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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

why I'm embracing maternity pants post-partum

I had my baby 4 months ago, and I went shopping for maternity pants this weekend. 
Yup, it's true, and I'm not ashamed in any way.

I don't fit into my pre-pregnancy pants yet. Not by a long shot. They are way too tight to wear normally and comfortably.

I have had some health issues in the months after my c-section so I've just started walking lately as far as exercise goes, no where near the running 7 days a week I was doing pre-pregnancy.
I also have a fibroid, which enlarges my uterus to the size of a 5-month pregnancy at least.
So, yeah, I'm not back into those pants I used to wear. Instead I'm rocking some maternity pants.
And here's the thing, I'm realizing this is A-OK.

And quite honestly, no "excuses" or reasoning is necessary.
I had a baby. I gained weight from having that baby. Then I took care of that baby and healed my body post-c-section major surgery. And I'm not in my pre-baby-took-over-my-body pants. So be it. It's OK.

The first two months I gave myself a pass, wearing maternity felt totally fine because the bigger belly was still kinda there. And with a c-section incision, it was easier to wear elastic waists versus zippers on jeans. And who the heck had time with a newborn around to find my pre-pregnancy pants anyway.

Then the third month came along, nearing the end of maternity leave, and I was wearing mostly black stretch pants every day but trying to wear "normal" outfits on weekends and preparing to return to work and wear regular professional attire every day. I felt pressure to get into some type of pants, not my pre-pregnancy ones per se but I tried a few on wondering if I could squeeze into them. No go. So before I went back to work I tossed out all the really obvious maternity pants like with the huge belly wrap thing that drove me nuts even when pregnant. But I kept the tiny low rise type panel maternity pants, just two pairs, I told myself, it was cool, until I adjusted.

Well then a few weeks into working I realized I had nothing to wear. So I went out and bought two pairs of professional maternity pants with the tiny elastic waist band, not really maternity right? It was like the pants I'd wear at the start of pregnancy, when you are wishing the belly will grow just so you can wear some cute new maternity pants. That was cool for a few weeks until I realized I was so uncomfortable, needing to wash the pants over and over, and just again uncomfortable.

So this weekend I went shopping with my mom. I found some bigger shirts that make me feel better with all the nursing changes that have occurred on the top half. They aren't my typical size medium, but who cares?! And I stumbled into the maternity pants aisle. And I bought two pairs, again with that low panel thing around the belly.

And guess what?! They fit awesome on my legs and my waist feels snug and comfy, instead of pinched and ridiculous. And nobody can tell. I could care less if they could tell at this point. I don't wear maternity clothes daily. I have some standbys from pre-pregnancy I fit in. But hey, whatever works.

I'm in transition. I'm morphing from pre-pregnancy body to post-pregnancy body. And I've been stretched and altered. It was for a fantastic reason. 

I didn't just eat chips and chocolate all day (OK I did eat chocolate most days...). I didn't just ignore being healthy. I ate veggies and fruits, and I was physically active for most of those days. But I have bigger things to worry about right now than fitting into some mold I'm "supposed" to get back to.

I had three kids in this old body. I carried them, grew with them, delivered them via major surgeries. And I have some health issues as a result, but more importantly I have a stronger than strong body that I'm proud of. It's not the size, shape or weight I'd like. But I'm embracing it right now.

I've felt SO down the last few weeks, not having energy or time to workout how I wish I could and how I've done before. Not fitting into anything. Feeling like I'm in this awkward in between body stage. It's temporary, but not temporary enough it feels like.

Until I realized recently, IT'S OK. 
I'm OK.
The body is OK. 
I just need to embrace where I'm at right now and make small changes every day to get back to feeling comfortable in my skin.

Part of that feeling comfortable part is walking more during my day and drinking more water, but also part of it includes buying maternity pants that look awesome and fit nicely.

And I'm OK with this.

To all the moms who are trying to diet and exercise within hours or weeks of delivering a watermelon size child... give yourself a break. Be patient with the process. I know for sure you know how to be patient, even if you aren't feeling it right now. Because you delivered that baby. You grew that baby first, and it took SO long to grow and morph and change. You were patient with that process because it's all you had, you had to be patient and wait it out. You knew it was temporary.

So treat your post-pregnancy body the same. Be patient with it. Do your best to be healthy and make good choices. But know that it won't all happen overnight, and it's not supposed to. You've heard it said before and now need to believe it: it took 9 months to put on that weight and change your body to have a baby, it's going to take at least 9 months to take it off. 

So find things that make you feel more comfortable in this transition time. My good friend sent me a longer necklace that makes me feel pretty and more comfortable with the larger chest area. My sister reminds me to wear cute scarves, which I wasn't really into pre-nursing body, but they work great now. My sister also told me to wear longer tunic shirts or dresses with certain pants. There are lots of cool things at Old Navy right now, she suggested.

Work with what you have. Go shopping for some temporary clothes. I know you don't want to spend time / money on things when it's short term. But here's the thing, when you squeeze into clothes that barely fit or hang on to the idea of being in them "soon," you put pressure on yourself that's unnecessary. It's OK however long this process takes. So go to a great consignment store and get cheap items for this transition. Feel good about yourself, or at least try to. Your body just did this HUGE thing having a baby. And it doesn't matter if it's been days, weeks or like 7 months since you had that baby, you "just" had a baby and it's all good to be in this transition phase for a while.

I'm all for exercising, finding your balance of healthy and relaxing, and eating right. I'm all for that. In fact, I feel my BEST when I'm running 7 days a week. So I get it. BUT... when you go through a pregnancy, delivery and then newborn phase and caring for an infant under a year old... your life changes drastically. Other things like how many ounces you're pumping and the baby's shot reactions and researching teething supports become WAY more important than balancing your carbs and veggie intake. Be OK with this for a while.

You're beautiful and strong.
Start acting like you feel that way at least part of the time.
And on the bad days... do something healthy to make yourself feel better: dance party in the living room or while doing dishes, workout video, walk up and down your stairs a few times, crunches with baby on your legs, Vitamin Water, dark chocolate, whatever works!

It's not easy. I get it. I'm right there with you.
But we are worth feeling better about ourselves and the huge jobs our bodies just did having babies. 
So rock those maternity pants or yoga pants or whatever you're wearing. It's ALL OK. 

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