1) I do not need to exercise every single day to stay physically fit. Any amount of activity is better than none, and cutting my workouts in half did not change much about my physique … nor did it make me gain an obscene amount of weight. I literally gained what my doctor recommended and nothing more.
Why this matters: As a new mom, especially one who has a C-section, I will be unable to exercise for 6-8 weeks … and even if I can find the time to do it afterward (and I’m hoping I can) it will not be without its challenges.
2) Restricting food choices always leads to a binge … I’m better off having a little of what I TRULY want instead of a mish-mash of “healthy” stuff that isn’t going to satisfy me.
Why this matters: I spent way too many years ordering grilled chicken salads … life is boring that way and I’d always feel deprived and end up over-eating something else later. Sometimes a salad IS what I want … but I used salads as a crutch. Knowing how huge restaurant portions are, I discovered that eating half of what I REALLY want (namely French dips, which were my fave for a while during my pregnancy) meant I got what I wanted in moderation.
3) Sleep is not over-rated. I used to think I could “get by” on 5-6 hours a night. Well, I haven’t had a single midnight wake-up eating incident throughout my whole entire pregnancy. Though my sleep was horribly disrupted from being uncomfortable and always having to pee … I have still gotten generally 7 hours of sleep most night and never once woken to eat –which I used to do when I was getting less sleep and waking up early for the gym. Hmmm …
Why this matters: As a new mom hoping to nurse, I will most likely be joining the “cat-nap” club … i.e., squeezing in zzzz’s when Maya is resting. My sleep will likely be fully interrupted for the next six months because unless I pump for evening feedings, my husband won’t be much use. So whatever sleep I can amass will be valuable.
4) Buy clothes for the body you have NOW, not the body you used to have or want to have. The Bella Band was my saving grace for the first trimester when I could still wear most of my clothes but they wouldn’t quite button or lay nicely. But though my belly still looks more like a 6-mth pregnant belly even now, nine months pregnant, my hips/butt/waist/legs certainly got bigger … and so after Week 14, I had to jump into the world of stretchy, zipper-less maternity jeans.Wearing clothes that FIT made me feel so much better, even though I didn’t quite fill them out for a while.
Why this matters: I have no clue what my post-pregnancy body will look like. Friends have shared horror stories about that first glimpse of their post-baby bellies and so I’m trying to mentally brace myself for that … though on the flip-side, my mom said she felt her thinnest ever post-babies, so who knows how it’ll go for me. But whatever the case, I plan to wear my maternity pants as long as I need to, with the Bella Band if I need help holding them up but don’t fit into my old jeans/pants. And I will try hard not to let the size of my clothes get to me. It’s more important for them to look good than to care if I’m back in an 8 or 10 (pre-weight gain I was an 8; pre-pregnancy I was mostly wearing 10s). And if the weight takes time to come off, so be it. I’d rather do it as I did it before–slow and steadily–than quickly only to gain it back.
5) Lower your expectations. This does not mean I’m accepting slackerhood by any means … but rather recognizing now that having a baby will literally change everything. A simple trip to Target will be a production; “on time” might take on a whole new meaning; the weight might not come off easily; I might not be able to nurse (and so I might want to bite my husband’s head off because he can’t whip out a breast and feed her); I probably won’t have much time for the gym; the house will be a mess and that will just have to do; etc. So realizing all this now — and trying to come to terms with it before it happens — will hopefully help make the transition from the flexible world of couplehood to the chaotic and unpredictable world of parenthood a smidge easier.
Why this matters: Even though I’ve made great strides with my progress in the perfectionist department, it’s still very much an inherent part of my hardware … and so it will take extra-effort for someone like me to lower my expectations … and be OK with it.
Just wanted to share these five truths … hopefully they will resonate with me in the weeks and months to come and hopefully they’re truths even non-pregnant women can reflect upon.