Parenting

My pregnancy-ravaged body, revisited

Six months after giving birth, Katie is still struggling with the changes in her body.

Photo by eldemir/iStockphoto.com

Early on in my pregnancy (probably around this time last year), someone told me that I should take pictures of myself naked. “Why?!” I exclaimed, blushing, I’m sure, because I don’t like being naked in the shower let alone in front of a camera lens.

“Because you’re never going to look like that again,” she said.

“Whatever,” I replied, my hands on my belly, overjoyed at the wee bean growing in there, “I’m okay with the weight gain.”

And I was. I watched my diet and didn’t overindulge often (I was lucky — my cravings were only green olives and tangerines), and though I didn’t let the nurse at the OB/GYN give me the number on the scale week after week (talk about depressing), I was fine with the extra pounds. It was a healthy amount of weight, I knew, so it seemed okay.

How silly I was to think the weight was the worst of it. Back in December I wrote about the changes I observed in my body since Miss Soph came into the world — soreness, healing, the whole nine — but that was mere weeks into the postpartum period. Of course things weren’t going to be status quo that soon after giving birth. But here we are, six and a half months later, and my body is still recovering. I brought it up with my doctor the other day and he said, “It took your body nine months to get that way. It’s going to take nine months to a year — sometimes more — to feel like you did pre-Soph. Just keep at it.”

So here’s me, keeping at it. I still have 10 pounds to lose, and a whole lot of muscle to build, so I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in the fall. The training program isn’t that grueling, to be honest; I’m not trying to break records, or even attain a personal best, I’m just trying to complete. It’s time-consuming, but that’s alright. I ran a 3K and a 5K on the weekend and the 5K felt like crap. My centre of gravity feels different, my legs feel heavier and I hate the music on my iPod all of a sudden (I think I’m taking my frustration out on my poor playlist. I’m looking for song suggestions, by the way). Good thing I start bootcamp tomorrow morning, where I can share my frustration with other women in the middle of their millionth lap around Queen’s Park.

Weirdly, I can’t wear heels anymore. I don’t get it — I used to be able to pull off at least 2 to 2.5 inches, but now my legs flip me off after an hour or two. Flats that are too flat aren’t much better either.  Then it’s my hips doing the swearing. Maybe it’s the extra weight, I don’t know, but I hope it doesn’t stay this way forever. I’m going to end up wearing my running shoes with every outfit (and that is not going to happen. I’ve seen way too much What Not to Wear, and Stacy London would not be pleased).

Soph has also decided that she isn’t going to nurse. I’m sure this is going to earn me a thousand comments, but, trust me, I’ve tried everything. She will hardly ever latch, and when she does, she’s so distracted that she’s not taking much milk. I even tried pumping (bags and bags), to give her breast milk in a bottle, but she doesn’t like the taste. She won’t take it. The best I can do is to mix breast milk with formula. Please don’t rake me over the coals — I feel badly enough as it is. Especially since this new development comes with a sagging effect that my clothes do NOT enjoy. Come to think of it, the sagging effect is happening pretty much everywhere.

I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world, of course, but I wish I’d taken my friend’s advice and stood in front of the camera in a bikini or something. It would be like looking back at pictures of yourself in high school, when you thought you looked like Frankenstein’s bride, and thinking, “Man, I was cute.” Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be so fun and I should just focus on the smiley little girl on the cusp of crawling and be proud of my body as it is. It’s just not as easy as that when I have to wear two bridesmaid dresses this summer, you know?