I got pretty big pretty fast when I was pregnant. That’s what happens with twins. And also McDonalds. I was showing before my second month. I mean showing showing. Around my fourth month, my belly was super cute. No stretch marks. Great maternity clothes. Lots of comments like “oh you look great” and “you are only gaining in your tummy”. I swam, I walked, I did yoga. I ate a lot but not terrible food. Lots and lots of protein. I rubbed my stomach thoughtfully while at Target and imagined I looked like those adorable earth mammas on the cover of the baby bjorn I was buying.
Then I moved into the middle of my second trimester and I started gaining weight rapidly. I don’t know what it was but I guess I was just hungrier and less queasy. I don’t believe in all that “craving” stuff. When I was pregnant I “craved” a hamburger. Guess what? I “crave” the hell out of a hamburger right now. I would go to town on cheeseburger this second. It’s called being hungry for food that is bad for you. Net-net though, I didn’t eat THAT much bad-for-you food. But I gained a lot of weight. I remember the day I saw my first stretch mark. It sounds obvious but if was just such a bad day. I couldn’t really see it because at that point I couldn’t see below my belly button. I felt it though. I told my mom I thought it was there and asked her to look at it. She, trying to be nice, was all “oh I don’t know I think it’s just a wrinkle”. A wrinkle? On my stomach? I’m 29. It’s called a stretch mark but thanks. (Also as bad as a stretch mark is, I don’t know how much better I feel about a wrinkle on that part of my body)
After the first stretch mark came, it was like an alarm was sounded for the others. Like-hey guys, come on in the water is fine. And they came-like an army. And they spread-like a rash. And I read all these female empowerment things that were like “Don’t worry mamma! These are your badges of honor-your war wounds!” No. No they’re not. They’re stretch marks and they weren’t here before. I said things like “When I breastfeed, I’ll lose all my weight and get scary skinny” and I sort of convinced myself of that. Like I really thought I would lose 90% of the weight nursing. Sure I planned on exercising again but I really thought the pounds would just fall off right after they were born. So so so wrong. What an utter reality check this has been.
Because our babies came suddenly and unexpectedly, I am not totally sure how much I weighed that last day before they were born. That said, I’d guess I lost around 40 pounds on the table and over the subsequent three days in the hospital. I think I have another 20 or so to go before I’m at my goal weight. It is legit one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I remember the first day back when I tried to go running. It was like someone had removed the motor from a car. All that was left was my knees and my joints and my body hunched over like Mr. Burns as I made my way around the park. I had no core whatsoever. I came home sobbing. It got progressively easier but truth be told, I’m 4.5 months out and it’s still hard as hell. I ran a 5k a couple months ago and it was brutal. I feel like a different person-like someone who has aged 25 years overnight. My legs hurt, my back aches, my joints throb. Oh and my stomach looks like elephant skin. When I first looked in the mirror naked after the babies came I mistook myself for a 93 year old man. I still can’t wear pants. I buttoned a pair of real jeans a couple weeks ago and had a stroke. I’m still wearing maternity clothes. Want to know something bleak? Imagine going to target and slinking over to the maternity section (whilst not pregnant) and selecting a pair of maternity jeans. Imagine when the sales person says “Oh how exciting! When are you due” and you saying “In six months!” just because it’s too unbearable to tell her a. you aren’t pregnant anymore and b. you need the next size up in those maternity jeans you’re holding because your elephant belly won’t squish in.
I know there are more important things than how you look and I can see now that I might be a tad vain. I shouldn’t care that much I have too beautiful babies and my husband is very supportive. It’s just strange to be someone and to look like someone for 28 years of your life and then BOOM it’s all different. I have a couple of friends who just had their babies, one in particular who is GORGEOUS and already back in skinny jeans. Here’s what I’ll summarize with: Your post baby body sucks. Eff that crap about “war wounds” and “battle scars”. You used to be hot and now you’re, er, differently hot. It’s ok. There are more important things out there and you will (probably) get your body back. In the meantime, if you want to commiserate with a fellow elephant-skin Mr. Burns, hit me up.