There are several posts which traditionally show up in the few months after a baby is born. That is if you are a common-or-garden blogger like me, rather than if you are a superstar creative writer like, say, Julie, or Alexa. And even they have been known to write one or two of these. Some experiences are . To my reckoning, those posts are:
- I have a baby, he/she is the best thing that ever happened to me
- The baby doesn't sleep, what do I do?
- Breastfeeding is awful/wonderful/stressful/impossible (delete as appropriate)
- I'm so utterly sleep deprived I just [insert humorous anecdote here]
- My husband isn't helping/is wonderful/doesn't get it/I've fallen more in love with him than ever
- I'm still fat/the weight has just dropped off aren't I lucky
This post falls into the last category, and guess which side of it I am experiencing. Not hard, is it? I have quite a history with weight issues. Not exactly a shocker given the experience of others in this community, not to mention the global privileged world female population.
I'm currently carrying the 15lbs of infertility weight, and another 10lbs of post-pregnancy weight. I was actually losing weight beautifully in the few weeks after Junior was born. It was like magic, stepping on the scales every morning and watching them plummet down. I don't know how much I lost in those weeks as didn't weigh myself after the third month of pregnancy, but everyone commented on how little weight I'd gained this time and when I first weighed myself post-birth, when Junior was about 2 weeks old, I felt pretty optimistic given I was already below the weight I had been four months after Pob was born. But then the weight loss stopped. And then I started gaining again. I managed to halt the gain at only 4lbs by stopping buying my favourite chocolate biscuits, and by walking more with the pram. But that just halted the gain, it hasn't helped me lose more. And the walking with the pram has fallen foul of napping bootcamp (of which more anon), which doesn't help.
The perennial problems are two. First, that I really like food, and second that I eat for comfort. The one time in my adult life that I have been in great shape was around our wedding, and then the impetus to look my best in that huge public display outweighed the two underlying issues. Although I never really gave up on the first one, I always ate delicious food, just less of it and didn't give up chocolate, I just cut back. And exercised A LOT.
But right now the emotional eating side is strong. I've been stuck mostly in the house for four weeks trying to get Junior to nap. I suppose I should just declare defeat (although there has been some progress) and get out again. But I'm bloody minded enough to sense that things might get better and therefore to keep going. And my approach to breast feeding takes so long that the time I have to exercise at all is limited in any case (cue the bloody minded riff again). And the slots that I do have are taken up spending time with Pob, which doesn't give me much exercise as even her favourite activity - running - doesn't happen for long enough or fast enough for me to get a lot of cardio out of it.
So I'm not really exercising, and I feel hard done by enough that I'm eating more than I probably need. Not excessively, but enough not to shift the weight. And I'm getting fed up with not fitting into my nice clothes, but not fed up enough to stop myself from eating that extra bit of chocolate. I'm not sure I'm up for another search into my unconscious to work on the emotional eating bit - although perhaps it would help Pob a lot in the long run - but I am up for trying to find time to exercise, persuading H to give me smaller portions at supper, and perhaps limiting the amount of chocolate in the house. I just need to get on and do it.
Last week I went out with some of the women from my ante-natal group (from my pregnancy with Pob, I didn't do classes again this time). One already has a second child, one is pregnant, the other two are trying. I confessed to them it was the first time I'd been out since Junior was born, and they were horrified. Particularly the one who already has two children- the second being born just a year after her first. She is somewhat of a socialite and has a very active social life and regular date nights with her husband. She was moved to write me an email asking if I thought I had PND since she was shocked at my lack of activity and lack of confidence ( I should note all these women are at least 6 years younger than me and all but one shed all their baby weight in about a month after their first children were born*).
I don't think I have PND, I'm certainly a lot more stable than I was after Pob was born. But I am hard on myself. And I am very tired after all these months of feeding in the night. But that's normal at this stage of parenting, yes? I could definitely get out more if I made different choices about my parenting, and it's true that the morning I took Pob out to a charity party and left Junior to have a bottle with our nanny was the morning I've felt the best in a long time. So perhaps that's the key.
Hence a resolution. I'm taking Junior to a cranial osteopath tomorrow to see if that helps to settle him a bit better. Either way, by the end of this week I will be heading out for a fast walk with the pram once a day. And I will try to take a deep breath and start to leave Junior a bit so that I can do more activity and am not tied to being in the house every three hours during the day (yes I know one can breastfeed outside the house, but it's hard with my SNS set up to do so effectively and discretely, and Junior has got to that stage where he's very interested in the world around him so he feeds poorly anywhere other than my bedroom, and also I want to keep my supply up as it's very fragile at the best of times so I do need to pump regularly, and...). Doing so might mean Junior has to have a bit of formula occasionally, and I'm thinking about that. Not ok with it just yet, but I think I need a bit of my life back, as well as doing a bit more to get my body back, before I go back to work and surrender a big part of my life again.
Cue a whole new post about mothers and guilt and whether it's just my job to sacrifice what I need for my children right now. But I'll stop here and start that one another day.
* And please don't slam them. They are lovely women who love me a lot and appreciate me, they just happen to be rather lucky in the fertility and beauty stakes. Although 'lucky' is a bit relative as one has had two miscarriages and one had horrible anaemia and couldn't breastfeed and one had premature labour and pre-eclampsia.