Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Post partum Body Image & other ramblings

So my little boy is almost a year and a half these days.  While I am mostly back in shape after the pregnancy (been working out very consistently since 3 weeks after the c-section), I don't think my abs will ever be the same again.

Of course people ask me if I want to get a tummy tuck.  In my pre-pregnancy days I used to wonder if I would want a tummy tuck after having a child.  I always assumed it would depend on just how bad my tummy looked afterward.  I mean, no offense, but I've seen some horrible tummies (I'm a nurse) & the women always tell me that pregnancy did that to them.  So of course I was a little frightened, but at the same time I wondered why not EVERYONE ended up looking that way.

I had always tended to believe that if you were really fit prior to getting pregnant that your body would snap back much more easily & quickly, but having never been pregnant I was never really sure if this was correct.  But I would often see people who had never worked out a day in their life & they would get pregnant & they would have all these plans to start getting fit after having the baby & I would see them later on as the baby got older & older & their plans had not worked out.  It had occurred to me how difficult & stressful that would be as a person who had never worked out before, but what had not occurred to me before is how stressful having a new child in the home is on top of that!  It was easy for me I believe because exercise is such a regular habit in my life.  I only had one stressor to deal with (the new baby) rather than two (trying to start an exercise routine AND a new baby).

And so I finally ended up pregnant & I have to admit that I was very fit at the time.  Just prior to the pregnancy I was doing a lot of weightlifting & lifting VERY heavy weights & I was VERY thin also.

I continued working out (doing pregnancy pilates, prenatal yoga, & spinning) through most of my pregnancy, I stopped somewhere in the third trimester after being placed on modified bed rest.

And while I was hoping to have a vaginal delivery (for an easier recovery) I ended up having an emergency c-section (for failure to dilate).  I had this horrible fear of abdominal surgery.  When I was 12 I had this massive surgery done on my ribcage & it hurt SOOOO bad.  But everyone kept telling me to be grateful that I had chest surgery & not abdominal surgery because abdominal is so much more painful.  I had believed this my whole life.  I even ended up having a second chest surgery later on & while it wasn't as painful as the first (didn't have any bones cut like in the first one, only skin & muscle the second time), it was still painful & a difficult recovery.  So when I had the c-section I thought it was going to be so much worse than the chest surgeries & I have to say it was not at all.  I have to say that chest surgery is the worst--you use your chest muscles so much more than abdomen & it's a MUCH tougher recovery.  Because of this my c-section recovery was a breeze for me & I was going for hour long walks about a week & a half after my delivery & I started working out again 3 weeks after.

It wasn't long at all before everyone kept commenting on the fact that I didn't look like I had a baby at all!  And so I have to believe that my thoughts on being fit prior are truly accurate.

As for that tummy tuck.  Well my tummy is not where it was prior to getting pregnant.  Yes, the muscles are strong & fit & flat, but there is still some loose skin there that is never going to go away.  I've traded in my bikini for a tankini now.  And as for that tummy tuck?  I thought long & hard about it & this is how I feel:

1) My body is this way because I had a BABY, it's not like I was eating junk food & being a couch potato.
2) I am actually quite proud of how good I do look after having a baby (especially considering I had him in my late 30s & I gained a whopping 47 lbs during my pregnancy) & am very proud of what I've accomplished through diet & exercise.  If I was to have a tummy tuck I wouldn't be able to look in the mirror & be proud of my accomplishment anymore.

So no, I have no desire to have a tummy tuck.  I am not against plastic surgery at all & I am not judging anyone who has had, is going to have, or just wants to have, a tummy tuck.  But for ME I feel plastic surgery needs to be reserved for things that cannot be changed by diet & exercise.


Jon and alyssa said...

When I got pregnant with my daughter, I was not in the greatest shape of my life, but not horrible either. I gained 35LBS during pregnancy, but most was swelling weight (preeclampsia) so I just looked big. Then when I had her I felt like a deflated balloon. I lost most of the weight with some light dieting, and exercise. Honestly, I feel better, and more healthy than I have in years! I have more energy, I weigh less (pre-pregnancy) and I am eating beter.
All that so say... I am with you on the tummy tuck thing. I have stretch marks, and I worked REALLY hard not to get them during pregnancy, but they came. So no laser surgery for me!

Frau Guten Tag said...

Sorry to hear about the stretch marks, but yeah, those are things that come with motherhood. I wish I could say I weigh less now than I did pre-pregnancy, but I don't, I actually weigh over 10 lbs more, I still want to lose some of that, but I don't need to lose all of it. I am not overweight at all, but I was really skinny pre-pregnancy.