When you grow a tiny human in your belly you put on weight. That is a given and I certainly loved my baby bumps and pregnant body for the most part (note: I did NOT enjoy the swollen feet!) When said baby pops out though but the additional weight hangs around and attracts equal amounts of cooing and “when are you due?” comments, it can get a little trying. Mummy tummy just isn’t funny to me anymore. To be honest it never was funny but in those first months after giving birth my belly was the last thing on my mind. I honestly could not have cared less about how much “baby weight” I was carrying. My sister (yes my own blood!) commented a few days after I gave birth to my first child that it was so weird I still looked heavily pregnant even though everyone else she knew with babies had pretty much walked out of the hospital in their fav size 6 skinnys. Luckily for her I was in a newborn baby fog and all I cared about was surviving so she still lives.
With baby number two noone has dared say a thing but with Faye almost 10 months old now and me still sporting a rather squishy belly and half a stone more than I weighed before I had my two kids, I feel the time is right to banish the Mummy tummy for good. Now I have never had to do this in a post before but I just know with a subject such as this one, it is best I preempt the trolling and set some things straight right away in a disclaimer so here goes.
In discussing how I feel about my body I am in no way telling you how you should feel about yours. I don’t value skinny over happy and I do put healthy above all else. If you weigh more than me, if you weigh less than me, it is nothing to do with me and I don’t judge you through my actions and my body aspirations. In return, be a pal and don’t you judge other’s on how much they weigh as everyone is an individual. That’s what keeps this world interesting after all.
So let’s start at the beginning. I was a skinny kid and tall. My folks nick-named me “skinny-ribs” as I had no fat on me until I hit puberty. As a teenager I went through one awful year just as I moved high school in which I got chubby. I wouldn’t say I was fat but my hormones were in full swing and I still ate as I always have; LOTS! We were studying a book in class that was supposed to raise awareness surrounding anorexia only I hadn’t even considered dieting before and suddenly this book filled my head with so many ideas. I wouldn’t eat my lunches and must have checked that book out of the school library over twenty times for ‘tips’. Luckily I had a good friend who noticed what was going on and we figured it out. My body ‘grew into itself’ and I realised I probably couldn’t always eat a block of cheese each evening but I didn’t need to starve myself. My weight settled at 9 stone and there it remained, give of take a pound either way, for over a decade.
Cue then the entrance of my darling boy and first child, Aiden. With Aiden’s pregnancy I put on three stone taking me up to twelve stone. In the UK most women put on an average of 22lb – 28lb, that is 2 stone on the higher end so already with baby number one I had put on more than most. I had a ‘neat’ bump though; where all the additional weight went on my belly not really my face or anywhere else. Walking behind me you might not realise I was pregnant and then turn around and boom, big baby bump.
After Aiden was born the weight didn’t just vanish the next day like in the movies but once breastfeeding was established it did come off pretty quickly. Aiden nursed a lot. Like for hours and hours and I am sure that helped because as a brand new Mum I didn’t have time to exercise and I was always hungry and nibbling on biscuits to get me through the days (and nights!) Did you know that breastfeeding Mum’s need an additional 500 calories every day because the babes are quite literally suckling the fat out of you?! (that is the technical terminology and everything!) I also walked and pushed Aiden to sleep in the buggy A LOT!
After the initial significant weight loss in the first few months it did slow down and I came to rest at around 9 stone 6lb. Half a stone more than I had always been but I felt good and didn’t look to shabby either. Aiden was sleeping through and my energy levels were good so it was all A ok with me. I didn’t have any stretch marks and my tummy looked pretty much how it had done before, I was just a little heavier. In all honesty I knew we were trying for a second child and I knew I would get bigger again so I wasn’t to concerned about a few extra pounds in the middle.
When Aiden was 16 months old I got pregnant again. I knew instantly and had it confirmed a few weeks later. Knowing earlier on meant I had a good reason to forget about shifting the remaining half a stone and eat when I felt hungry. Now I know that you don’t actually need any additional calories until several months down the line but I did need energy to keep up with a toddler whilst pregnant, so eat I did. With Faye I beat my previous record and actually put on over three and a half stone, taking my weight to an all time high of 13+ stone. I was HUGE! Strangers assumed I was about to pop at only 6 months pregnant and I couldn’t go the shops without receiving a well intended “any day now” comment. Aye, any day in about a quarter of the year away I thought as I smiled back and often didn’t bother correcting them.
Once again I didn’t mind the weight I put on whilst pregnant. I was proud to be housing my baby so well, although all the comments from family on how large I was did get to be pretty grating towards the end. I ate more during my second pregnancy and wouldn’t you know it, the extra fat did not confine itself nicely to a pretty belly bump this time. Nope, I got fat face, fat legs, fat arms, fat feet. Everything was bigger! I felt the waddle from much earlier on than with Aiden. With Aiden I still commuted into Edinburgh on public transport, striding up the Royal Mile to full-time work untill the day before my due date (the same day contractions started) but with Faye I was zapped. I ate for quick energy hits and it wasn’t always a healthy snack.
After Faye was born and we had survived the first week or so, I began to realise that I had a lot of the baby weight still. I should say that Faye was a “big” baby at 8lb 7oz and her placenta was the largest that the birthing centre staff had ever seen! I had clearly done an excellent job at feeding her up to be big and strong. You would think that after a big baby and huge placenta have vacated there would be very little left but no. Everything was noticeably bigger on me. Even my arms which really annoyed me when I couldn’t fit back into old jackets.
I took action! I don’t plan on having any more children now so can’t use that as an excuse I thought. I was fed up of moaning to Keith about feeling fat and being sluggish and bloated so one afternoon while the kids napped I asked Keith to do a nice easy half hour work out with me. He is excellent at motivation and coming up with workout ideas. So 20 minutes in and I was thinking yes this is it, I’m going to do this everyday and rock a fab body in no time. Then came the star jumps
I should point out this was about 8 weeks post delivery and I had been cleared for exercise by the doctor. Well straight away I knew something was wrong. I felt something “drop” between my legs and when I went to check in the bathroom I found what I thought was a tumour the size of a golf ball hanging out of me. I went the doctors and they diagnosed me with a mild prolapse. It did not feel mild to me! I was put on a waiting list to see a specialist (a wait that took over 6 months in the end and still has not fixed the problem) and I was instructed to do no more exercise and not to even lift my children. Now obviously I need to pick up my kids (honestly what stupid advise!) but I was devastated to be told to stop exercising just as I was starting. I’ll be honest with you, I fell into a rather sad,depressed place. I hated the way I both looked and felt but I also used it as an excuse to eat more snacks just to cheer myself up. I was at 10 stone which might not sound too heavy for some but for my body type I was overweight.
So what to do about it? Well if you are unhappy with an aspect of your life I say go fix it. Some women out there might embrace their new shapes after having kids. I am certainly still in awe at what my body has been able to do. I don’t hate the way my body has changed but rather I want to really love it again. I want to have the energy I had before and the confidence I felt as a twenty something on a mini skirt with quite frankly blooming gorgeous pins.
Instead of looking at all the things I currently can’t do, like most exercises, I have decided to look at what I can do. I can keep moving. I can and do get out the house every single day with the kids. I take the buggy and we go for a walk between 9:30am/10am – 12 every day. I am not dieting as such but cutting back on a few fatty things. So instead of having butter and cheese on things like potatoes I am having one or the other. I am reducing the amount of snacks I eat once the kids are in bed. It is tricky because I enjoy these things but it is working. I wasn’t comfortable with sharing the 10 stone photos but here I am two weeks ago at 9 stone 8lb. The next week I lost nothing but this last week I shifted another pound so currently weight 9 stone 7lb. I ate a LOT of chocolate this week but Faye was up ALL night nursing for the last few nights (that is why I ate so much chocolate!) and whilst I would rather sleep, it has helped me lose another pound.
My goal is to get down to 9 stone in time for Faye’s first birthday in July. That gives me ten weeks to shift 7lb. Less than a pound a week. It seems possible but the last end bit is always the most stubborn. I think I am going to have to turn up the amount of moving I do each day and watch the sneaky snacks a bit harder. All in all I am happy with how I am progressing. I am sure there will be set backs but they are ok too. Yes I want a firmer, thinner and healthier body but my main priority has and always will be spending time with my beautiful children and how fortunate that they require a lot of energy and make ideal fat burning trainers.
How have you found adjusting to your changing body with having children? Are you happy with it now or perhaps you are working to improve it just like me.