The Baby Weight

“THE BABY WEIGHT: aka Thank Goodness My Jeans Are Loose But Don’t Kick That Old Lady!”

The other night I tucked Bella into her sling and we went to the restaurant for ladies’ night- fun! Except among the ladies I saw one lady in particular, an older grandmotherly type who has trouble saying the right thing. The kind of lady you’ve known forever, part endearing and part Oh MY. We’ll call her M. Lately when I see M, the greeting I get has been “SO. How much weight have you lost?” I always respond once with a “What? I’m sorry?” As if I didn’t hear her (looking around for SOMEONE to save me), and M snarks again, “how much weight have you lost? Since the baby? Didnt your doctor weigh you at your last checkup?” No hello’s, no how are you’s, not even the ‘how’s the baby’ greeting you grow used to hearing as a hello with a new little one in tow.
Ugh. First, I should say its humiliating to even admit I feel so awful about the baby weight- why would I want to draw any more attention to the size of my ass, really? Its not a topic I like to address with others, I’m just too self conscious. I let it sit silently as I work it off. I would never be the girl standing in a dress asking ‘do I look fat in this?’. What if someone told me I really did look fat!! The horror. Its hard to face your body after having a baby, it took a long time for me to be friends with my post baby body after Jax. And this time around with Bella, I’m consciously working on letting myself take time and let it be. I’m not going to torture myself to lose it.
Yes, I’ll work on it, no one wants mush forever, but I’ll take advantage of breastfeeding’s edge, and I’ll plan on just working on adding more activity into my day. Maybe I’ll actually take the adage ‘9 months on, 9 months off’ to heart. Or, maybe I’ll lose patience, and decide marathon training is for me (not likely). The point is, its none of M’s business!
So, having said that, it leaves me feeling pretty crappy when I get asked this question by M. Why? What if she thinks I put too much on? I didn’t. What if I look like I havn’t lost enough? What is she fishing for? What on earth am I supposed to say? Why the —- does it matter to her anyways? Now the gloves are about to come off.
I take a deep breath and remind myself, ‘She’s old- if I kick her in the shins, other people might side with her’. Then I tell her I have no idea. I don’t have a scale. “You don’t have a scale!?” M snarks. No, no scale. Not anymore. “But your doctor would have weighed you at your checkup, what did HE say?” Well now M has picked a fight.
I tell her I don’t have an OB, we see a Midwife who is absolutely wonderful. And since that visit was 6 weeks ago, and lasted 10 minutes, it wouldn’t matter that they hadn’t tortured me by putting me up to standing on a scale. And I’ve told you, M, that I see a midwife. I told you several times. (Insert ‘Senile Bitch’ insult here) Besides, if M must know, my post partum visit went like this: how are you? Great!! Breastfeeding going well? Yup!! Great. Any questions? Nope! Okay, we’re all set then. (And then we got to the all important midwifey chit chat we all look forward to with midwives)
The long story short is, not many women enjoy their bodies postpartum. There are freaks of nature- sorry- some lucky women, that you could hardly tell they ever had a baby 6 weeks out. I’m not one of them. I can be quoted verbatim as “I never want to have another baby because I’m too scared of getting fat all over again!” Well, another one I’ve had. Thankfully part of the design plan is to provide for plenty of energy for breastfeeding- and its a perfect system to see your baby grow and be nurtured by your body.
Taking my time and being kind to myself is definitely a learning process. I can be patient about some things, but honestly, this one is hard. The good and the bad is that there’s little control over how our bodies grow our babies and the after effects. We can eat perfectly healthy to help them develop well, and we can breastfeed them as Nature intended, while sitting on Nature’s comfortably padded ass. If the only lesson I learn from all this is how to hold back from kicking old ladies in the shins, so be it. In the meantime, I’ll eat healthy, nurture my daughter, and maybe I’ll tone my kicking muscles up a bit.

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You’ve Gone Crunchy

I’ve never really considered myself all that crunchy. I like to luxuriate in super hot long showers- I’ve actually forgotten I was warming the shower up and left it running. What a waste of water, right? I love my blackberry and other technology, and my occasional sense of outdoorsiness and adventure is more often brought to life with dinner and a big glass of wine on the deck rather than some grand hike. When in Massachusetts, I am in the habit of driving to Target at the drop of a hat and inevitably will come home with more useless plastic to indulge my son’s whims. I do love to get outside and have a hike, but life over the past few years has caught up with me: working all the time, Jax, traveling back and forth between Maine and Massachusetts. Invariably, the combination of being forcibly busy and, let’s face it, laziness, kept me from embracing many of the things I’m doing today. There was hardly any time to hear myself think- now something I’ve made time for.
The other day, sitting with Bella’s pediatrician, Karen. We chitchatted about life, cute shoes, decisions we all make, and my family. She is a high energy, fast talking NP who knows her stuff AND her patients- the kind of person who takes the time to remember us and our conversations whenever we’re there- almost family therapist mixed with Oprah: You can’t help but have a great fulfilling conversation with her. Our focus turned to Bella, of course, but she was remarking upon how content Bella is in her sling, wrapped snugly against my chest, and how much she loves the cloth diapers Bella was wearing that day: “seriously, you can’t find underwear that cool!”. And that’s when she said it. Karen smiled, looked me up and down and said “you’re different now, yah. With two. You’ve gone so crunchy!”
Whoa whoa whoa. Me? Crunchy? Because of the baby? And then it hit me. Yeah, I have. But the thing is, I may always have been. And you know what else? So what?! Call me Granola. I love the stuff and eat it almost everyday. It drives me crazy when people don’t recycle. I piss and moan that we don’t have as much space as we used to in our giant Yukon SUV (I do miss it), but I love that my little Subaru is so much better on gas. Recently I even talked about proposing a program to ‘green up’ some restaurants I know of. Maybe it just took Bella for me to really do things about it.
So here I am. Natural childbirth, baby wearing, attachment parenting (learning), granola eating, cloth diapering mama. And proud of it. While I think some things I have found passions in are actually what I believe should fall under the ‘Normal’ category, call it what you like. The best part is its all a learning process, even the crunchy parts.