I wasn't sure what to call this post, or indeed, whether to write it at all, but it's been niggling in my head for a week or so I decided to just do it. Please skip if it's not your kind of thing, but for those of you who are curious about how having a baby changes you physically... read on. I love a good overshare, me. I also love reading these kind of posts because pregnancy affects everyone so differently - I find it fascinating.
So, deep breath, here we go...
Daph was born a year ago and I am kind of perversely proud to say I have not lost all my baby weight yet. Shock horror. I haven't actually weighed myself since we moved because we've lost the bathroom scales somewhere in the melee, but you know how you know your own body... I would give a rough guess that I currently weigh about 9st 9 (on a good, non-period day, first thing in the morning after a wee). I'm 5ft 7 just to put that in context for you. When I got pregnant, I was about 9st 3, but I was actually the lightest I'd been in a while because I'd been on a bit of a fitness kick and had been going to the gym a few times a week for about six months. Earlier that year, I was about 9st 7, and that was probably my base weight for a couple of years.
So yes, I am not back down to 9st 3 (I was nearly 12 stone at my heaviest when pregnant!). I wanted to get back to 9st 7 but I haven't even managed that. I have mixed feelings about this to be honest. I think - if I wanted to - I COULD get back down to that weight relatively easily, by doing a few runs each week. I started running earlier in the year when Daph was younger and weirdly I was less tired (somehow smaller babies are less tiring because despite the night-wakings, they're less demanding during the day and nap a lot). But I gave it up when I started working again, when she was about five months old. Now when I get some time to myself I have to do my freelance work, and exercising has definitely taken a back seat.
Interestingly, when Daph was first born I was desperate to lose ALL the baby weight and really worried about it, but, now I can honestly say I don't care! It's quite liberating. The only part of me that really wants to lose the extra pounds is the part of me that sees myself in jeans, as they're not as flattering as they were, but otherwise I am quite happy floating about in maxi dresses. The extra weight is all across my thighs - the inside of my thighs mostly, and a little bit on my tummy and arms. It's not terrible. And on that note...
The good thing about having a long back is that you also have a long tummy. Which means it usually looks pretty flat - there's plenty of space to spread out the fat y'see. I also have a tummy button that goes in a lot which helps it to look flatter (blimey, this is a weird blog post). So my tummy actually looks pretty normal at first glance. I didn't get any stretch marks (thankfully) when I was pregnant and the skin isn't loose. What is different, is the - now excuse me here cos this is also a bit weird - texture of my skin on my stomach. It's kind of squishier than before. I guess, it's because it stretched and it's now fatter, but I think it's actually also cos my abs separated and I am fairly sure they haven't joined back together yet. I think there are exercises I can do to sort this, but I can't really be bothered to be honest. Maybe if we go on a bikini holiday next year I will do something about it. The main thing is that my tummy is pretty much the same as before, just a bit... softer.
My general shape
My mum doesn't believe this, but my hips are definitely wider than before. You know how they stretch a bit when you are pregnant thanks to the ligaments relaxing? I really don't think they go back - fitted trousers and dresses I wore before I got pregnant just don't look quite right now (and no, it's not just the extra weight - I can tell the difference). My waist is also less defined - that whole area is a lot more 'square'. But it's not terrible. I feel a bit more 'mumsy' shaped and dare I say it - middle aged?
Oh and my feet. My feet are still bigger. Not swollen any more but bigger, and most of my pre-pregnancy shoes are now uncomfortable.
As you may know, I didn't breastfeed really - just pumped for six weeks then gave up. After I stopped pumping my boobs shrank back pretty quickly to their previous size. They look the same now as before, honestly, but they are pretty small and inoffensive (I fail the pencil test) so maybe that's why. I reckon they're a bit lower than before, but that's probably ageing more than anything else. I don't know if boobs change more if you 'properly' breastfeed, would be interesting if anyone wants to share!?
This is the weirdest and most annoying thing. A year later - my hair is still not the same. It's still darker (although I noticed my first few greys coming in - AAAAAH!) and even more weirdly, I seem to have developed a strange kink on one side. At first I thought it was the way I was wrapping my hair in a towel, but no, it turns out it's actually gone a bit curly on one side. My hair has always been poker straight, and now if I leave it wet, it goes into a really unattractive wavy mess. Annoying.
Yikes, I can see my mum reading this and thinking I've truly lost my mind. However. I can confirm that all is functioning as before in this respect! No discernible changes AT ALL, despite my second degree tear. Your body is designed to give birth, and seems to make a really decent job of recovering from it. Or maybe I just got lucky. Either way, there's been no leakage (SORRY!) or problems of any other nature... *stops talking before everyone I know disowns me*
Has gone! Hurrah. Apart from being eternally knackered, I feel my brain has returned to its previous level of functioning. If anything, I reckon it's better - I'm certainly better at remembering things, multitasking and all that jazz.
What else what else... In general, I look older. A lot older than before. I am pretty sure this is all down to lack of sleep however, and not the baby per se. Oh and y'know I'm 35 now so it was to be expected.
So there you have it. My most navel-gazing post to date. Literal navel-gazing. I can see loads of you rolling your eyes and sneering at the sheer self-absorbedness of it. I may be full of regret at publishing this. But I think the point was really to say that yes, my body is different from before and no, I don't actually care. I know all that gubbins about seeing your body differently after you've given birth sounds annoying but it's SO true. It does put stuff into perspective. It does make you respect it more. It doesn't stop you wanting to eat ice cream and sugar all day to cope with your three hours of sleep. But one look at the little person you made, and their PERFECT BOXFRESH skin and PERFECT SOFT hair and it's a sacrifice that feels both completely natural and well worth making.