What I Ate Wednesday: A real f*$%ing lot. Because I’m breastfeeding. And I’m famished. Always.
(Another day you’ll see what I did with my CSA veggies. Today, I rant.)
My 6 month old baby is exclusively breastfed. That means she hasn’t had so much as a drippity drop of anything outside of breastmilk since June 3rd when she was born.
Here’s the thing I didn’t know about breastfeeding before I started: it makes you hungry. Like Velociraptor-hungry. (What? Were you not obsessed with Jurassic Park in the nineties? Fine then, I’ll break it down for you. Velociraptors are nasty little shits – they will tear your face right off. That’s me when I’m breastfeeding-hungry.)
Another thing I didn’t know about breastfeeding: the pounds don’t just “melt off” when you do it. Everyone tells you that they will. They’re lying, you guys. That’s some La Leche-type propaganda right there, I’m convinced.
There’s loads of reasons I breastfeed. Magic weight loss isn’t one of them.
I didn’t gain a ton of weight with my pregnancy. I stayed active throughout, rested when I needed to, and (when I wasn’t totally nosh) ate to my hunger levels. Cravings weren’t crazy. I wanted protein and fat during the first trimester (tofu, eggs, nut butters and avocados), dense carbs during the second trimester (sweet potatoes, rice pasta and millet) and third trimester was all Indian, all the time. I also developed a sweet tooth and ate stuff like this almost every day. I listened to my body, responded accordingly, and gained the appropriate amount of weight for me for that particular pregnancy.
I figured those 20 pregnancy pounds would be just be sucked up into the ethers after I gave birth and I’d be back down to fighting weight in no time. Because that’s what Beyonce did, right? And K. Dash? And Halle, Giselle and Angie? And Oliva.Freaking.Pope.
Also, that’s what people told me. While I was pregnant, I regularly heard things like this: Don’t worry – you’re so active, you’ll bounce right back! You eat healthy so those pounds will come right off! You’re going breastfeed? Oh, you’ll lose the weight quick (LIE).
Before even birthing the baby, there were expectations put on me about losing the damn weight. As new moms, we feel pressure from all different directions. Between the tabloids we read and the comments we receive, it’s no wonder women are stressed out about Losing The Baby Weight.
But here’s the thing – you don’t always hear about how hard it is to get up and go for a run when you were up every 90 minutes to nurse during the night. Or how challenging it is to get to a yoga class when you have limited childcare and a baby that doesn’t take a bottle. Or that sometimes, when you’re breastfeeding, your body just holds onto the weight (they NEVER tell you that one).
There are such UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS placed on us to jump right back into our old lives, our old eating habits, our old exercise routines, our old bodies. And when we fail to meet those near impossible expectations, we feel like crap. We feel like we’ve failed.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed myself dressing in baggy clothes (remember when I answered the door in my husband’s sweats?). Yesterday morning while getting dressed for work, I pulled on a really loose t-shirt and looked in the mirror. I looked like I was in pajamas. “I’m hiding,” I thought to myself. “I’m hiding my body.”
And then I got really sad.
By hiding my body in these frumpy clothes, I’m sending it the message that I’m ashamed of it. What a pity. After all it’s done over the past year. Grew a human, housed a human, birthed a human and now, day in and day out (especially day out – my kid’s not a sleeper), sustains that human. Pretty impressive stuff. So why am I trying to cover it up? Why am I treating it like it’s done something wrong?
I pulled off the baggy T and pulled on my old form-fitting yoga clothes. So what if they don’t look the same on me as they did a year ago? My body isn’t the same as it was a year ago. And that’s not a bad thing.
So I will move my body when it feels good, I will eat peanut butter with a spoon when a random hunger pang hits, I will make it to yoga class on the days that the stars magically align and I am well-rested, the baby is fed AND I have childcare. I’ll stop wearing my husband’s clothes.
But what I WON’T do is put all sorts of weird pressure on myself to losethebabyweight. I won’t try to stuff my body into parameters that aren’t appropriate for my current life. I won’t be embarrassed about my new wiggly-bits. And I sure as heck won’t hide anymore.
Thanks for listening. Now it's your turn. In the comments below, let me know your thoughts on postpartum weight loss. Whether you're a new mom, old mom, not-a-mom, or something else I forgot, I want to hear from you!