to want the postpartum period of time to go faster. You’re probably going to want to punch people who comment on your pregnancy while you are pushing a stroller filled with an already-born baby (or, in my case, two babies). Perceptive much? Tactful much?

It’s totally normal. Be patient — or don’t. But try to be kind to your amazing self.

And if you need to, cry it out on a bus bench while you wait for your husband to rescue you from a truly bad afternoon at the Korean spa.

Do whatever you need to do until you adjust to your postpartum figure and your new life. You and your body just performed a miracle.

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Birth Stories: When You're Expecting Twins
Birth Stories: When You're Expecting Twins
Birth Stories: When You're Expecting Twins

Photo courtesy of Alesandra Dubin

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Christina Aguilera’s Pregnancy Weight Struggle

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Pop star Christina Aguilera went through a very public weight gain and weight loss last season on The Voice—recently dropping a whopping 35 pounds. While she is thrilled to be pregnant with a sibling for son, Max, 6, Life & Style is reporting that newly engaged Christina’s not so happy about gaining pregnancy weight after working so hard on her diet and exercise to shed her unwanted pounds. But whether she likes it or not, her newly svelte body is about to get curvy. It’s nature, baby!

Christina has always maintained that she loves her body at every size (as does fiancé Matt Rutler!), and that it’s important for women to be comfortable in their own skin—no matter what. Amen! But the media often makes that hard on women in general, and especially on pregnant women (Remember just weeks ago when Chris Hemsworth’s actress wife Elsa Pataky was fat-shamed on the Oscars red carpet?).

When you suddenly have a new body you don’t recognize in the mirror, it can be a shock, and you may even need an adjustment period to get used to the woman who is looking back at you. Your favorite clothes suddenly don’t fit, and as Kristin Cavallari recently admitted, when you’re pregnant “you can just feel gross.” On the flip side, though, you can feel the most beautiful and feminine you ever have with glowing skin and flowing locks. You are a baby-making goddess after all!

No woman can predict how she’s going to feel—or look—while pregnant. While one mama-to-be may be psyched to suddenly have a top-shelf rack, another may hate her pregnancy breasts (like Jamie-Lynn Sigler did). And the same goes for your butt. You may love the bodacious curves you get, or you may feel like you aren’t ready for that jelly. And that’s ok. There is an end to it all, and you will get your pre-pregnancy body back at some point (though it may forever look a tiny bit different).

When pregnant with son Max back in 2007, Christina gained 40 pounds while pregnant (that’s a little more than the recommended 25 to 35-pound pregnancy weight gain—but, hey, Beyoncé gained 65 pounds and look at her now!). So to insure she doesn’t gain too much this time around, Christina has reportedly hired a team of nutritionists and trainers to keep her on a super-healthy pregnancy path. Um, must be nice!

For the rest of us who can’t afford all of that, the best thing to do is to continue working out through your pregnancy (unless your doctor advises against it, of course). Regular exercise can fight against gestational diabetes, routine pregnancy aches and pains, and even mood swings. And bonus: A recent study says working out while pregnant can even make your baby smarter!

TELL US: What are your best tips for staying fit while pregnant?

How much weight is healthy for you to gain during your pregnancy? Use our calculator to find out!

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Image of Christina Aguilera via Twitter.

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Pregnancy Breasts: Pregnant Jamie-Lynn Sigler Hates Hers!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

pregnancy breastsPregnancy breasts: a miracle or a curse? That’s the big question. Everyone knows that your chest gets huge when you’re pregnant and nursing. Bigger breasts sound great in theory, but you can’t really prepare for how you’re going to react to your new breasts until your fun bags fully inflate.

When former Entourage and Guys with Kids star Jamie-Lynn Sigler was recently on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, she confided in chatty talk show host Andy Cohen that all of the physical changes that come with pregnancy aren’t a breeze. “It’s hard being pregnant! Your body does change; my boobs have quadrupled in size!” Jamie-Lynn said. Sing it, sister!

Christina Aguilera reportedly went up to an E cup when she was pregnant with son Max, and Kim Kardashian has been estimated at a G (maybe by the time she gives birth she’ll be a K!). Most women will go up two cup sizes during a pregnancy—and your breasts alone account for two pounds (!) of your weight gain.

I was a B cup on a good day pre-pregnancy. I was never one of those people who secretly wished they had bigger breasts, though. I’m very introspective, so I had thought a lot about this. I was happy they weren’t overly bouncy, I knew I wouldn’t have to worry too much about sagging later in life. I was content.

Then, within just a few weeks of being pregnant, my cup size grew and I had real cleavage no matter what sort of bra I wore (no push-up required!). By early in my second trimester I was the proud owner of D cups. And I say proud, because I admit something changed in me. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but I noticed I was walking with more confidence and feeling more feminine with my pregnancy breasts. It felt good.

Of course, it might not have been because of some inner desire to have bigger boobs. It could have just been that I no longer felt like I had to live up to some beauty expectation, and I was free to let my belly hang out without the need for Spanx or sucking it in. I was pregnant; I had an excuse! Add to that the ever-so-wonderful burst of oxytocin—the natural feel good drug your body starts producing in your first trimester that increases as your pregnancy goes on (Oxytocin is also released when you’re not pregnant, and you get a hug, kiss or caress).

My husband is way too diplomatic to say whether he liked the change in my upper deck, but I soon realized that these new-found tatas were not all they were cracked up to be. They contributed to my growing back pain. They were constantly sore, sometimes throbbing. My areolae (the area around your nipples) had grown to the size of sand dollars, and they had turned into a dark mocha color. I was already sagging! I had to buy all new bras (BTW, why are they so expensive!). As I was getting closer and closer to labor day, my breasts even started leaking. I know it was my body getting ready to breastfeed, which is a beautiful thing, but at the time I was turning each shirt into a wet mess all I could think was, “Ew!” As a friend of mine put it, it was like having a gift that you couldn’t fully enjoy!

So I completely understand Jamie-Lynn’s frustration with her newfound pregnancy breasts. Just know that they will eventually go back down, and everything will return to normal. Though, they may be a slightly different normal!

Learn more about how your body changes week-to-week right here!

Tell us: Are you excited to have “pregnancy breasts”? Or are they just a hassle? Share your stories in the comment section below.

Image of Jamie-Lynn Sigler courtesy of Shutterstock.

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