I think us women are prone to giving ourselves a hard time.
Weight is a big issue for a large percentage of the ladies I know. Many of us are constantly on a diet, watching our weight, signing up to gym memberships and chasing the ‘perfect body’.
Many women worry about how they will lose the baby weight and some can struggle to accept the changes to their body.
I have been lucky so far in both my pregnancies. I only put on around a stone and a half during my first pregnancy and have put on a similar amount with my second pregnancy at almost 35 weeks.
I do have a better relationship with my food and body since entering my thirties. Of course I have my wobbly moments and times where I wish I was more toned and that my thighs weren’t as bulky but on the whole I think I have quite a positive body image. My focus has now very much shifted from wanting to slim from a vanity perspective to wanting to actually be fit and healthy.
I am far from perfect, I have a terrible sweet tooth and a real chocolate addiction, I’m not a fan of intense cardio or the gym and I like to indulge in a fair few glasses of wine and prosecco a couple of times a week. But I try and balance it out. I generally eat to nourish my body, I drink lots of water and I walk as much as I can as well as swimming, yoga and squeezing in short home workouts.
I lost weight unintentionally after the birth of my first son, I was very poorly afterwards.
After a long road to recovery following an infected episiotomy wound and significant blood loss, I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid around six months after giving birth. Apparently thyroid problems following childbirth is fairly common due to hormonal imbalance. I was put on a waiting list to see a specialist but in the meantime I had to struggle through.
I felt absolutely horrific. I was exhausted, suffered from palpitaions and dizziness and a general feeling a malaise. My thyroid swelled in my throat so I found it difficult to swallow and eat solid food, so I was forced to live off soup and porridge for months. The amount of people, women in particular who told me that they wish they would develop an Overactive Thyroid was unbelievable. I know people make light of it, but I wouldn’t have wished the way I felt upon anyone. I would have taken being two stone heavier over the suffering I went through.
Around the time I was diagnosed, I started a new job as a Marketing Officer for a Charity. It was a very busy role, four days a week and I had to leave my six month old son at his Nanna’s for two days as well as two long days at nursery.
It was a dark time for me. My employers were understanding luckily as I wasn’t on my best form when I started, I missed my baby like crazy and struggled to eat a proper meal or sleep well. Combined with the stress of learning a challenging new job and the problems that young babies encounte, I was depleted.
Thomas was poorly a lot in those days. I didn’t know what was ‘normal’ as a first time Mum but it felt as though every week nursery were calling me to come and collect him or he wasn’t allowed in due to a virus he’d picked up. I was always on the backfoot trying to complete my deadlines and growing workload as well as care for my sick baby. I often went into work on less than five hours sleep a night, and broken sleep at that.
Luckily my thyroid corrected itself after around four months, just before I was due to see the specialist. The swelling went down in my throat and it felt like heaven to be able to enjoy solid foods again! Something we of course take for granted when we are healthy.
I was still slimmer than my pre baby self but started to gradually put a little bit of weight on and started to feel more like myself again.
I stumbled upon a picture a couple of days ago, not long after I was diagnosed when Thomas was around six months old. I was shocked at how thin, pale and gaunt I looked.
My wish for recovering from this childbirth and the early days of my child’s life are that I am well enough and healthy enough to enjoy those precious days. If I am carrying a bit of extra baby weight, I will try to look at it as a blessing rather than a curse that needs to be resolved through fad diets or excessive exercise.
I know I’ll be using a fair amount of sugar and caffiene to get me through those early days and sleepness nights. As long as I’m balancing it with plenty of walks and fresh air with the baby and some greens and nourishing food, I really won’t give myself a hard time. There will be time to get the body back I want when my babies are a little older and life isn’t as all-consuming.
There is much more to life than worrying about carrying some extra pounds. We never fully appreciate our health until we lose it.