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The Old Pre-Pregnancy Weight Ain't What It Used to Be

I’m not one of those mommies prone
to sitting around with other post-partum women and moaning about
baby weight; I’ve got enough stress as it is, and
there’s nearly always an element of competitiveness about
those conversations, either of the “I’m losing faster
than you” or “I’m more miserable than you”

At the same time, I know it’s something that’s
important to talk about, since celebrities paint a picture (thank
you, Heidi Klum) of instantaneous weight loss and firming, and if
we mommies don’t talk about it together we’ll all sit
there thinking we’re the only mom who is having a hard time
finding her old thighs again.

I have talked about weight issues with my
Mommy Focus Group, since they’re my support group in all this
and I have no pride around them. (Listen, after you’ve called
a friend at 2 a.m. crying because you just pumped a bottle of
bloody milk thanks to a not-healed bite mark, everything else seems
not so bad.) And the person who helped me the most both times was
my girlfriend B; she’s a personal trainer, similar to what I
do, and knows the pressure of the field to look good right away.
She helped me deal with unintentional (I hope) snarky comments from
clients, or demeaning offers of diet tips from fellow trainers. And
she gave me a realistic explanation of what to expect after the
baby arrives.

The first time around, she told me not to stress – I’d
drop the weight eventually, some time between six and twelve months
after delivery. She told me to be patient and simply be healthy
– not to stress or diet or work out too much. And she was
right: it was nearly a year after Maddie was born when I finally
hit my pre-pregnancy weight. I stayed there for a glorious month or
so before getting pregnant with Cora. Sigh.

The second time around, her news was a bit more depressing.
She’d had her second baby a year before Cora was born, and
told me that, though she regained her pre-baby weight with about
the same amount of effort, it just wasn’t the same.
“You’ll see what I mean,” she said frankly.
“My weight’s what it was in college, but my
body’s different in a way it wasn’t after my first
baby. I’ve got this belly thing going on that’s totally
frustrating, but what can you do? You’re just distributed
differently afterwards.”

I nodded solemnly and prayed that, for once, she’d be wrong.

Cora’s ten months old now, and I’m more or less my
pre-pregnancy weight (“more” because of all the
chocolate consumed during tax preparation time, which
shouldn’t count, but that means I can’t count the
“less” then either, since that was due to food
poisoning), but boy am I different still.

I’m hovering somewhere between my pre-pregnancy clothes
(clothes I look at fondly, since I haven’t worn most of them
for about four years now) and my first-trimester clothes. You know
the ones I mean – the clothes that aren’t maternity,
but are a size bigger than your usual size, or a bit roomier in the
waist, or whatever. You’d think that if I were back to my
original(ish) weight, I’d be back in my original clothes.

Ah, no.

Just as my friend said, I’ve got this belly thing going on;
extra skin that simply wasn’t there after Maddie. Like my
body knew how to make more and was so excited it overachieved a
bit. My ribcage is wider, which I expected, but somehow my waist
feels longer now too (don’t ask me how) and I find t-shirts
that I used to wear without a second thought just don’t quite
cut the mustard in the length department any more. Especially with
that extra belly skin thing.

I also know that, though my weight might be the same, I’ve
lost a lot of the muscle tone I had when teaching Pilates
full-time, so my size is bound to be different. I know all these
things, believe me. And listen, I’d have a right to complain
if I was doing, well, ANYTHING about it, but I’m just not.
I’m eating sugar like it’s a nonrenewable resource
that’ll be gone forever in a week, just to get through the
day. And exercise? Give me a second to stop laughing. Seriously, I
think I’ve exercised about twenty minutes this whole month
– and find myself inordinately proud of those twenty minutes:
two minutes of crunches here, ten tricep dips there, fifteen reps
of pressing Cora over my head, whatever I can get.

So I know that if I got serious, ate better and exercised,
I’d probably lose most of that belly flap snaking comfortably
above my jeans. I’d be able to fit into my old clothes, which
is way cheaper than buying new things just to make me feel better
(and how many of us refuse to buy new clothes in our
“new” size, thinking it’ll force us to lose
weight, but all it does is drive us to a Twix bar since we’re
so depressed by how frumpy we look?). I gotta get on the stick, and
I’ll get my old figure back.

Sort of. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that
B’s been right before, and she’s right about this.
Scale numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole
Mommy tale.


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