I'm 8 weeks postpartum today, and I've only lost 9 pounds of my pregnancy weight. Before I was pregnant I weighed 135, and at the end of my pregnancy I weighed 187 — a 52 pound gain. I'm still carrying 43 more pounds on my frame than when this process of growing and birthing a child began — more than I ever have in my 31 years.
I've always been slender — exercising and eating well to maintain, for mood boosts, or to grow stronger. If I ever wanted to lose weight, it was 5-10 pounds because my clothes were a bit snug and didn't feel as comfortable as I'd like. So 43 pounds is incredibly overwhelming.
I'm on week 3 of a gentle workout to heal my diastasis recti, have biked a 4 mile loop, and walk everyday, sometimes a few times. My pace has picked up, but my joints — especially my ankles and knees — hurt badly.
My brother is getting married December 10th and I want to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Even if this is unrealistic, in my mind right now, I need to believe I can do that. It helps bring hope with these small steps.
With that goal in mind, today I finished my stomach routine, walked with a friend, and decided to go on a run for the first time since the early weeks of my pregnancy. It started poorly as I tried my running shorts on that use to be so baggy they easily slid up my stomach within a few strides and found I couldn't get them over my thighs. I only had a pair of maternity pajama shorts so I breathed deep and put them on, feeling so ashamed of myself, overwhelmed and frustrated. I left with the idea that I would run a block, walk a block.
I started running and had to keep myself from bursting into tears, multiple times. Everything felt so heavy, jiggly, and I couldn't believe this was my body. I wanted to quit right there after a few strides and go eat some chocolate cake (because what doesn't chocolate cake solve!?), but I kept going — my too-small running shirt, my pajama shorts, shoes that squeezed my expanded feet, and ankles and knees that ached.
It takes courage.
It takes courage to keep going — for anyone. It takes courage to be a new mom. It takes courage to go out into the world in a body that doesn't feel like your own. I don't know where mine came from, but I made it roundtrip 2 miles, running a block, walking a block. When I got home, I hopped on my bike and went 4 miles, mostly around Lake Nokomis. It's amazing how healing water is, and watching the sun set on it was a moment my soul needed.
I don't feel any different now that I'm home. I would love to say I shed a bit of the heaviness on my frame, but I haven't. I feel a natural mood boost from the movement, a humbleness for starting, and gratitude for living in a place of beauty with happy yellow flowers and sunsets on rippling lake water. And that's pretty good for a new start.