Beckett is five months old, which means that I have not been pregnant for five months. YES!
(I want to note here that the last month or so of my pregnancy was particularly crazy-making, just because I was DONE. Forget savoring that magical time of bonding with the unborn baby inside and feeling all those glorious kicks. I was tired. I had to pee. My almost-two-year-old daughter was heavy. Can you hear the whining? My husband was a real trooper for not locking himself in a bathroom just to get away from me. I would have.)
Anyway, now I have been postpartum for five months and I feel… flabby.
The other day I came across a picture of myself in college. I was wearing a halter top and my shoulders looked SVELTE! I don’t ever remember feeling so SVELTE, but looking back, I can tell you, I was SVELTE!
When I was in graduate school, I think my body relaxed a bit, because I didn’t spend time going to the gym or some such nonsense, (I was studying!) but I ate sensibly and walked just about everywhere. When I met David, we made a habit of taking epic walks, and we loved it! He even proposed to me when we were on a walk.
Then I got pregnant the first time. We moved to Memphis and continued the Walk Everywhere plan. We sold one of our cars (we had two) and moved to a neighborhood that was within an easy walking distance to just about anywhere we needed to go, save the grocery store. I gained weight and it felt weird in some ways, but I was so enamored with the process of being pregnant that it didn’t bother me so much.
When Maggie was born, I clearly remember needing to mentally adjust to the “new body.” When she was about three months old, I started a regular exercise routine. I discovered the 30 Day Shred DVD and did that routine three days a week. The other days, we went for walks. I loved to strap Maggie into our Ergo Baby Carrier and walk to the coffee shop up the street or meet David at school for lunch. I got back to feeling at home in my body before too long, and by the time Maggie was 12 months, I had most definitely lost the pregnancy weight.
When Maggie was 12 months old, I got pregnant with Beckett. My pregnancy with Beckett was very different from my pregnancy with Maggie. First, I had a toddler to run after. I had strong food aversions. (I couldn’t stand anything stew-like. And don’t even come near me with that bean. I will hit you.) But the most obvious difference was just my lack of energy. I spent so much energy writing and being a mother to Maggie that the whole “walking-everywhere” thing suffered. I poured myself into bed at night after a day of working and parenting, and so exercising became a very distant priority. (And I won’t even bring up the fact that I was 6, 7, 8, and 9 months pregnant during a Memphis summer where the high temperature was rarely below 100 degrees and almost never below 90, so sitting inside in the air conditioning was the thing I did most of the time.)
And then Beckett was born. I thought I was tired while I was pregnant, but it was nothing to the exhaustion I feel now as the parent of two kids still in diapers. I still have the same writing responsibilities, but my time feels like it has been quartered. My sleep is interrupted and short, and there is simply not as much time to devote to things like workout DVDs. Add to that the fact that with two kids it seems to take fifteen minutes of prep time just to get out the door for a walk around the block and we go for walks a couple times a week, but not nearly as often as we used to.
Thanks to all of this, I often find myself frustrated with the current state of my wardrobe. I have one pair of jeans that really fits, and most of my tops still feel just a little too tight. Most days I wear black yoga pants and a t-shirt. Most days I don’t really leave the house anyway. I don’t look svelte any more, and feel like it is very unlikely that I will again. I have a perpetual muffin top, and all my pants that do fit are just a little too tight around my thighs. I wear my hair in a pony tail, almost never wear makeup, and continually smell like the spoiled milk that Beckett just horked down the front of my freshly-washed shirt. Also, the flab under my arms jiggles when I wave.
But then I see my two kids playing together, laughing together at some joke that only they are in on, and I can’t help but think, “worth it.”