Body Image at Almost 18 Months Postpartum: Now I’m Pissed

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I am pissed! Quite frankly that’s the emotion that succinctly describes how I currently feel. Part of me wants to blame things that happened to me but another part of me thinks I’m being a whiny little bitch. (Yup it’s going to be that kind of post because sometimes you gotta call things how it is)

38 Weeks Pregnant (a couple days before delivering Rigel) vs 1 Week Postpartum

Let’s review the postpartum journey and get everyone caught up. I had a c-section — I didn’t want one but Rigel wanted to start life letting everyone know how stubborn he is. It was major surgery. It hurt like hell. It was NOT the easy way out. I didn’t touch my incision site with my bare hand for 5 weeks. Also 5 weeks after giving birth to Rigel via c-section my mother died.

My breastfeeding journey sucked despite a lot of effort. Like an obsessive amount of effort. I didn’t lose a single ounce beyond the immediate weight loss I had following delivery and the first two weeks postpartum where I lost all the fluid build-up. So couldn’t rely on breastfeeding for my snapback. Working out meant a drop in ounces produced even if I drank a lake’s worth of water. So I stopped trying because the breastfeeding lobby is fierce and told me I needed to or my kid would be sickly, fat, and dumb. I stopped breastfeeding at 4.5 months postpartum — my kid is none of those things.

After I stopped breastfeeding my breasts didn’t shrink back down to their original, manageable pre-pregnancy size. They remain two cup sizes bigger than they were and closely resemble the breasts of an orangutan. Okay they’re not that bad but they certainly are unwieldy and don’t fit in my old cute bras.

Trying to do active things in February 2020 – walking the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC.

In January I started working out again. I first went back to strength training and nothing changed. It was like my traumatized body said, haven’t we been through enough, stop stressing us! We went to Florida in February and I saw pictures of myself in a bathing suit and cried. So in March I decided to try something different. I reincorporated cardiovascular workouts, consisting of mostly aerobics because well I was really out of shape and I was terrified of injuring my pelvic floor. I also started a caloric deficit, low enough to promote weightloss but not so low that it would be impossible to get the nutrients I needed to chase around an almost toddler.

A very honest and raw photo of what I looked like just before deciding I needed to change things up in March.

By May I had lost almost 10lbs. I was feeling like maybe I could do this, I could actually look like Grace again and not Jabba the Hut. But by June I noticed that my progress was starting to stall so my husband decided to gift me something to take things up a notch – a treadmill. Took a month to get the treadmill. In the meantime, I had started doing Barre twice a week and dance cardio three times a week.

Just before getting my treadmill in July 2020. I’d made some progress.

When I got my treadmill at the end of July I had to start slow because of asthma and not running since January 2019. It was hard at first but I kept plugging away. I lost another 8 pounds. My cardiovascular strength was off the charts but I was still about 10 lbs away from my pre- pregnancy weight.

The best I’ve looked since having Rigel right before everything went downhill in September 2020.

Then it happened, in mid-September I started feeling really off. I was tired and was getting winded again even on easy runs. I had terrible body aches at all hours of the day regardless of what I did. I felt completely run down and started getting bloated with everything I ate. I noticed my throat hurt and felt blocked. It would be several weeks before we realized it was my thyroid swollen and fed up with how I’d abused it over the last two years.

When the dust had settled and my swelling had gone down I had gained back 12lbs. That’s where I’m at right now and I am pissed!

Looking like Big Bertha while I try to turn this place into a Winter Wonderland.

I worked out while I was pregnant. Hell, I haven’t sat down since the day after this boy was born. Why is this weight still here?! I can’t imagine this really requires fitness competition levels of deprivation but eating like a human being and working out hasn’t exactly paid off either.

So I’m angry and I hate my body. I don’t like how it looks, I don’t like how it feels, I don’t like how anything looks on me. I don’t look forward to getting dressed. I try to avoid looking at myself in the mirror as I get out of the shower. I don’t feel sexy and I feel lied to.

I feel the same way I did when I realized that just because you get a law degree doesn’t mean you’re going to make anything close to six figures. I’ve done everything I was supposed to do, to the best of my ability and still here I sit hating everything from my jowls to my thighs. Hell, even my shins look bigger!! Like how and why?!!

And I want to give Rigel a sibling so badly but I’m terrified that I’m not in good enough shape to be a good candidate for a vbac and that I’ll just continue to accumulate weight that doesn’t want to go away and that makes me feel bad. But then the real spiral starts when I think about how if I don’t drop the weight I’m setting myself up for a premature death. A little voice inside of my head whispering “don’t you love your son enough to try harder, don’t you want to be here to see your grandchildren.” Maybe if my mother hadn’t passed away unexpectedly I wouldn’t have these thoughts but they’re there and they’re nagging me, driving me insane.

After one of my regular runs before I started feeling unwell.

I’ve always been a person that could solve problems by researching the hell out of them and then implementing a plan. I can’t seem to plan my way out of this one. I just want to look like someone that resembles me, an exterior manifestation of the daily work I do to move my body and nourish it in balanced ways. When I look at myself I see a person that doesn’t try hard enough but I know that’s not true. I know I’ve been trying. So for the first time in my life, I truly understand the struggle of so many people. The discouragement of working your tail off and have little to show for it. And I understand just how easy it is to just give up because you don’t feel like anything you do is going to make a difference.

I want to apologize to anyone I may have ever made feel bad by minimizing your struggle with weight. I’m sorry if I ever made it sound easy or straight forward. It is not easy. I no longer hope to be your fitspo goals – I just want to be your perseverance goals.

I don’t know what the magic combination of food and fitness will be for me but what this fat doesn’t know is how dangerous I am when I’m pissed. And now I’m pissed! Like so pissed I want to take up kickboxing again and beat the living hell out of something because this cutesy barre shit is not managing my rage very well. I’m a fire sign, after all, sometimes you have to let the fire vent. I’m pent up guys and I’m tired of this crap. And it’s starting to spill-over to other aspects of my life. That can be a recipe for complete self-destruction if I don’t get my mind, body, and soul sorted out soon.

I’m listening to one of several girl power, motivational Spotify playlists I’ve made over the years and Sia’s reminding me that I got stamina. And when you think about it, all of us Mamas know we have stamina. We chase toddlers, comfort babies, maintain houses, work from home, keep our spouses organized, make sure everyone is fed and happy before we ever think of ourselves. We know we have superhuman energy reserves. There is literally nothing a pissed off woman can’t do.

The best I’ve felt since having this kid.

I can do this. I can get in shape, work, be a fun and present Mama, and supportive and loving wife. Armed with my selenium, I’m ready to finally rid my face of this excess fat and give a giant middle finger to this gut. I don’t know why things turned out this way for me but if seeing me struggle and flail out here through postpartum can inspire any of you to keep going then it’s been worth it.

Now ladies, let’s get to work!

Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

3 thoughts

    1. Thanks! I’ve done elimination diets in the past. I was strict Paleo for a long time. I currently don’t eat any trigger foods on any consistent basis. I just started tracking macros in the last couple of days to see if that gives me any insight. I suspect my protein intake could be increased and my fats decreased a tad 😬 we’ll see how it goes!

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