Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mama Moment #2: I have nothing to wear (because nothing fits).

Despite considering myself a pretty emotional person, I did not suffer from post-partum depression after Aurora was born.  I had several weird crying fits a few days after I got home from the hospital, but that was about it.  I couldn't believe the joy she brought into my life--just watching her sleep was the most profound thing.

Babies are an amazing, life-changing gift, no doubt about it.  But sometimes, change takes a lot of getting used to.  And it's not always pleasant.

One of the most frustrating motherhood adjustments?  My body.  Never was I ever skinny (except prior to entering kindergarten perhaps).  Neither was I ever obese.  I'm tall for a girl and have always been on the curvier side.  I loved my pregnant body--because Aurora was in that big round belly.  But now there is no baby and the belly is still round, 5 months later.  I have been so tired and busy with Aurora and work that there is really no time to exercise.  On top of that, I grab foods that are easy because of the time and convenience issue.  I'm breastfeeding, but in no way is the weight "melting off." (I hate reading that on websites.)  I'm still up two to three sizes (depending on the store--which is another rant in itself) from my pre-pregnancy weight.  And at my pre-pregnancy weight, I was about a size larger than I'm comfortable at.  I keep making resolutions--to eat fewer carbs, to start working out after Aurora goes to bed, to avoid the ice cream section of the grocery store.  I love fashion and it's part of my everyday life with Miskabelle, but lately, it just makes me depressed.  I can't wear 75% of the clothes in my closets and drawers.  And the clothes I can wear don't make me feel all that special.  I've taken to accessorizing in order to ease the lack of creativity in my wardrobe, but still, I pine for my favorite vintage items--those skirts I can't button, the tops that now tug around my new bosom...sigh.

I was complaining to a friend about my weight (just a little pity party) and she asked if I was still breastfeeding.  I told her I was, and she said, "The weight's not going to come off.  You're still storing it."  I said, "I guess that makes sense."  Whether it's medically true or not, it was a sigh of relief and a moment of pause: my body is this way because of my baby.  My breasts give her food, my arms hold her, my lips kiss her, my nose nuzzles her, my hands soothe her, my legs take her on walks.  Why am I so focused on changing and slimming down (could it BE the media?  and celebrities and models who are shown fit as a fiddle only weeks after giving birth?) when it takes the focus away from the beauty of being a mother?

I don't think it's wrong to want to be healthier.  AT ALL.  I still need to lose some of the weight I put on.  I need to be exercising regularly.  And I need to stop eating the way I ate when I was pregnant.  But I also need to give my body grace.   Do you need to do the same?  I think many of us do (even many of us who aren't mamas!). We do a pretty powerful thing every single day:  we raise a generation! We can't do our best job taking care of our little ones if we don't take care of ourselves--mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is for mamas-to-be as well!  You really need to take care of yourself when you're carrying around that little one 24/7.  And sometimes, with all of those raging hormones (and clothes that are getting tighter...and tighter), it's easy to feel unhappy about how you look. 

Here are some ways to love yourself that don't involve thousands of dollars and a personal trainer:
  • stretch for ten minutes
  • take a long, bubble bath while deep conditioning your hair
  • do your makeup--make it glamorous! Even if it's just to greet your sweetie at the door after work.  (Lately, I'm in love with a bold red lip.)
  • exfoliate all over and then moisturize! (it's the best, especially in the summer.)
  • give yourself an at-home manicure and pedicure
  • take your little one for a long walk in a pretty area of your town/city
  • with your morning tea or coffee, sit down and write or journal for fifteen minutes (it's an amazing way to start the day; I use Julia Cameron's morning pages from The Artist's Way as a guideline.)
  • instead of trying to "get it all done while" your little ones are napping, why not give yourself a little nap?  I am a huge lover of naps, especially when I'm frequently up at night!  "Sleep when your baby sleeps" is great advice.  The dishes can wait.
  • if it's the right time:  find a babysitter and go out on a date with your spouse/significant other and then maybe...
  • make love! 
  • meet a good friend for lunch--or if you stay/work at home (like me), have a friend over to your house for lunch!  (You don't need a babysitter and you can save money to boot.  I had an at-home lunch date this week and it was fabulous!  Truly, it made my day...and my friend's, who needed her "baby fix"!)
  • go to church/pray/meditate (for me, there's nothing like focusing on a power much higher than myself to bring peace and comfort and make me feel silly for being so worried about how I look.)  
  • have a clothing swap!  We ladies always seem to be up and down in sizes, so why not get a group of friends together and make some trades?  Turn it into a party!
What else do you do to care for yourself so you can better care for your loved ones?  I need more ideas to add to this list!

Stretch marks, love handles, spider veins, doughy thighs, jiggly bellies, saggy boobs...these are our "war wounds," ladies.  Let's wear them with pride.  We are beautiful and we are blessed.

 Aurora and me, June 2010

Curvaceously (proudly) yours,
Manda

3 comments:

rus said...

Congrats! You and Aurora look absolutely stunning and wonderfully happy :)
And...I'm so glad to see you are still writing morning pages!
Wonderful blog....keep at it!
<3 Rus

Melinda said...

It's true - I'm much more inclined to see what's wrong with my arms instead of what a wonderful blessing I've got IN my arms! Great blog - very fun :) Hope things are well. You inspired me to write a little today!

ChelleBell said...

Amanda-I love your blog and your openness and honesty!!! You look FABULOUS-I can only hope to look that happy and natural after I have a little one!!! Keep up the good work :)