Zo will be 2 years old in a few months. I was very healthy prior to and during pregnancy; I regularly did prenatal yoga videos, walked daily, and even did Zumba until I was 5 months pregnant. Sometime during my 8th month, I developed an abdominal hernia. I knew it needed to be assessed, so 8 weeks post partum, I went to see one of my favorite Professors. He is a round-bellied, wonderfully abrasive Surgeon with a penchant for throwing things in the Operating Room. He’s a no-nonsense type of guy with a plethora of jokes and a desk with an ample candy jar. He is an excellent Surgeon and his patients love him, and I guess at the end of the day that’s the important part.
During my appointment, he examined my hernia and said “just wait until you pop another one out before doing anything with this.” I asked about the extra flub and stretch marks and he said “give yourself a year, things should tighten up by then”.
18 months into the game and although I dropped the baby weight quickly (another perk of nonstop breastfeeding, a healthy diet, and frequent stroller walks), these muffin-top-wiggle-jiggle and hip flub-shakes just does not want to budge. My various corsets and girdles help to camouflage it when I want to appear shapely, but nothing helps when I am naked or even worse when I am at my beloved Zumba class shaking it up in workout gear with all of the skinny-minis.
I started working out again (ie, getting in a once a week Zumba class or some core strengthening training on Youtube while Zo is asleep) a few months ago. I looked at my bulging belly and hips and cringed. O is happy that I no longer look as malnourished as I did between 4 to 6 months of nursing, but neither of us loves the extra jiggles and low self esteem that come with them. I began to understand how folks slowly become overweight and out of shape. It’s like a slow decay creeping in. One day you skip a workout and then a few weeks later you realize you haven’t worked out since God-knows-when. You see your morphing shape and think (through my Pediatrician’s lens), I am soo tired, who has time to work out when I am trying to feed my family and cuddle my baby before going back into the NICU to keep really sick babies alive?!?
But it is important. And I do have to make time. I realized during undergrad that I need to work out. My body, mind, and spirit need it. When I am in shape and feeling good about my body, it is amazing. When I don’t exercise I feel downright yucky. Add replacing my beloved six-pack abs with this stretch-marked-middle-jiggle and you get the picture. Folks (my mother) who have seen the immediate post-partum belly and what I have now say it’s not soo bad, but to me it is.
I have vowed to continue to shake my mommy-bulge at Zumba and try to step up my efforts. I am planning on tightening up what I have so that I can feel better about the new mommy-me. These are my war scars. I’m in the trenches. Mommy-pouch boot camp begins now!!!