Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder who the heck you're looking at? These last 9 months have been a struggle, I didn't bounce back like I did after having Abbie, and I don't know the person staring back at me anymore... All I see now is an tired old lady (insert old lady emoji here). After posting the below comparison shot this morning, I've had some interesting comments, and I just want to set the record straight. It's taken what feels like an eternity, and even though I might look like pre-preggo Kirsty, I'm still far from it.
Pregnancy (and babies) has really done a number on my body... and I mean hammered it. Like someone's taken a sledgehammer to something once nice and shiny, and it's now shattered into a million pieces... Ok, Ok, let's not get too dramatic, but to me it's practically unrecognisable. Everything has changed, from my hair having fallen out, meaning now I have patches of super short hair where it's starting to grow back. My eyes have more wrinkles and under eye bags then they did a year ago (no sleep will do that to ya), my boobs are no longer perky and I fear that when breastfeeding comes to an end, they'll be hanging out somewhere near my bellybutton... a belly button that legit looks like a grumpy old man frowning at me! No jokes, that bad boy got stretched to oblivion, and all the left over stretched skin on my belly sits in such a way that I can make out his eyes, his nose, and he even has a bad-ass handle bar moustache.
Before I fell pregnant with Abbie, I had always envisaged my pregnant self to be reminiscent of Violet Beauregarde from the original 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'... You know, where she blows up like a giant blueberry, and the Oompa Loompas roll her away, this big round ball with tiny little arms and legs flailing around. However, I was pretty lucky the first time. I was less giant blueberry, more, swallowed a massive bowling ball. I gained about 11kg, had a nice little 7lbs baby, and was pretty stoked to end up stretch mark free... on my belly at least. My boobs went from b-cups to a fairly decent set of d-cups by 7 weeks, and then became massive watermelon e-cups (probably bigger, I was too scared to measure) when my milk came in. That part I'm ok with, I quickly looked at my new found stretchiness as a good thing... proof that I did at least once in my life have a reasonable set of jubblies. Pregnancy number 2 however, has really done a number on me. At about 37 weeks along, I measured myself at my widest point, I was 107cm. To put that into perspective, I am only 157cm tall, or roughly 5 feet 1.8 inches, but let's round up shall we? 5 foot 2!! My belly width was almost 2/3 my height, so my Violet Beauregarde vision wasn't far off. I was well on my way to being as round as I am tall, and if I was like that at 37 weeks, imagine what I would have been like if I'd gone all the way to 40, or heaven forbid... 42 weeks! In some ways, lady luck smiled down on me and I was induced at 39 weeks again. I can't imagine how much bigger she would have become, as it was she was 8lbs 4oz and 52cm at birth, so basically a little buddha.
Post pregnancy, I was left with a pretty sizeable abdominal separation, approximately 4-5 finger widths, seriously, a grown woman could fit her entire fist in between my abs! I still looked about 6 months pregnant (at least) at 3 weeks postpartum. The two pregnancies so close together meant everything grew way too quickly, and honestly just kept growing. I got asked on a daily basis if I was having twins, and at times I was convinced there must've been a second little baby hiding in there somewhere. After the birth, I avoided looking at myself in the mirror and just tried not to think about it. You know how everyone says 'It took 9 months to get that way, give yourself at least 9 months to lose it'? Yeah well, that's so much easier said than done, especially when you have the patience of a two year old, red headed toddler, when you have to try and find clothes to fit, or when the person you see in the mirror is all bulgy, jiggly and swollen. For the first few weeks/months, I wasn't even allowed to lift Abbie or do anything strenuous at all, so that kinda sucked, I had no choice but to take it slowly. I also had to wear a belly support, which during a Brisbane summer at like 1000% humidity, sucked more than anything!
It's been a long hard road (even though it seems to have flown by in a blink) and I'm finally starting to come out of this foggy feeling that's plagued me most of this year. Trying to do any exercise when you've got a baby and a crazy toddler sometimes feels like an impossible task. I was breastfeeding, so I couldn't leave the baby for too long, I have no access to daytime babysitters, and who the hell wants to go outside and exercise when it's -6?? Not me... but I've managed by walking to the park (when the sun is out) and taking the hilly route while pushing both girls in the double pram, or walking Abbie to childcare instead of driving, which is actually more due to laziness (the effort of two babies in and out of car seats vs the pram), and attempting living room workouts (which have now moved outside with the warmer weather). It's getting me there slowly. Then last week as I was looking back on photos I realised that this week marks the 39th week that my second little buddha has been out in the big wide world! For some reason that feels like a reason to celebrate... but it also meant it was time to look back at how far I'd come, and time to see whether I had reached my goal! Eeeek!
The most obvious positive thing I saw was that I had managed to lose all of the weight I had gained during pregnancy, and then some. I gained 14kg with Eliana, which was a fair bit more than my OB had in mind, but now I've lost a total of 17kg. I think that's mainly due to 2 reasons. Firstly, most days I barely get the chance to sit down, I'm constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off... And if you've ever seen a chicken have it's head cut off, like I have, you'll know it's not pretty. I'm up and down off the floor, dancing, or lifting, going to the park, not to mention the housework. Secondly, it totally helps having a smarty pants toddler. I don't want her to eat junk food, or anything terribly bad, so that means I can't eat it either! Goodbye daytime chocolate binge, or a sneaky bowl of ice cream with choc mint Iced Magic (Mmmmmm) It's totally the Best. Diet. Ever... and if I'm being totally honest, I did have a go at the 'Wisdom tooth extraction diet' too, when Eliana was about 3 months old.. it's extremely efficient, but completely horrible and I would not recommend it. Two of my favourite things in life are eating and talking, and I couldn't do either!
So even though I've managed to overcome two of the major issues I had, the weight and the abdominal separation (which is now approx 1 finger width now considered 'normal'), I still can't get my head around the other more permanent changes. There are a number of external pressures I think most mum's feel after having a baby, and losing the weight is definitely a common one, but another I have faced, is that somehow we are supposed to miraculously fall in love with our new bodies. I appreciate the amazing things my body has done, it not only grew two perfect tiny little humans, it delivered them safely (even if it was slightly traumatic), and it has healed and mostly recovered... I guess unless you're me, you wouldn't know the difference now. It's something I will never, ever take for granted. So with all of these amazing things, why am I still struggling? I have to be realistic. I had a whole 27+ years (pre Abbie's pregnancy) to get used to the skin I was in before it all started to change, and I've only had 9 short months with this new one. It'll take time. Through the girls teenage years, when I look at myself in the mirror, I'll be looking at an even older woman, with more wrinkles and grey hair (cause lets face it, teenage girls are not all angels like I was... right dad??), and I'll think back to this time. I'm sure I'll wonder what the hell I was going on about... but, it is what it is. Until the time comes when I can look in the mirror and be totally comfortable in my new skin, I can take solace in the fact that at least my deflated boobs and old man belly button have each other down there on my midsection... I can see them only growing closer!
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version