Travel. It was so carefree and liberating as a young adult. I've had so many great experiences in other cultures, and look forward to passing that on to my children. Thank goodness it's fashionable to be a parent who travels with their children! Instead of feeling like your life is over and you have to "settle down," you can choose to share with your children all that the world has to offer.Read More
On one had, we see celebrities and "fitspo" inspirational women on social media who are 20 lbs below pre-baby weight at 2 months postpartum, with six pack abs and catch phrases like "no excuses!"
On the other hand, we have the mamas who are offended by any suggestion that a woman might want to regain her figure after birthing a child. "The culture is trying to get rid of any evidence that we had babies! You're perfect just the way you are! Your saggy belly is a battle scar - you should be proud!"
I hereby proclaim permission to fall somewhere in the middle of those two equally unappealing extremes.
So without further ado...
Reasons to Take Care of my Health after Baby
Vanity (or the quest to find flattering clothes)
I am truly happy for women who have naturally lean bodies who can look so toned after having baby. They will most likely attribute it to eating clean and staying fit throughout pregnancy. Those things are so important, and a huge accomplishment, because carrying a child in your womb is seriously tough. But for those of us who eat healthy and stay fit, but still look 4 months pregnant for weeks on end postpartum, it's a hard message to hear. Every person's body is different. We have different genetics, metabolisms, body types (short torso...ugh), and situations.
But let me be clear. I don't like the sagging postpartum midsection. First of all, the words "sag," "sagging," and "saggy," just sound unappealing. Kind of like the words "moist," and "puberty." But I digress.
I don't like it because I find it impossible to dress. When you're pregnant, the goal is to show off that bump. And many maternity clothes are designed to do just that. When I'm postpartum, I want to disguise the bump. I don't love explaining to 4th graders and men who apparently don't know anything about the post baby process why I still look like I have a baby in my belly. It's just a weird conversation. So I tend to stay away from many of my maternity clothes.
|that's a lot of belly to shrink|
|8 weeks post baby...progress|
Working out makes me happy. I forgot about that! Taking 2 months off from working out besides the occasional walk around the block felt like heaven. I wasn't allowed to work out for awhile, so there was no obligation and no guilt. I loved not having to plan my shower around a sweaty workout.
But then I reached a point in my postpartum journey where I was cleared to resume fitness activities, and my weight loss hit a plateau. It was time to join a gym! I'm a huge advocate for living room workouts and no equipment body weight workouts, but I knew that with 2 small children, a small home, and limited free time, I would always have an excuse not to workout. I figured joining a gym (for the first time in 4 years!) would force me to get out of the house if for no other reason than for fear of wasting my money.
After my first workout, I was seriously on a high of endorphins. I felt a surge of energy I hadn't felt since before pregnancy. (Even though I worked out during pregnancy, it wasn't the heart-pounding, go-all-out type of workout). It was 9 p.m., but I felt like I could do anything! Grade a stack of papers! Do a budget! Fold all the laundry!
|not cute...but sweaty + happy|
Strong for my tasks
Ah, yes. The Proverbs 31 woman is always a source of inspiration. A mother of small children has TASKS to do! Lifting carseats, laundry baskets, and a 30+ lb toddler requires strength! Lugging Teddy's swing to and from school everyday requires strength. Keeping up with a 2 year old requires endurance. Running on less (a good amount for having a 2 month old, but still less) sleep requires more energy. Vacuuming, running a household and a business, teaching, parenting - they all require energy, endurance, and strength. Those things are enhanced by activity and good health. I take care of my health to be a good wife, mother, teacher, business owner, and steward of God's gifts in my life.
|10 weeks post baby|
+ Pinterest - an amazing source for gym workouts, home workouts, no equipment workouts, and workouts with baby
+ workout gear - loving my new Old Navy workout tanks
+ these fat burning and nutrient-dense shakes (while still nursing, I use them in addition to healthy balanced meals)
+ Bible studies + devotions to keep my mind sharp and motivated to serve God to the best of my ability
+ the Bedtime Belly Buster!
+ podcasts, audiobooks, and good music to listen to while working out
What are your favorite tools, workouts, meal plans for fitness after baby?
P.S. My thoughts on getting back into shape after baby #1
He's here! He's finally here! The eternal pregnancy is over! (In truth, it only felt eternal for the last month or so.)
Justin and I keep looking at each other, wondering if this has all been too easy. If it's all going too smoothly. Teddy's birth and hospital stay were blessedly uneventful and peaceful. He is a world champion eater, and so far he is a wonderful sleeper. I have high expectations for him, but I'm also aware that this could easily change after the first few weeks.
As for big sister Pippa, she vacillates between smothering her little Teddy Bear with affection and ignoring him completely. She will occasionally rub his head softly while whispering, "Sweet baby," over and over, at which point my heart becomes a puddle.
It's officially been one week since he came into the world, and it's been a blur of naps, feedings, swaddles, and endless loads of laundry. It may sound strange to say, but I kind of love the laundry part. When Pippa was a newborn, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with a community coin-operated washer and drier, so we tried to keep laundry to once or twice a week. This is no small feat when you have a baby as spitty as Pippa was! Now that we have an in-unit washer and drier, I love the freedom to throw a small load in just as soon as enough of Teddy's and Mama's clothes are covered in spit up.
I did end up having a C-Section (I'll write up Teddy's birth story later), but it went as smoothly as it could possibly have gone. Recovery has been surprisingly quick and easy, with the exception of some air from the surgery trapped in my back and shoulders - ouch! It seems to be getting better by the day, though. Some days I feel like the recovery is going a little too well! I feel so good that I want to "get stuff done" and "be productive," then I end up exhausted and sore. I just have to remind myself that I just had surgery one week ago, and I have to take it easy!
I have so much gratitude right now for the community of people around me who have made this transition so easy. First and foremost, I can't say thank you enough to my mom who has been staying with us for the past week and a half. I felt no anxiety leaving Pippa when I stayed in the hospital, because I knew she would have so much fun getting special attention from her Nanny! I can't even begin to describe how nice it has been to have an extra set of hands to hold a baby, play with a toddler, and do the dishes and laundry while I recover from surgery.
We had both sets of parents, Teddy's uncle/godfather, and my sister Annie stay with use for varying amounts of time this past weekend for the the baptism. Everyone was amazing, and I felt no pressure to entertain because they were all so helpful around the house! Not to mention our church community who pulled together to provide hot meals for us almost every night since we brought Teddy home from the hospital. It's sometimes hard to accept help, because I like to feel strong and independent. But there are times in life where we need to lean on each other a little bit, and just pray we can return the favor at some point! I'm thankful and humbled by the kindness that has surrounded us the past few days.
Justin has been an amazing husband, dad, and caretaker to me. I think the job of new dad is sometimes downplayed and forgotten, but I can't imagine doing this without him. Every middle of the night diaper change and swaddle, every foot massage in the last few weeks of pregnancy, every meal he has served me, every extra chore he has done without complaint has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by me - even if I haven't been the best about expressing it.
Yesterday was Teddy's 1 week checkup, and everything went so perfectly! He's already surpassed his birth weight, which is a welcome change from Pippa, who struggled to gain weight in the first few months of life.
Teddy is such a content little boy so far. He hardly every cries - just grunts and squeaks when he's not happy. He loves laying on his changing table with a mirror next to it. He explores stretching his limbs and taking in the world around him. He actually stays awake between one of his feedings now, and it's so incredible to watch his wide open eyes take in the action.
In short, life is good right now. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Here we are, mid-April, and it is the best of time, it is the worst of times. (But mostly the best).
Somehow, I was just sitting in my parents' living room with all my sisters crafting my New Years Mini Goals. (April is "a sound mind - adult learning" by the way. I have been successful with my January - March goals...but have not really pushed myself in all aspects of my April goals). In that respect, I blinked and 3.5 months passed me by.
Conversely, I feel like we are in a vortex of time that moves like molasses. Come summer, we are packing all of our belongings, attending Justin's sister's wedding, moving to Florida, and having our second baby. When I think about what the near future has to hold, each day seems like a lifetime.
I suppose that's life, huh? When we look back, we can't believe how quickly time has passed. When we look ahead, we feel impatient. My focus has been on enjoying the present, or at least experiencing the present, instead of wishing the time away. Thank goodness for lovely spring weather! It has allowed us to make impromptu fun outings to the park, to get ice cream, and to the zoo!
state of the bump
I truly can't complain about how pregnancy has been going lately. Once morning sickness subsided (around 20 weeks), I began to feel more like myself - energetic, ambitious, happy, and excited once again. The bump has been growing at an alarming rate (probably at a normal rate actually...just seems so much faster the second time around).
That doesn't mean I haven't had the normal aches and pains that go along with pregnancy - it's just part of the deal! But seeing a chiropractor, prenatal yoga, exercise, and mostly healthy eating have helped with a lot of those minor complaints.
I'm craving sweets for sure. Specifically ice cream and fresh fruit. I don't think I have any aversions now that the morning sickness is gone. I've been SO THIRSTY, and chugging water like it's my job. I have a water bottle on both floors of the house, and I keep a third one in the fridge ready to go.
Easter weekend was momentous for baby brother, in that we actually decided to spend a little money and buy him some clothes! The entire Carter's store was 50% off, so he got a few onesies, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of pajamas, and a fedora - he'll be a beach baby after all!
I'm currently at 26 weeks and 5 days, so just over 13 weeks left (in theory) until we get to meet baby boy!
state of the pip
Parenting can be a lonely job, especially if you have had the experience of staying home with a baby while your spouse works outside the home. I consider staying home with my babies a privilege, and I truly don't take it for granted. That doesn't mean that those midwest winter days stuck inside with a nonverbal child don't get long, though!
But then this magical thing happens...your itty bitty baby starts to get long and lanky, and starts walking and talking and dancing and making jokes and developing their own quirky personality. Suddenly you have a companion! Someone to (kind of) talk to and have memories and jokes with.
And that's where we are with our 22 (what!?!?) month old, Philippa Florence. Her verbal development is exploding, and I think my jaw drops on a daily basis at the words and phrases she thinks to say. She is sweet and sassy, silly and smart, observant and obstinate.
Here are a few of my current favorite Pipisms:
- While I was holding her, resting her legs on the bump, she felt baby brother kick. Her eyes widened, and she said, "Mommy, that's the baby!" Followed by, "Más baby!" (more baby)
- She likes to tease us with her love. She'll say, "I yup you! (I love you)" but point to anything but us. This morning she took it a step further and said, "I....yup..." her eyes darted around, clearly trying to think of something silly to get a reaction from us, and then decided on something, "I...yup...you, Baby!" and pointed to my belly. I know she was playing us, but my heart melted.
- Counting 1-10 en español - but always skips siete.
- Singing her ABCs (but for some reason she calls the song "EFG")
- Singing Jesus Loves Me/Cristo Me Ama in English and Spanish
- "Wauwee" - how she says sorry. A few weeks ago, she ran into a lady in public restroom, and say, "Oh! Wauwee."
"Sink, sink, sink." while tapping a finger to her temple. She loves to list all the characters from Winnie the Pooh and what they say. Pooh is "think, think, think," but with her lisp it comes out "sink." Piglet is "oh d-d-d-dear!" Tigger is "hoo hoo hoo hoo!" And Eeyore is "Thanks for noticing me." She cracks up at this one, shakes her head, and goes, "Oh, Eeyore."
- "Tank you."
- "Oh well."
- "Ay yi yi!"
- "Mommy, nuggles?" when she wants snuggles
- "Jeans are too tight." and the clothing preferences have begun.
- "Oh, yes!"
- At the park she was very independent...but then would realize she didn't know where I was and would yell, "Mommy? I see you?"
- "Baby buh-bump, buh-bump at doctor." talking about hearing the baby's heart beat
- spells her name "P - I - P- I!"
I'm sure I'm missing some, because she seriously learns to say something new every day. I want to bottle her up and keep her this way forever! So instead I'm taking as many videos as my iPhone can hold.
She loves Curious George, Winnie the Pooh, and "Bob" - Veggie Tales. She sleeps with monkey, George, Minnie Mouse, Snoopy, and Pete. She is quick to throw a "fit" if she doesn't get what she wants - she has really perfected the fake cry. It usually stops quickly with a stern look and a "Do you want a time out?" We are having so much fun with her at this age! Here are some of my favorite pictures of her right now:
She is going to make an awesome big sister! I can't wait to see the 2 of them together!
Justin is enjoying coaching bowling at school - and loving that so many students are getting into it! He is also doing his best to keep his pregnant wife and toddler daughter happy. We are both soaking up the last few months with the students we have - we are going to miss the families at our church and school so much when we move. Not much else is new with the adults in the family, except that we're trying to fulfill our Stillwater, MN bucket lists before we move!
And congratulations if you made it through that novel. I'm no good at scrapbooking, so it's really fun to have these archives to look back at the different stages of pregnancy and babyhood - it all passes so quickly, and you somehow forget everything you think you'll remember forever. And now we're off for another fun outing with gorgeous weather. Hurray for spring!
...although it probably was never really a secret to begin with.
It's true! We get to be parents again!
And I have a lot to say about it. 12 weeks of keeping this "secret" and I couldn't wait to start talking about it.
a few initial thoughts:
1. It's not really a secret. As any young married wife knows, your midsection, health, and alcohol consumption habits are under constant scrutiny from well-meaning friends, relatives, and mere acquaintances for signs of baby news. Any headache is responded to with a knowing wink. Passing up on a glass of wine means several follow-up questions, such as, "when are you due?" And don't you dare gain weight in your face or midsection, lest you start rumors of a baby! (By the way, I'm guilty of this, too. It's human nature to want that joyful news for the loved ones in your life). Anyway, I know I can often guess when another woman is pregnant, even before they start showing, so I'm sure many have guessed or figured out our secret long before we heard the heartbeat. I got "pregnancy face" (that bloating in the chin area? attractive.) pretty early on. Not to mention having such a short torso, and I'm pretty sure I was "showing" at about 7 weeks along.
2. Part of me wanted to keep it a secret, but most of me just wanted people to know already! As with my pregnancy with Pippa, I have pretty rough morning sickness, extreme exhaustion, and awful headaches. I just wanted to be able to tell people why I didn't feel up to my normal tasks or even meeting up for coffee.
More importantly, though, there is an unwritten rule in our society that you don't share your news until it is "safe" to do so - around 12 weeks. But I'm of the opinion that (a) whether or not something happens to baby, it's still my child, and it's still a human life, and (b) I would want prayers and support from those I love if the worst
happen. Each person is different, and I was comfortable enough to share it with friends and family early on, just not the general public (probably due to my introverted nature). Glad it's out now, though!
3. The second (and I'm assuming subsequent) time around, you start showing
earlier. Oh hey, mirror reflection! Is that a 24 weeks pregnant lady? No? Just 12 weeks? Cool. (that awkward stage when regular clothes don't quite fit right, but maternity clothes are too baggy).
4. Pippa came with me on Monday to hear the heartbeat, and ever since has been lifting up my shirt asking, "Baby, where are you?" Yesterday, she lifted up my shirt and kissed the baby (my stomach), then made Pablo do the same thing. Today, she fed her pancakes to the baby (my stomach), and threw a fit when I told her she had to eat them. I'm kind of amazed that she's starting to understand, but also terrified of the day she will expose my pregnant belly to the general public. Also, she now runs to the bathroom and makes throwing up noises - just like mommy! Charming.
5. There is no joy equal to hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time. Did I cry on the way home? Maybe. Blame it on the hormones.
6. Pippa was generally an easy baby, and is so much fun right now, I kind of forgot about all the hard stuff about pregnancy and newborns. That's ok! Just like the first time around, I don't want to know about it until it's happening. Ignorance is bliss.
7. I am finding the first trimester easier as a stay-at-home mom with a toddler than when I was working full time. At least I can lay on the couch and put Curious George on Netflix for Pippa. And take a nap when Pippa naps. It's much harder to get up super early, dress like a professional and do your hair and makeup while wanting to throw up, be on your feet all day when you just want to sleep, and stay on top of your work when you're operating at the capacity of a person with a three-month stomach bug. Props to working ladies in their first trimester! (I remember Googling "How do women work in first trimester?" when pregnant with Pippa).
8. This pregnancy is no less exciting than our first. I thank God for giving us another chance to do this - his goodness, mercy, and love are boundless!