Last May, Maggie Mason of the Mighty Empire wrote a little something that hit me like a ton of bricks. Not the kind of bricks that knock you flat on your ass but the kind of bricks that destroy the old way of thinking in order to make room for something better. In those few powerful sentences, Maggie made it all ok.
Well ladies, this is how long it took me to take off all the baby weight.
Sixteen months. I did not wear my jeans out of the hospital, I did not lose the
“fat face” the minute I gave birth, I was not able to eat whatever I wanted just
because I was breast feeding, and I could not climb back on a tread mill right
after Hank was born. I needed quite a while to heal.
To a certain extent, I feel like I had resigned myself to the idea that I would never return to my old body...never return to that magic number. I've seen so many friends swell with pregnancy and then shrink. All of this took effort, certainly, but not the kind of effort it seemed to require of me (I wrote about it here). Since moving into this house 4 months ago, I've weighed myself only once. The scale was banished from my presence until this morning. I got on three times just to make sure it was true.
18 months. That is how long it took me to take off all the baby weight.
You'd think I would be happier...the victor in the battle of the baby weight bulge, but somehow I am still sad. I'm sad because it shouldn't matter, either way. I'm sad because there are women reading this...at this very second...who are struggling to find comfort in their postpartum body. I can't help but feel a collective pain with those women. Yes, I hit the magic number, but my body has changed. It is an overwhelming experience, especially for people who have endured long and courageous struggles with weight, body image, and sometimes very serious eating disorders.
But even as I struggle under that enormous strain, I remember what Maggie Mason said, "Good job making that baby, girl!" And then I wake up next to my loving, handsome, supportive husband and curl up for one last snuggle before we start the day. And before I head out the door for work, I listen to Eva tell me a story about her latest adventure with nanny Anna and Elmo. And somehow, my world seems just as it should be.