The "Bounce Back"
"You're only 21..you'll seriously bounce back in NO time!"
"Well I was young so it didn't take long at all."
"Being young really helps your body bounce back quickly!"
"Oh, you'll fit in your old clothes so fast."
"You were fit before and worked out during, so you'll totally be fine!"
Words of encouragement. Phrases of reassurance. Suddenly, another expectation I felt I had to meet.
No, the women and friends who said these types of things to me during my first pregnancy did not do so out of unsolicited advice or a need to project their own wants/wishes onto me...but rather, they were genuinely excited that I was a young, previously fit mom who was expecting! My body was lean, well-taken care of, able to adapt, and they were so excited that I was blessed to start my motherhood journey at my age.
I felt their joy, their excitement! And I felt the weight. Ever-increasing: the weight of the baby, the weight on the scale, and the weight of a new expectation that flooded into my brain.
I always struggled with my weight growing up, I mean, doesn't every woman is some sort of way? I was always tall and slim, but all of my weight carried in my tummy. I hated that. No matter what I ate or how I worked out, things never felt "toned" enough for me. My friends always looked better in this or that outfit or swimsuit than I did (what I told myself). And let's be honest: the silly thing is that I've never been "overweight," I always stayed around the same healthy weight for my height, and I always ate well. I've always known my insecurities were just lies whispered from the evil one. They weren't true. They held no weight. Yet, for whatever reason, they've always been a hurdle to overcome mentally and spiritually.
When I conceived my first, I had already adopted a spirit of "moderation." My husband and I practiced (and still do) a lifestyle of enjoying all types of different food and drink while taking into consideration: what makes us perform at our best? A relatively healthy diet and routine rigorous exercise!
Well, I thought I would keep up this awesome routine into my pregnancy and that it would help me stay "on track" to lose the baby weight quickly after. Little did I know that nausea and depression were about to hit me like a ton of bricks. The only things I could stomach the first half of that pregnancy were chicken nuggets, corn dogs (yeah, the 40-pack frozen ones), and strawberry ice cream (with real strawberry bits, please!)
Although I worked out semi-consistently (emphasis on semi) I gained more "added" weight than anticipated. I was prepared what my body would look like directly after birth, but I expected it to go back to "normal" in no-time. After all, I was told I'd bounce back quickly & easily. Well, that just wasn't the case.
As the first 3 months went by, I enjoyed a new life as a mom (and as a Texan!) My mom and I shopped for a few summer pieces that actually fit, we spent time with family and enjoyed lots of chips, queso, and margaritas to celebrate the start of a new home & stage in life!
So, no...my body didn't start to bounce back. Not yet. And honestly? The slow process of getting back into a real workout routine and moderate eating helped me to take the time to see my "new" body for what it was: the same body, the same young woman, just with proof of what she'd accomplished.
My incredible husband had a lot to do with that mindset-shift. Constantly encouraging of the woman and mother I had become, he helped me see that this new kind of beauty was worth celebrating. When he noticed my complacency and lack of energy, however, he also encouraged me to think about regaining the lifestyle I once loved! So, at almost 4 months postpartum, that's what I did. I began to add an exercise routine to my daily schedule and implement my moderate healthy-eating lifestyle once more. I never went on a super strict diet, nor did I pressure myself to exercise so much that I was disappointed in myself on the days it didn't happen. I took this new routine slow, day by day. I bought a few essential clothing items to fit my new comfy-mom-style (and hips--yeah, those were new)! It was slow progess, yes, but it's what was right for me.
I've seen plenty of young mom-influencers on instagram talk openly about the fact that they rarely work out and that the baby-weight came off just from being young, breastfeeding, or genetics. I've seen several others post about their hardcore diets, routines and the dedication it took to find their new strength. I've seen many reveal how perfectly content they are right where they're at.
What's my point? That each journey is GOOD. Each is UNIQUE. Each is BEAUTIFUL and INDIVIDUAL. So, if you're like I was, thinking that the "bounce back" had to look some type of way...STOP IT. That's just another form of comparison which we all know is the thief of joy! Your wants, needs, and desires when it comes to postpartum recovery are going to look different that every. other. woman. Your journey to your ever-changing destination is a gift from God that is beautiful in and of itself.
It's okay if you don't "bounce back" right away, or ever. It's okay to buy new clothes that FIT and make you feel FINE. It's okay to embrace the stretch marks, cellulite, and newfound "squishy" areas. It's okay to start a diet plan and new fitness regimen. It's okay to power through and become stronger, fitter than your pre-preggy bod. It's okay to work out, eat in moderation, and take your time.
The point is, the choice is yours, and only yours. It's a good thing to eat healthy and exercise regularly, and it's good to do so without any expectations. It's okay to do so without the pressure to "bounce back."
I still had 8 lbs. to "lose" to get to "pre-baby weight" before I got pregnant with my 2nd. I never reached that number on the scale, but my journey led me to feel stronger, healthier, and more confident than I did before.
Letting go of that expectation allowed me to embrace my life as a new mother and the unexpected choices that came with: changes in style, eating habits, exercise routines, and confidence in this body that brings about life's greatest miracle.
for prenatal & postpartum recovery, fitness, health & knowledge
*these are not affiliate links--just sharing who I find personally helpful to follow on social media*
The Vagina Whisperer Another pelvic floor expert who shares so many goodies on the gram!
Get Mom Strong A postpartum core trainer and mama who is funny and inspiring!
Nourish, Move, Love Lindsey's workouts have been kicking my butt this pregnancy, especially since I can't be at the gym this time around!