Monday, March 2

My Postpartum Body and Recovery: Weeks 1-4

The human body is pretty amazing and nothing is greater evidence of that in my opinion than watching a woman's body go from carrying and growing a human for 9 months to shrinking back to what once was "normal." 

Not all women can successfully breastfeed and even many who can find that it does little to speed up the healing process. I got very lucky in both respects. Breastfeeding has been incredible at helping me shrink my uterus back to size and thus allowing me to feel pretty much like my old self (though with no muscle whatsoever...) in no time flat. 

This post is not intended as a way for me to brag about or show off my body in any way (clearly, because I'd work out if I cared about what my body looks like--hence the flab you'll see in several pics) but to show those of you who are considering giving up breastfeeding how much more quickly it can potentially help heal your body! It's also a reference for me to keep track of my recovery progress so I can remember for future pregnancies. 

To start, I thought I'd share with you a little photo of my original self. Pre-babies. Pre-stretch marks. Pre-flab. 

Pretty small, right? Not that that matters. But I am 5'0" and normally fairly small. Here's another photo:

This was taken three months before I got pregnant with Tenley. My body back then had no idea what it was in for (nor did I!). 

Now for the recent stuff. Sadly I only thought to write this post/work up the motivation to take these postpartum pictures after a week, but at least I have that. So at about a week after delivery, my body looked like this:

I know, it looks like a 20 week belly, right? The good news is that every woman looks pretty much the same after giving birth (meaning we all look like we're in our second trimester again) so the appearance of your body after birthing a child is nothing to be ashamed of. You just pushed an actual person out of you for goodness' sake!

Our recoveries may vary greatly however. Mine was surprisingly not bad at all with Tenley (my bleeding slowed to almost nothing after only a week and a half or so) and this time my bleeding stopped entirely after a week and a half. My stitches bothered me more at first, but not as long as they did with Tenley. By two weeks, I felt amazing--a little softer around the mid-section, but I was climbing into the backseat of our car between two car seats like it was nothing, and my stitches and bleeding were no longer an issue. 

At two weeks postpartum I looked like this:

My belly doesn't look too pretty this time around--I definitely have stretch marks on the front of my belly that I had not had with Tenley--but I feel fantastic overall. I can hardly believe I had a baby a few weeks ago actually. 

At three weeks postpartum, my belly looked like this: 

Basically, three weeks postpartum me is almost the same size as regular me after eating a ton of garbage and not exercising for a few months. I'm not a fan of the muffin top look (who is actually?) but I definitely feel like I can see a huge difference in progress from the recovery of my last pregnancy to now. 

Here's a photo (that I love--other than me being in it) from about 2-3 weeks postpartum with Tenley:

You can see that my face is a lot fuller, my arms were flabby and my stomach was clearly wider. I would not recommend having a summer baby if you don't like the water weight look. I had a lot of water weight from the epidural and IV. Plus in the summer heat, you just swell. 

Thankfully, by six months (still without exercising I'm kind of embarrassed to admit because I haven't exercised in like two and a half years...) I looked like this, which is my original size, but with wider hips and less muscle: 

But back to the present--now, at one month postpartum, I look like this: 

Clearly lots of stretched out skin. And you can't really see my stretch marks from this angle--the ones you can see are mostly from Tenley. 
Breastfeeding is pretty great, huh? As much as I detest exercise, I really want to get some tone in my arms at the very least, so I'll probably start lifting some wimpy weights pretty soon. Sigh. I guess the way I've looked at it is I'm just going to get pregnant again so what's the point of exercising now? How about I exercise when I'm done having four five seven kids? I don't know. I'll have to ask my husband about that... ;)

Side note: I feel like my body looks pretty good in these pictures considering I don't work out but I probably should have taken and included pics of me sitting down, too, because sitting/slouching certainly does that flabby tummy no favors haha.

Other side note: You can see I'm still wearing my maternity pants (the belly panel is folded down). That's because I like how the stretchy panel helps cover and hide my tummy flab rather than emphasize it like tight normal jeans would. Plus, I feel like it has helped my stomach appear more toned. I mean, it's not toned, but compared to week one it appears that way. Tricky. Also, my maternity jeans are sooo comfortable, it's hardly like wearing denim at all.

For those of you recovering from pregnancy/delivery out there, how has your recovery been? 
Has breastfeeding helped your body recover more quickly than you expected? 
Anyone agree with me about not vigorously exercising between children? I mean if I'm going to get fat again, why bother right? ;)

I hope you are all recovering beautifully and that nursing--if it hasn't been a breeze for you thus far--becomes a lot easier. 

Your mom friend, 

1 comment:

  1. You look amazing!!! I still look like your last picture 18 months later...and I do workout, so what does that say about me? lol. Also, I totally love your shirt in the last pictures. Super adorable.

    Usually I'd post this on facebook but I'm too lazy to go there :)


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