There is a lot I wasn’t prepared for when I became a mama – A LOT! But with all the new phases and learning curves, one of the biggest things I wasn’t prepared for wasn’t baby’s sleep habits, eating, teething, or the toddler attitude. It was my own mama-bod.
Seriously. I talked to all the people, read all the books, watched all the videos. And yet still, 14 months in, the unknowns of this new mama-bod remains one of my biggest struggles.
Why don’t we talk about this more? My new, unexpected mama-bod is just one of the many things that seem to be the best-kept secrets of mamahood.
Your mind is probably running through the list of things you didn’t know or weren’t prepared for at the beginning of pregnancy. Let me break the mama-bod secret down:
- Mama-Bod Hips. Pre-pregnancy, I had a pretty slender frame, so my hips had to spread a lot to give birth. Throughout pregnancy, I could tell they were shifting, and I was grateful for that. Postpartum, those same hips had to adjust back. What took nine months to get to seems to be taking much longer to adjust back. My hips constantly pop, and thank goodness for chiropractors who can help when my hips ache so bad I can barely sit or sleep.
- Mama-Bod Hair. We all hear about what pregnancy does for hair. It gets thick and has that “glow”. What I didn’t hear about was the postpartum hair. My hair fell out in handfuls a month or two after I gave birth. So much so, it looked like I had a receding hairline. After the fallout slowed, I was left with a bunch of new growth right in front, which has a mind of its own and likes to stick out every which way. The second phase of postpartum hair seems to be happening now as baby starts to wean from breastfeeding. The hair is falling out more again. Thanks, hormones.
- Mama-Bod Waistline. We battle with the expanding waistline with pregnancy. And then comes the postpartum waistline which isn’t pregnant but isn’t back to “normal” yet, which means nothing fits! What I wasn’t prepared for was the postpartum waistline six months to 15 months later. Continuing to breastfeed means my metabolism is trying to keep pace with milk production and is working in overdrive. Meaning I’m ravenous and dying of thirst all the time. But it also means my waistline grows and shrinks and grows and shrinks. One day the pants are tight, then they fit perfectly, then I’m drilling another hole on my belt because the pants are going to fall right off.
- The Mama-Bod ladies. You know them. The ladies out in front who suddenly became the stars of the show the moment baby was born. The ladies who seem to have a personality and zip code all their own these days. They expand and deflate at startling rates; give off heat that wakes me up in the middle of the night pouring sweat; and who seem amazingly resilient to a baby who twists, turns, and bites. I feel like I hardly know these ladies anymore and who, once weaning is complete, I’ll have to learn all over again.
- Mama-Bod Arms. These arms hold a 20+ lb. toddler with one arm and literally does everything else with the other. We carry a 15 lb. car seat with said 20+ lb. toddler, a loaded down diaper bag, groceries, a purse, and the kitchen sink. Anybody else holds our kiddo for longer than two minutes and they’re complaining of arm fatigue. Try holding your kid for 30 minutes, standing during the worship service at church! I always feel like I’ve completed a marathon at the end of it. Mama arms are jacked!
I’m still not sure what to make of this mama-bod. I don’t always love it. Some things hurt. And I have to battle every day to embrace it and not hate it.