I bought a postpartum girdle and I was determined to use it.
I figured I’d need all the help I could get. I thought for sure, I was going to want to loose the extra weight I had lovingly packed on in my 42 weeks of pregnancy as fast as possible.
After babies one and two I sprang out of bed quickly. I quickly resumed my normal life as though I had not just had a baby, partially due to necessity, but mostly due to false sense of self-importance.
But in the three days after Marlowe was born, I barely got out of bed unless it was absolutely necessary. I had learned, at last, to care for my body. Slowly I got up and hooked the girdle over my empty, doughy, postpartum belly and stood in the middle of the bedroom for about a minute looking in the mirror. My formally curvy body with hips and soft belly was shaped into thick, straight and slightly smaller trunk. From the bottom of the wrap my skin and fat tried to escape being smushed and formed an upside down muffin top. I looked ridiculous. “I’m not doing this.” I said to my husband while freeing my belly from it’s confinement. “I just had a baby. My body looks fine.”
Several months later, I was out with a friend and somehow the topic of diets came up. I told her I was probably about 10 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight and I hadn’t really done much to try to lose it.
“You’ll get it back” she said to me.
“That’s the thing though,” I said. “I really don’t think I want it back.”
3 kids and 30 years and I’m finally letting myself go.
I’ve dieted. I’ve exercised at 5:45 AM. I’ve been a size 0. And none of those things made me happier, or a better person. My husband didn’t love me more 10 pounds ago. I wasn’t a better parent or a better friend and I certainly wasn’t more interesting.
And, oddly, despite being “fit”, I wasn’t actually any happier with myself. I didn’t find happiness in hunger, satisfaction in low calorie foods or self acceptance on the treadmill… I was on a mission to be an airbrushed version of myself that doesn’t exist. And I’m not even sure for why.
For the sake of vanity?
So in the 9 months after Marlowe was born, I have not stepped foot in the gym. I donned a bikini I would have normally hated myself in, without a second thought. I haven’t turned down a delicious meal and I’ve had more salted caramel lattes in a single month than I would normally allow myself in a season.
Am I my skinniest? No, I still have those 10lbs. And of course I notice it (there’s a whole bunch of jeans in my closet I may never wear again). But when I say I am “letting myself go” what I really mean is, I’m letting myself off the hook. I don’t need to be supermom, I don’t need to be perfect. I am healthy, I have energy, I love food, I’m living my life and this is what my body looks like. And perhaps, for the first time, I’m really, actually cool with that.