My Body, Postpartum (Dun Dun Dunnn)

You knew this was coming from me eventually!

I expected having a baby to totally trash my body. I mean, it sounds horrible, right? Growing a 7ish-pound person in there and then pushing it out your vag, or having it pulled out through a cut in your belly? (Some days I still can’t believe I actually did that and lived to tell about it. It’s all very Alien.) I’ve never been good about weight gain. I tend to get very upset, so this was one of the things I was really worried about.

But I came through it pretty much unscathed, in the long run. I obsessed over my weight gain the entire pregnancy, but from the day I found out I was pregnant to the day I delivered, I gained an unexciting 28 pounds. (Keep in mind, though, that I delivered at exactly 8 months pregnant.) I somehow didn’t get any stretch marks, even though I have some from puberty so I know I’m predisposed to them. I’m still kind of chubby-looking, but most of the weight has come off without doing anything more than breastfeeding, eating reasonably, and halfheartedly jogging from time to time. (I’m about 5 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight, although I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone so that number sounds a lot better than it looks.)

A lot of the weight comes off directly after giving birth, and then it kind of stalls. I swear, at least 10 pounds of my weight must have been water, because about a week after giving birth I looked at my ankles in the shower and they were THERE again. I almost fell over in shock. They looked like sticks to me. I hadn’t seen them in so long.

Even with weight loss, though, your body ends up being shaped totally differently. Your hips spread, at least if you deliver vaginally (I can’t speak for the C-section mommas). Weight seems to be distributed differently. Your old jeans don’t have a prayer of fitting. I’ve also still got that sweet linea nigra running down my belly, along with an attractive little kangaroo pouch due to stretching of skin and muscle. Probably nothing that about a thousand situps couldn’t fix, if I ever had the motivation or energy to do them (I do not), although my belly button will probably always look slightly weird.

Overall, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it to be. Which is good, because I am very vain and selfish like that. I’m hoping that by summertime I should be able to fit into my old clothes, because I really don’t want to have to buy a new wardrobe! (Well, okay, I do, but not because I’m too large for my old stuff.)

Still– it doesn’t help when “friends” say things like “Oh look! You have a butt now! You never used to have a butt.” (Insert Death Stare here. I’m getting a lot of use out of that thing lately.)

I’d post a “belly” picture, but Caroline is sleeping in the room that has the full-length mirror, and I don’t want to wake the beast. I can tell you, though, that it looks absolutely nothing like this… (Quit sucking it in, you bitch.)

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  1. by Heather

    On May 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    No worries, you’re still to close to having just delivered to have anything normal back yet. By your one year mark it will all be good! I am 32 with three kids (my youngest is four) A little jiggly yes, but all things considered smokin for a mom of 3. I’m sure you still turn heads. Love your blog and identify with all your feelings. My third was a surprise, after I had gotten rid of all pregnancy and baby associated items. 9 months of crying through the pregnancy and refusing to talk about the impending birth of our little “pill” baby! we call him Ortho Novum 777.

  2. by edmo

    On May 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I still have 5 lbs to go, and my son is 9 months old. I know it’s because I don’t exercise nearly as hard as I did before (I was super in shape when I got pregnant). But yeah, I can’t believe how different my body is. Even though all my pre-preg pants were always cut big – I like my clothes to be loose – they still don’t fit me, even just 5 lbs over my pre-preg weight. My hips and thighs are just so much wider now.

  3. by Anonymous

    On May 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Julia, I just read your blog and you are an inspiration to me. I just found out that I am unexpectedly expecting as I finish my last law school semester finals, get read to study for the bar, and prepare to start working. I am as terrified as you were at the beginning–maybe more so, and I am worried that the employer who is planning to hire me in November will (a) not want me to work for them anymore, since I will be about 7 months pregnant by then (b) not give me enough maternity leave, or that it will be unpaid, and about 100 other things. But reading your blog made me feel better that things really could work out okay. I’m still trying to come out of shock…but you give me hope that once I do I can pull it together.