Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Muffin tops, belly jiggles, and other mommy "war scars"

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!!!

15 comments:

  1. My body seems mostly the same as it was prior to Baby #2 except for one thing that drives me crazy: my boobs. I always had relatively big boobs for my size. They shrunk a little after I stopped nursing my first, but then they bounced back (figuratively). Now I'm nearly two years post-partum and they seem to be permanently small. I only stopped nursing a few months ago and I'm 10 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight, so I have a little hope, but I seriously hate it. And there's nothing I can freaking do about it! No exercises for boobs, as far as I know.

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    1. Have you read "Are you there God, it's me, Margaret?"

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    2. I have read that book, but don't recall why it might be pertinent here. I just had to say I laughed hard over my morning coffee imagining boob exercises, thanks Fizzy.

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    3. Was that the book with "we must, we must, we must increase our bust"?

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    4. The bigger the better the tighter the sweater.

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  2. I bounced back mostly after my first, but had diastasis recti with my second and am left with a permanent mommy pooch. I've gotten back into what I consider decent shape again, and yet, no change to the pooch. I am slowly (SLOWLY) coming to acceptance and focusing on my other assets---I've been doing strength training and have the arms to show for it, and my legs are awesome from running. I am also learning how to dress myself to minimize the "problem" area and maximize the good parts. Its helping a bit, but I still mourn my flat belly (and lets not mention the boobs). The truth is, however, that even if a severe diet & exercise plan would reshape my body, my priority right now is spending time with my young kids, doing well at work, having a good marriage, etc... So I eat relatively well, exercise moderately to stay in shape, and am trying to let go of the rest... Good luck to you, I'm sure you will bounce back with time, but if not, know that 1) you are not alone and 2) its OK.

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    1. Ugh, I have had a pretty big diastasis since my son was born a year ago (he was 9 lbs...) and there doesn't seem to be any good solution. I tried a few PT sessions but they seemed like not the best use of my time when I was newly back to work with a 4 month old. Tried to keep up the exercises myself but have not seen any results and just kind of come to terms with it, especially since I am not done having kids yet. Especially frustrating that I can't do many of the ab exercises and Pilates that I would really like to do .. but most days I spend < 30 seconds fretting about my stomach and much longer than that enjoying my happy little guy.

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  3. You are not alone. I was a size 4 when I got pregnant as a first-year med student, and now as a graduating fourth-year - I am still an 8 struggling with my weight. I am running regularly now due to the glory of fourth-year, but I am nervous about how to handle it when I'm an intern. I struggled to get to a great size to begin with (lost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers prior to getting pregnant), so I know it won't be easy getting back down to a good size.

    Again, you aren't alone....my son is worth every pound I gained back and struggle to lose! Although, I am terrified how to manage this when I start residency this summer.

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  4. I decided I had to work out again after I stopped breastfeeding Jack. Despite being smaller than ever (too small in fact - I'm healthier now with about 15 extra pounds and still within normal weight for my height) from the nursing/fellowship/new job stress I was alarmed when I noticed in the mirror that my butt required panties for definition. Ack. Exercise got my head and my butt back in shape. I've no time to be a hardcore crazy exercise nut but if I stay with three days of walk/running three miles and a yoga class or two per week, I feel balanced. The stretch marks never go away. Muffin top is still there if I try to squeeze into my tight jeans. I take all of this out on my children daily. Kidding:). Good luck!

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  5. The badge of motherhood. The worst is when my daughter decides to play with the belly jiggle. She thinks its hilarious!

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  6. 1) queenie- 8 is a "good" size. I was/am an 8 since forever and I while I could stand to lose a bit, an 8 is notbad. Dont worry.
    2) I dont know how everyone else seemed to shrink their boobs, but m ine balooned huge and refused to go down. It is ridiculous.
    3) it is definitely hard to fit in excercise. It was hard for me to lose the babyweIght and I was finally able to work on it by discovering an excercise studio nearby that provides free childcare. I also fot in squats during the day whenever I can

    Good luck!

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  7. Ladies! Thanks for all of the comments. I write this as my girdle pinches my back. Something about dressing up on Fridays helps me get through the day with a smile; the girdle pinching is something I'm tolerating. Can't wait until quitting time so that the girdle can come off. I am hoping to do some running this weekend and get a Zumba class in next week.

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  8. I have what will likely be a permanent ridge of weird hanging skin an inch or so below my belly button and though I am more or less the same weight as I was before the pregnancy, the proportions are all different. My breasts are like balloons from which some of the air has leaked out. My hips are more solid. I wish it were all different, but it can't be my first or second or third or even forth priority right now, so I'm resigned and like you, love my spanx when I want to feel lovely. Plus, my body tells the story of motherhood and I guess there are worse stories to tell. I found this website while despairing over my body and I love it for teling the truth about women's bodies during and after child bearing. http://theshapeofamother.com/

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  9. Motherhood has forced me to stop my weight obsession. I simply don't have the time or energy after the second baby. I stopped watching every calorie I eat and weighing myself several times a week for the first time since I turned 22. I eat well and exercise everyday. My BMI is normal. I am happy with that. I call it my weight zen. A gift of motherhood for sure.

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