Category Archives: Reflections

The postpartum skin I’m in

 

Two months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. She has my heart and she brings me more joy than I ever could’ve imagined before I met her.

She is also the reason my body is different. Very different.

I’ve lost about 15lbs since her birth but I’m still at least 20 away from my “pre-baby weight.” I have a lot more stretch marks than before. I have saggy skin. I have these new big boobs that come with leakage problems and boob sweat. My belly button is wrinklier inside. No seriously. I have a wrinklier belly button. It’s odd. Sometimes I leak pee when I jump or twist or squat. Not all the time. Just sometimes. I cannot move as fast as I used to or work out as intensely as I used to. I look tired (and am tired) around the clock.

This body doesn’t look or feel (or smell!) like the one I had before I had my baby. That’s been a tough thing to come to terms with, especially as my body continues to serve another human being. I don’t look like a supermodel. I didn’t “bounce back”. I still don’t always recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. She looks much different than the person there a year ago.

But I can’t go back to that body. Not ever. Not really. And I don’t want that body. That body is untouched by pregnancy and birth. That body doesn’t know a world with the cutest little girl in the world. This body does.

After I got the OK from my midwife, I gladly jumped back into activities and exercises that made me feel good. I nuzzled my baby in her Tula and took her on walks, and now that the weather is warming up I’ll be wearing her up into the mountains. I get my sweat on as I wander around the mall with other mamas during Stroller Strides once a week. And, like in these pictures, most days of the week I squeeze an interval workout in at my home that’s now always a little messier than I would like. They’re always less than 20 minutes and some days I spend hours in my sports bra before I find a good time to work out.

I’ll work out while my little one is napping or while she’s playing next to me, and I have to be fine with cutting it short for baby snuggles and meals. This is my new reality. Getting up and active almost always involves my little one. Exercise isn’t just different logistically now. It also feels different. I’m in a much different mental space. A positive one.

I look at my little girl and I think about what matters to me and what I want her to see. I want her to see that I live an active life because I love it. Because it makes me feel good. Because it makes me happy. I don’t want her to think that I do these things because I hate my body; the beautiful body that brought her into this world. I try to eat healthy and stay active because I love my body; not because I hate it. The numbers on the scale do not define me and I do not need to hide my body.

Some days I forget that. Some days I give into the messages around me about what my body should look like and what I should want it to look like after giving birth. Some days I get down. Some days I really miss my old clothes. Some days I wish I was made of celebrity magic and could look fit and well-rested mere months after giving birth.

But then I remember why my body looks so different these days. I remember there’s a little girl watching and listening to me every single day and that I want her to understand self-love. I remember what this body is capable of.

And I will not be ashamed of this body.

This is the body that grew and nourished a life for 42 weeks and 1 day.

This is the body that powered through 44 hours of labor to give birth to a beautiful baby.

This is the body that continues to feed that baby every single day.

This body deserves love.

This body performed a miracle.

I look at my daughter and I absolutely refuse to believe that my body is anything less than extraordinary.

 

 

A letter to my daughter on the eve* of your birth

*I’m using the word “eve” very lightly here as I don’t actually know when you will show up. I’ve started this letter on the computer and in my head too many times to count. I don’t know the right way to start a letter to your child as you wait for her to be born.Continue Reading

Fitspo is dumb

Oh fitspo, the cool mashup word that’s been all the rage in online fitness circles. In case you’re not good at being hip, fitspo = fitness inspiration. Well, theoretically it does. And okay, I’m sure some people find these entirely motivating and not the least bit damaging, but I’m not a fan of the messages.Continue Reading

To my fellow white friends, confused by rioting

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to digest the Baltimore riots, the recent riots before them, and the political and social atmosphere that built them all. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking “I don’t understand” and trying to understand in spite of myself. But that’s just it. I don’t understand. I won’t understand.Continue Reading

It’s okay if you can’t come to my party

Facebook event created. People invited. Acceptances and excited notes start pouring in. And then the declines. “Sorry I can’t make it I already have plans to go bass fishing with my third cousin that day.” “I have the exact same event for a completely different person otherwise I would totally be there.” “We’ll try to make itContinue Reading

Almost 1,000 words about my two-word New Year’s resolution

It’s January first and you know what that means: reflections, resolutions, and regrets for some. It’s a strange thing, this time of year. High off of holiday warm and fuzzies, people start making plans to improve themselves for better or worse. We commit to things in January that seem impossible in July. We put offContinue Reading

On wishing I never went to college

First, some background: 2004: Senior year of high school. Applied to five colleges. Three for theatre (acting), one for biology, one for nursing. Accepted to all of them, I chose to go to VCU for theatre. 2005: Started at VCU for theatre. Naive and starry-eyed. Summer 2006: Decided not to go back to school forContinue Reading

Why I left personal training (Part 1)

The reasons I left personal training (as a profession*) are varied and I’m not keen on writing a dissertation to present all at once so I’m breaking my story up. For my sake and your sake. I decided to become a personal trainer after I had dropped out of college, quit drinking (for a while,Continue Reading

3 tips to help you stop annoying me at the gym

1. Don’t drop the weights. Listen bro, this isn’t 1982 and you’re not Mr. Olympia. This is a gym in the suburbs with a bunch of moms and old dudes. So how about you take a moment to consider the people around you, eh? The people next to you don’t need to be startled everyContinue Reading

My healthy living story

My healthy living story

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog. Recently, someone on Twitter asked me how I got into living healthy and making my fitness a priority. I started to respond and then I realized that my story was going to take up much more than 40 characters so I wrote somethingContinue Reading