Not pregnant, just fat…

Nuh-uh.  No, she didn’t.  


Yep, she did.  That stupid grocery store clerk just asked if I was pregnant.  I wanted to punch her face in.  I wanted to tell her she didn’t look so hot herself.  I wanted to throw the super sharp santoku knives from aisle 12 straight into her stupid, little face.  But I didn’t.  Yesterday, when she asked if I was pregnant, I said, “No,” and ran away and cried.  


Damn her!  I had just gone for a long run with John and was commenting to him about how I was finally starting to feel a little better about myself.  It has been 7 weeks since Callie left us and although I don’t look like my pre-pregnant self yet, I definitely look better than those first few postpartum days.  And just like that, with a quick, well-meaning question from that clerk, I was back to feeling like crap…CRAP!


I’ve been thinking about writing about this topic for weeks now, but just hadn’t felt like it was the right time.  Well, baby, here I am…pissed off and ready to tell it how it is.  


Losing Callie was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my whole life.  And preggo comments do not help…one bit.  It’s already hard enough!!!  From the nice lady on the elevator at the Homestead who said “Babies first!”, to the receptionist who took one look at my stomach and told me to let the masseuse know that I was expecting, to the nail lady who asked if I was having a baby and then laughed when I told her my baby died because she had no freaking clue what I was saying, I have been bombarded by cruel, cruel reminders of the empty void that is my stomach.  That place where Callie used to be is now a saggy, shell of itself and every time someone makes a thoughtless comment I am transported right back to my baby girl’s death.  It makes me feel so ugly and sad.


Instead, I should feel proud.  That stomach was the house that sheltered Callie as she grew.  There is no greater miracle than that.  I grew a baby!  A precious life.  My stretch marks and C-section scar are my only physical reminders of the fact that Callie was here.  She was real.  I am a mother and she was my baby girl.  I can remember at the beginning of my pregnancy how I wished I could carry around a sign that said, “I’m not fat, I’m just pregnant!”.  I would give anything for a sign now that said, “I’m not pregnant, just fat…so leave me alone!”  So now, with no baby in my Baby Bjorn to explain away my tummy, I am left defenseless to dumb people who mean well, but manage to single-handedly ruin my day, increase my grief, and leave me boiling mad.


When I first thought about writing this post a few weeks back, I thought I would try to give some helpful advice to other baby loss mommas who may encounter my blog looking for help.  I know that I found it so frustrating trying to find exercise advice articles online.  Just look at some of these samples:


“Sign up for a mommy-and-me exercise class.”
“As exercise-related endorphins circulate in your system, boosting your mood and your ability to cope, you’ll find yourself much better equipped to handle the stresses of new parenthood
Exercise is good for you, but in the first few months after you give birth, don’t overdo it. Your body needs time to heal, and you need time to adjust to your new role and to care for and bond with your baby


GAG ME!!!!!!  I wish I had a baby to do mommy-and-me classes with…these sources are full of baby talk landmines that you stumble upon as you try to navigate these weird postpartum days without your baby.  Once, I thought I had stumbled upon something good when I saw this site advertising a “real postpartum bodies” gallery where new mothers post pictures of their bellies.  I thought it would be like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.  NOT!!  It was just a gallery of women showing off their completely flat, non-stretch marked stomachs.  Who are these people?  Where do they live?  Can I please send them hate mail???


I am going to try to channel this anger into a positive place.  I am going to share my plan for myself here in the most public of places so that others who are walking in my shoes may benefit from knowing that they are not alone.  Not only that, I am going to post real postpartum pictures:



BOOM!  I DID IT!  That’s me, 7 weeks postpartum.  Scarred tummy, weird textured skin, and stretch marks.  And I think it’s beautiful.  Eat it skinny chicks!


Here it is…K’s Plan for Looking Not Pregnant:


-Attitude:
  Remind yourself of these things every day:

  • Your body did a beautiful thing:  It might not look beautiful to you right now, but it did a beautiful thing.  Be proud of that.  Some of you may feel like your body betrayed you because it was not able to hold your baby to term.  Just remember that your body created your baby.  He or she was beautiful.  Let your stomach be a physical reminder of his or her presence.  That is more than beautiful.  It is amazing.
  • Take it slow:  You just had a baby (possibly major abdominal surgery, like me).  You can not go straight to the gym…even if you read that the celebrities do in People magazine.  They are wacked out, have millions of dollars, and chances are they are not very happy despite the fact that they have a beautiful new baby and fame and fortune.  You are normal.  You are human.  Humans have flaws.  Accept it and move on.  Ease into a routine gently.  
  • It will get better:  The first 6-8 weeks suck because you don’t feel good about yourself but there is not much you can do about it because you are supposed to be taking it easy.  On top of that, you are drowning in grief.  Just know that it will suck, acknowledge that, and move forward.  Do what you can:  walk, walk, walk and eat as healthy as possible without being a Nazi about it.  Right now, I am making sure that I am eating healthy when I am at home, but I let myself get whatever I want when I am out with friends.  When so much else seems out of your control, diet and exercise are the two things you can completely control.  I’m only 7 weeks out so I am in this phase right now.  Just fighting to stay positive and give what I can give.
  • Be real:  It took 9 months to put it on.  Expecting it to come off in one month is totally unrealistic.  Be gentle on yourself.  I have to remind myself of this…a lot.

-Attire:
  As much as I would LOVE to hide behind a baggy shirt and sweatpants, it is just not a good look.  It’s depressing.  And it makes me feel even more large and in charge than I really am.  After several not-very-fun shopping sessions, I have found some clothes that are working ok for me right now.
  Some good picks:

  • Button-Downs:  Casual chambray button-down shirts can be worn a little loose and look great with jeans/capris and ballet flats!  Feels like wearing a baggy t-shirt but looks way nicer.
  • Cute Tops:  Buy tops that have ruffled tiers, buttons down the front (esp. with nice darting that gives you shape), or interesting details.  They are forgiving in the tummy area.  
  • Wear Layers:  Put a cute jacket or cardigan in a cool color over top of the cute tops to disguise your trouble spots

  • Pants:  This is the hard part.  Wear your maternity pants as long as you need to!  I tried on regular jeans…not a fun experience right now.  The waist fit, but the butt was extremely saggy.  Currently, I’m wearing maternity jeans that have the under-belly waist as a compromise because they don’t feel so maternity-ish as the full-panel kind.  No one will know if you wear a long tank top underneath your tops.  I do not feel like going out and buying all new pants yet.  That will be my reward for working hard :-)
Before: Taken 4 weeks postpartum… looking kind of preggo.  BOOM AGAIN!  THAT’S REAL!
After: Cardigan + button down makes me look smaller and un-preggo

-Eating & Working Out Plan
  I am the most unathletic person in the history of the world.  Me giving advice on this is like Snooki trying to play Jeopardy.  Totally not qualified.  But, this is the plan I created for myself.  Putting myself out here like this will hopefully help me stick with my resolutions and maybe help someone else looking for postpartum workout advice without all the baby talk.  Do what is best for you.

Exercise:
Weeks 1-2:  Lay in bed and cry.  It’s ok.  Give yourself time to heal.
Weeks 3-6:  Walk-  going for long walks is healing because it gives you time to think and process your emotions.  My doctor said this was fine as long as I went slow and listened to my body.  Even if it’s just around the block…at least it was something. 
Week 6-8 (after doctor’s blessing)-Week 12:  

  • Start “From the Couch to the 5K” program.  It uses interval training to increase your endurance.  I started after my 6 week postpartum checkup and I am now on week 2 :-)
  • Do yoga/pilates at the gym or with a video.  Gentle strength training, and healing meditation at the same time… winning combo.
Week 13 & Beyond:
  • Hit the gym hard!  Go to group classes at the gym like weight lifting, step aerobics, zumba, kickboxing, etc.
  • Sign up for a 5K and train for it!

Diet:  Great resource for diet-  http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/Content/post_baby_diet.pdf
I like that it has portion size visuals :-)


Ok, ranting complete.  Writing this blog has really helped me so far in my grief journey.  I’m saying this because I didn’t write this post looking for pity or sympathy.  I write to vent, to share, and to heal.  I’m not fishing for compliments here people…so don’t even try it.  Please DO NOT comment on this post telling me how beautiful I am or how great I look.  I mean it.  Although that is very sweet, it will feel like a handout after writing about this topic and your words will be empty to me.  What you can do is send me an electronic hug, check in with me from time to time to see if I’m sticking with my plan, send me an inspiring quote that will help me kick ass at the gym, give me a good recommendation for a running playlist, or give me a witty comeback that will make the next person who tries to call me preggo want to run away and cry.  Ok, so maybe not run away and cry…that’s mean.  But it will help me laugh about something sad and that is almost just as good.  

 

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24 thoughts on “Not pregnant, just fat…

  1. You might already have a 5k in mind- but if not, let me know and I'll happily share some websites that are really useful for finding races for causes or just to narrow the search for races in your area. I've been reading your blog and it after this post it seems that it might be useful to find a race with a cause that you also feel strongly about to provide an extra layer of motivation to follow your training routine. xo

  2. You look great!! And don't let anyone tell you anything different! You are an amazing person and your writing is so meaningful and beautiful!! Thank you for sharing! Love you and John!!

  3. Kristen,
    Try the Salt and Peppa pandora station….best running play list ever. Also, I always sign up for races with a buddy…it helps to have a teammate….one more tip- sign up for a race in a fun place that you have always wanted to go…I run in races all the time and i am happy to send you a list of them…Also, hav efun kicking but. You go girl.

  4. You go girl. While you run that 5k I hope you think about that lady in the checkout lane and imagine that you're punching her in the face as you cross the finish line. ;) In all seriousness, this totally happened to me. Except I was at a service project and it was one of the chairs of the project who was a complete stranger who asked me the million dollar question. The bad part was I had to stop and think about it for a minute. I am sure she spent quite some time trying to figure out my puzzled face, my pause, and then the timid no that came out of my mouth. I retreated to my car and like you cried my tears in private. Your resources here are amazing – love your clothing guide AND exercise suggestions. I'm a huge fan of the Couch to 5k. Please keep us updated on your progress and thanks for keeping it real. xo.

  5. Kristin,
    A funny but sad story I gotta tell ya….after we lost our baby, I came home from the hospital (of course!). The second I got out of our red Bronco II (you are too young to remember that car, hee hee), a neighbor who I had NEVER spoken to me before, made the biggest mistake of her life. I can remember it like it was yesterday….she called out from her house, “So, when are you due?” Of course I yelled back, “I'm not due anymore!!!!” I was not nice to say the least. But that was the truth and I was sad, mad and every emotion, you know.
    Later Augie felt like he had to go over to her house and ring the door bell and explain….for me, I would have just left her hangin' !!!!!
    Hang in there sweetie!!

  6. Kristin – “Girl Talk”'s album “Unstoppable” is great remix-pop work out music (at least I think so!) and I always like Daft Punk. If you and John ever feel like getting away for a weekend, come visit Dan and me in Chicago. There's lots of 5K, 10K, bicycle races here too! We have an extra room, and you're welcome anytime. Time is on your side and things WILL get better! All our best, Stephanie and Dan.

  7. I have a mix of all kinds of music to listen to when I run, some of it is what I consider hard rock (because who doesn't need the adrenaline during some points in the run) like Linkin Park or Rage Against the Machine but then I throw in some Alli Rogers because sometimes you just need to be reminded of what's important and mediate when you run. I HIGHLY recommend Alli Rogers I only have the CD “The day of small things” but it's really good, check her out here: https://missinginkshop.com/allirogers/store – good luck!!!

  8. Hi! My friend Amy told me about your blog. I have been reading your post for a week or so now and your story is so moving! I'm inspired by your strength! I also wanted to let you know I did the C25k program too and loved it! Now I am training to run a 10k at the end of April! I never signed up for a 5k after I finished the couch to 5k program, do I think that's really great! I found some good free podcasts that kept me motivated throughout, do I'll have to get you those websites! Good luck on your training! Keep it up!

  9. haha such a funny suggestion…and totally satisfying, I tried imagining punching that chick when I was running on the treadmill yesterday. Very motivating! Thanks for sharing your story with me.

    xoxo

  10. A.M., thanks for sharing that story with me. I can't tell you how many mean comebacks I've thought of since it happened…I wish I had the guts to say them! Love ya!

  11. I just wanted to let you know that I've been reading your blog and am in such awe over your strength and positivity. I think of you often and am so glad you are sharing your journey with the world. I just think you're such a beautiful, wonderful person. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and photos!

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  13. Your honesty, vulnerability and courage are inspiring. I can’t wait to follow you as you rock this “feel kick @$$ again” plan! I pray that this plan will be a great source of joy and encouragement and motivation. I know for sure it’s going to be that for those of us who are following you. I admire your strength, beauty, and courage- and THOSE are the things that make you beautiful! As for a good running playlist: Try the 80′s cardio pandora station or the 80′s rock pandora station. Both are great. Also, good angry girl music is pretty motivating… Pink, Avril Lavigne, etc… Let me know if you discover any other good ones too!!

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  17. Thanks for this post (got here from your comment on YHL). There was a woman in the locker room at my gym the other day, and I could tell she was pregnant. I simply said “congratulations,” and we had a nice conversation. I now know from your pictures that it’s possible to still look quite pregnant, after giving birth (which may have had not very happy results). So really, I just got lucky that she was in a good place health-wise, and mentally. I don’t think I’ll take the chance of mentioning it, or congratulating anyone again, unless I know them personally. I would hate to hurt someone the way you’ve been unintentionally hurt, and really it’s none of my business, even if someone looks 9 months pregnant to me. I’m so sorry for your loss!

    On another note though, you are just beautiful! And kudos for keeping the style intact — I hope it helps to keep your spirits up. You are putting together outfits I would never have thought of, and you look great. Congrats, and a little bit of (admittedly potentially creepy, from a stranger) love.

  18. Pingback: Not pregnant, just fat AGAIN | our sunshine angel

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