Okay, so I’m going to get pretty real in the post…
I weighed my heaviest right before my pregnancy. I had gradually gained 25 pounds over the course of about 5 years. I wasn’t so unhappy with myself that I wanted to lose weight; though I talked about working out more often and eating healthier. And in the previous year, I had switched from a moderately active job to a desk job answering phone calls a majority of the time. Increasing my downtime, my ability to snack throughout the day and cutting out all the walking I did. I was very nervous about weight gain after I found out I was pregnant, though I was willing to happily gain whatever I needed to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. I expected it at least. I thought that pregnancy cravings were going to be so hard on me and that I would end up at high 100s or maybe even 200. I was genuinely concerned.
But I had no idea how bad morning sickness was until I was right in the thick of it. To be honest this was when I really started to feel the least like myself. Everything smelled so strong, I was nauseous all the time, I didn’t want to eat, nothing sounded good… During this time I slept like no other; I would come home and sleep until Mark came home so he could make dinner then I would fall asleep again until 10 minutes before I had to go to work the next day. I stopped doing my makeup, I only brushed my hair when it got too tangled, I didn’t care to dress up. I stopped taking care of the house, doing laundry, cooking… I didn’t go out much; hell I barely would go to the gas station. It went on for three, long months.
By the time I finally started feeling better, I had lost any pregnancy weight I had gained. But I also lost all motivation to go back to doing makeup and at this point, nothing fit me right anymore so clothing always made me feel uncomfortable and frumpy. And maternity clothes were expensive, I also – at the time – was only planning on having one child, so I couldn’t justify spending money on them if I could get by. I started wearing dresses like 80% of the time since it was the only thing that was loose and comfortable yet still made me look put together enough for work.
But as my belly got bigger and even the things that still worked got tighter, I had felt stupid that I hadn’t gotten anything at all, so I went out and allowed myself 2 pairs of maternity leggings… $80 dollars later (thanks Target), I was able to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy in comfort. But then I was confined to the two pairs of leggings.
Which would’ve been normally okay, because I wear leggings ALL the time. Except for that, I still wasn’t feeling so good about myself. I felt lazy. Even when I took the time to do my makeup.
So my pregnancy went on and I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl. And I can’t tell you what relief I felt after I gave birth! It was instantaneous. I could suddenly breathe, the veins on my legs and thighs weren’t bulging anymore (I literally thought were going to be permanent). But now I was healing from a 2nd-degree tear, bleeding like crazy and sitting on what was the fattest pad I have ever worn. And then, my feet swelled up. My entire pregnancy – they didn’t swell – then all the sudden they were ballooned up, and I didn’t fit a single pair of shoes I had!
It hurt to walk. It hurt to sit. I was still weak, too. I could barely carry the car seat up our stairs. And my belly was jiggly. Then trying to figure out how to breastfeed… I was a hot mess; better in some ways, worse in others.
The only thing that worked out in my favor (kind of) was that I lost weight breastfeeding. Although it created quite a dilemma for me… NONE of my clothes fit me; everything I had been too big for was now too big on me. I lost any butt I had – which wasn’t much, to begin with.
All I remember is being shocked as most of my clothes simply fell off of me. And even more so when I took a look at a picture that Mark took of me. I didn’t recognize myself one bit. It had been so long since I had been able to look into a mirror and be genuinely happy and comfortable in my skin.
It was funny because I consistently got snarky comments about how lucky I was that I had lost so much weight and that I had “bounced-back” super quick. Yet I had no clue who the person was in the mirror.
And like I said, I was never truly so unhappy with my body beforehand… I have always been somewhat slender and I was always slightly jealous of girls with curves. But I’m someone who believes if you truly want something, you go out and you get it. Do you want to lose weight? Do it. Work for it! You want those booty-gains you see all over Instagram? Go do some squats, girls!
So I knew, that I could get it all back if I wanted to. That wasn’t the issue… I guess the issue was motivation, or rather the lack of. I had been stuck in such a rut for so long, feeling and looking like someone I didn’t know…
Let alone how I felt inside…
I had been working since I was 18, making money and going to work was the life I knew. And while yes, I still had no clue what I really wanted to do for a career, I was slowly advancing in my line of work. And at the end of my pregnancy, I had a stable, 9-5 job with good benefits. I know – not necessarily living the dream – but it was a good job with good people.
So to say the very least, I was lost. If I hadn’t started my blog a couple of years ago, I probably would have gone out of my mind the entire time I was home alone with Lily.
And yes, I am still living out my dream of being a stay at home mom. I am SO GRATEFUL for that. My husband will never know how thankful I am that he can provide for us. That I have been able to exclusively watch and care for our child, as well be able to exclusively breastfeed. But being a stay at home mom can be so isolating…
My blog gave me something to work on… It gave me something to do that gave me a little bit of thrill in the midst of all the confusion, the sleepless nights, and days I spent thinking about how I might never get to have a “real career”.
I eventually did start buying myself things here and there… I started doing my nails again and getting ready for the day.
So fast forward – Lily’s turning 16 months this month – and I am JUST NOW, starting to feel like myself. But guess what? At the same time, I’m not myself; I’m not the old me. That person is long gone and I still don’t know who I am… I’m rediscovering myself and I’ve learned to be okay with it.
I have also finally managed to work in some me-time in our day-to-day routine to work on my blog or my business, and to work out if I choose to! I can get up early to get myself ready for the day, have breakfast with my husband and feel refreshed enough to take on the day with a full to-do list to get done.
So the best advice I can offer you so you can get back on our feet; is to not be so hard on yourself. Take it easy for a bit. Give yourself a chance to recover first. Then when you’re all better physically, do your best to work in the me-time you deserve! And even if you’ve decided to go back to work, be sure to add that time in for yourself. Going to work does not count as a break.
Self-care is so, SO important.
Give yourself a manicure, get dressed for the day, do your make up, do your hair, buy yourself clothes that fit you right. Go for a walk, if that’s what you need. Drink water. Take your vitamins. Eat your vegetables. Whatever it is, that self-care means to you – do it. Even if that means going back to work. If that’s your livelihood – either go back to your job or find a way to do it from home.
And most of all, don’t forget you’re not alone. Join some mom groups, I promise you there’s someone else in the same shoes. Or someone who’s been in them. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.
I don’t think what I went through was exactly considered postpartum depression but if you may think you have it, this is the phone number dedicated to the national postpartum depression hotline: 1-800-PPD-MOMS. There is always someone there. Even me.
So with much love, here’s to finding yourself and gaining back your confidence!