Anyway, I would like to talk about pregnancy weight gain, not my cravings for croissants. (I'm sure the two have nothing to do with each other...) According to the Babycenter website, I should have expected to gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds over nine months, almost all of it in the second and third trimester, and the weight gain was supposed to be more or less linear.
That is not what happened.
What happened was this:
I didn't quite make it to the full nine months, as my baby arrived at 35 weeks 6 days, almost a month early. This is what I looked like the day I went to the hospital, at 35 weeks 5 days:
|35 weeks 5 days|
Now, if the weight conversation around pregnancy is taboo, it is practically nonexistent when it comes to postpartum weight loss (with the exception of a few wonderfully honest people - hi, Lauren!). Mostly, what I heard was that if it takes nine months (eight in my case) to gain all the weight, it will take approximately as long to lose it. That's what I kept telling my husband, anyway, lest he expected me to bounce back in a week or something ridiculous like that. I also assumed that as I lost the weight, I would slowly get back into my pre-pregnancy shape.
That's not what happened, either.
When I left the hospital, I had only lost 7 pounds (baby + placenta - all the IV fluids they pumped into me that caused my feet to be scary swollen for several days after delivery). I also looked about six months pregnant, except instead of a round, firm baby belly, I had a huge flabby sack and lots of loose skin. I had been warned about this, so even though it was shocking to see my body in such a state, at least I was somewhat prepared for it.
But I was not prepared for what happened next. At nine days postpartum, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It must have been the breastfeeding, because I was eating like a trucker (way more than when I was pregnant) and certainly did no exercising. I can't explain it any other way, the weight just came off. What did NOT come off, however, was my belly. Even though I had lost all the weight, I still looked four months pregnant! This I was not ready for. How do you get back into shape if you don't want to lose any weight?
It turned out, as I learned later, that the uterus takes several weeks to shrink back to its original size, which is why I still wasn't back to my familiar shape at that time. So I calmed down and let my uterus do its thing. But guess what? By six weeks postpartum, my uterus was back to normal. And yet, even two months later, my body still does not look the same. Yes, I can fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, but they look ridiculous on me. I don't know if I will ever get my old body back, and I don't know if I need to. These potentially permanent body changes were unexpected, and I may have to learn to live with them.
Meanwhile, perhaps it's time to update my wardrobe.