Friday, April 12, 2013

What I Wish I Had Known About My Body

Growing up I never had any body image issues.  I honestly never really thought about it.  I always felt strong and that my body could do anything I wanted it to.  Ah, youth.  In my twenties, I worked out a lot because I enjoyed it and also enjoyed eating whatever I wanted.  I never gave my body a second thought.  My jeans always fit, my chest was always the same size and I never worried about picking out a bikini.  My early thirties were kind to me as well.  Go ahead and hate me for a second.  I get it.  However, I got my comeuppance.

Almost the minute I found out I was pregnant, I was miserably sick.  I had all day sickness that left me feeling so nauseous all the time that the only thing that could help me were carbs (and an anti-nausea prescription from my doctor!).  I ate nearly constantly trying to quell the nausea.  It would work sometimes and other times I was just left feeling too full and still nauseous.  It was super fun.  This continued for my entire pregnancy.  After a while, I was able to eat some other foods but I kept returning to the old reliable carbs.  I did gain a decent amount of weight (but not an insane amount) while pregnant, but I continued to work out.  Yes, many times I ran from the gym to the bathroom to throw up, but I still went to the gym every day.  Pregnancy is so glamorous!

The little flutters I felt from Superboy were nice.  I thought it was adorable when he got the hiccups or would tumble around inside me, but mostly I just wished my pregnancy would be over and I could start feeling normal again.  Normal is relative here as I only mean feeling like I didn't want to vomit 24/7.  "Normal" life is something that will never return for me -- I expected that, wanted that and I am totally okay with that.  Thankfully, the vomiting 24/7 did go away.  WOO!

I started working out as soon as I was given the green light at my six week post-partum check-up.  I did short workouts of twenty to thirty minutes and saw the weight fall off.  This was a nice side effect of doing something that I had really missed.  Working out is such an integral part of me that I really felt strange not doing it for those six weeks.

I nursed Superboy for thirteen months.  I am not telling you this for any other reason than informational purposes.  It was almost as if the minute that I started nursing him that my appetite returned in full force.  I literally could not eat enough.  I was constantly starving and I was SO HUNGRY.  I wanted to eat everything and I did.  It was almost a compulsion.  I had heard stories about how nursing burns extra calories and I knew I was working out, so I hoped that those two things would counterbalance my insane appetite.  I continued to lose weight through the holidays of 2011.

Then, in January 2012, a switch got flipped.  My body stopped dropping weight.  I was still eating like a person going to the electric chair and there was nothing that I did that could burn as many calories as I was eating.  I was also terrified of doing anything that would diminish my supply for nursing.  My chest hurt constantly, so my beloved running was off the table.

Yes, Wicked M, devoted runner, has not been running.  I think that is the thing that I miss most about my old life.  The freedom of a morning run while listening to the sounds of the world (or the sound of Britney Spears on my iPod, but whatever).  I have tried tons of workouts at home, but none of them give me the satisfaction or the calorie burn of running.  (Note:  I am still not running on a regular basis because Superman travels for work and is gone four days a week.  I love to run, but I have zero interest strapping Superboy into a jogging stroller and pushing thirty pounds of weight in front of me.  I guess I do not love running that much.)

I never talk to anyone about how betrayed I feel by my body.  It used to know what it was doing and ever since pregnancy and motherhood begun, it has turned on me.  I am so angry about it sometimes.  These extra pounds that cling to my frame for dear life.  I try to eat well, I work out six days a week and still...

I have a belly.  I never had that before.  There used to be a six pack there!  Now, I have belly flab and a pooch that refuses to budge no matter how many crunches and planks I do.  My chest is still huge even though I stopped nursing Superboy over six months ago.  What the hell, body?  Everything you read about being a mother is about accepting your body for what it has done and that you should appreciate the miracle of pregnancy and motherhood.  Honestly?  As far as I can tell, pregnancy is just about the worst designed process in the entire world.  The first year of motherhood is so freaking stressful, that I find it difficult to believe that anyone is not stress eating and/or is actually losing weight.  Women who do lose the baby weight and wear bikinis to the pool?  I want to punch.  Like, HULK SMASH.  Instead, I go home and cry.

I used to be so confident.  I used to love my body.  I do love how it carried Superboy.  I do love how it allowed me to nurse him for those thirteen months.  I hate how it has betrayed me.  I hate how it has become accustomed to this extra layer of fat and that it adamantly refuses to let it go.  I hate that no one besides my mother and husband have told me I am beautiful in at least sixteen months.  I want to cry, scream and punch things.  As far as I am concerned, I think that women who have carried babies should get some sort of weight loss "gift" from the universe.  I mean, where was that part in this whole design?  You give birth and POOF.  You instantly snap back to what you looked like before.  That only seems fair since you just spent your entire pregnancy looking and feeling like a beached whale.

Pregnancy is rarely cute.  Motherhood, nursing and the after effects are even less cute.  So, here I am.  Telling you that I hate how I look underneath my clothes (and even in some clothes!  That pouchy belly shows under almost anything!).  I am so appreciative of my body allowing me to have Superboy, but man, if I could just lose these last pounds.

I wish I had known.  I wish I had known that there was never going to be a return to that body I had before.  Sure, I had cellulite on my thighs and a tiny chest, but I never once disliked those things.  I always loved how I looked.  I just wish I had known what was to come so that I could have taken a nice long look in the mirror to say goodbye.  To thank the universe for allowing me to look that way for so long.  Maybe that would have helped me to feel less angry about the situation?  -sigh-  I do not want to resign myself to the situation, I want to continue to fight to look better for myself.  I want to let the anger go.  I guess I am, and will always be now, a body of work in progress.

**This has absolutely nothing to do with how much I weigh.  I have no idea how much I weigh.  I have not weighed myself since last November 2012 because it depressed me so much.  I just know that I no longer look like I did two years ago and it makes me damn sad.


G Love said...

Cubby is 2.5 and I am just now reclaiming my body. Sometimes I find it easier to weather these periods when I remember that this is just a season in your life . . . this is not the end of the story. Superboy's current superpower is being needy and sapping your strength, but he will not always be that way. As he becomes more independent, you will get more time for yourself and find new ways to enrich your own self. Right now he gets it all, all of your investments. Someday soonish, you'll be able to allocate more to yourself.

And then (maybe, if you want) you'll have another kid and eff it all up again. :)

G Love said...

PS Check your thyroid! When my "switch flipped" it turned out to be that . . .