38 weeks in, 38 weeks out

One of the most interesting times for me was the the time leading up to and after the birth of my baby. After about 30 weeks of pregnancy, I began to avoid mirrors. The drastic changes ocuring in my body were just too much for me to handle. I watched my body stretch week after week, my clothes became tighter, I became hungrier, I was hot all the time (summer pregnancies are a really bad idea by the way), I was swollen, my shoes didn’t fit, I had gas (both ends), I didn’t want my husband to touch me (unless it was to massage my aching back or feet), I was over and underwhelmed, and I won’t even begin to talk about the hormones.

I had neither an easy or difficult pregnancy. It was somewhat typical with the exception of a few hiccups, Gestational Diabetes and twice weekly visits to my OB/Gyn and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists. Aubrey graced us with her presence on August 12, exactly 14 minutes after I was cut open in the operating room. She cried, I cried, we all cried. It was beautiful.

The last thing I felt was beautiful. Between a c-section recovery, learning to nurse, a nocturnal baby, well meaning visitors, and everything in between the last thing on my mind was my postpartum body. I continued to avoid mirrors. In fact, there were days where I’m not even sure I brushed my teeth, got out my pajamas, or did anything “productive.” The first 6 weeks were amazing, hard, lonely, exhausting. Then reality set in. I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and figure out how to be a mom while still being “me.”

Kudos to the women who get their bodies back in 6 weeks. I love you; however, this is not me. In reality, my body is still not the same, and I’m not sure it will ever be. It’s been stretched, pulled on, cut open and sewn back up. It looks different, feels different, fits different.

I’ve had some moms ask me what I’ve done over the past 9 1/2 month, so I’ll share my advice – I’m still a novice, so take it with a grain of salt.

Weeks 1-6:
-Sleep as much as you can.
-Wear a belly binder – this helps with the “jiggle.” My belly looked like a bowl full of jelly for a while, and I needed something to keep it tight.
-Drink lots of water.
-Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

Week 6-12:
-Start light exercise if you’re up to it. I started walking Aubrey in the stroller around the neighborhood. This helped with my mental health more than anything. A little fresh air goes a long way when you’re cooped up in a house with a newborn. I also was not realeased for exercise, so a walk around the neighborhood was actually a leisurely stroll.
-Drink lots of water.
-If you’re starting to fall into a routine, begin to plan balanced meals (5 small meals per day).
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.

3 months-6 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– If you’re ready, up your exercise routine. For me, this meant working out at home and going back to the gym. I absolutely love the Tracy Anderson Post Pregnancy DVD. She focuses on rebuilding your core better than anyone I’ve seen so far. She also has a lot of unique exercises that can be done in your home with no equipment required. On the days when I was able to leave the house, I visited the YMCA for group classes. This was good for me mentally and physically.
-Focused on eating clean. Eliminate processed foods, soft drinks, grains and added sugar.

6 months – 9 months:
– Drink lots of water.
– Take a daily vitamin and probiotic.
– Continue building your exercise program. If you’re ready, take it up a notch! At the end of Aubrey’s 5th month, I enrolled in a mommy boot camp. This really helped me mentally and physically. I also incorporated interval training (walk/jog/run) when I had time.
– Focus on eating clean. During this time I kicked my nutrition up a notch as well, and did a detox (see older posts for my detox experience).
– Incorporate a daily protein shake to help build lean muscle mass.

Now going forward:
My plans are to continue drinking lots of water, eating clean, drinking protein shakes, working out and interval training. I’m still not where I want to be physically (I’d like to continue rebuilding my core), but I’m making progress!

I never thought I’d share this picture, but I promised myself I’d share my journey. I hope I can help one mom realize that postpartum weight loss takes time for some women (not all us of can walk the Victoria’s Secret runway 4 weeks after our babies are born.) The beauty of motherhood is after all is said and done, you get an awesome reward.

Fotor0616221211
I hated taking pictures when I was pregnant. The picture on the left is actually 1 week before I delivered Aubrey. The picture on the right was taken 6/16.

Visit my website for supplements and tools for weight loss, pain management, breast health, detox and protein or email me at JadaDanos@gmail.com.

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