My gym instructor was right.
Five years ago, when I was pregnant with Jacob and still going to my class at the gym, I had expressed concern about getting back in pre-pregnancy shape after the baby was born. The instructor told me that I'd snap right back into shape after the first one. It was the second baby I should worry about. Turns out, she was right.
Maybe I'm just being too hard on myself, but I feel like things are different this time. Last time I had a great ego boost a couple months postpartum when I was in my friend's wedding. The dress looked fantastic on me and hid every problem area, and no one could believe I had a baby a couple months earlier.
This time I was getting a ton of compliments for the first month or so. Indeed, I did lose a lot of weight rather quickly. Things weren't necessarily fitting, mind you, but given the amount of time that had passed it was perfectly acceptable and I was happy with how things were progressing. And then I stopped breastfeeding. And for the last two months, it seems like I've been at a stand-still. I thought that getting back in the gym would help, but I only work out once or twice a week. I'm still trying to relearn good eating habits since I spent nine months plus six weeks eating what I wanted, and I expected I'd have another year to continue that trend. But no...my 300-500 extra calories per day evaporated with Carter's cow's milk protein intolerance, and I think my body and mind are still in shock that I can't eat whatever I want whenever I want. I shouldn't cheat. One snack per evening is enough. Second helpings at dinner should be avoided. The collection of sweets and cookies on my counter probably shouldn't be there, but if I'm having a craving I need something or else I'll go nuts eating other things trying to satisfy the craving. It's so hard to not eat.
On top of that, I'm also fighting whatever weight birth control tends to keep on, but I don't have much of a choice there at this point because the pill keeps my borderline-polycystic ovary syndrome in check. It's hard to know for sure, but I think birth control has always kept a few extra pounds on me.
I'm only up about five pounds, but I know nothing is quite where it used to be. I can button up most of my jeans, but I have a terrible muffin top and I'm pretty sure everything is tighter in the hips. I have a belly, particularly above my belly button, that won't go away. I can try to suck it in, which works to some degree, but I'm finding it very difficult to remember to suck it in. I guess I'm just out of practice, so it's hard to remember to do it all the time. In some of my clothes I look nearly normal, but there are plenty of others that I can't go anywhere near. Oh, and my chest has shrunken down, as well, which sort of makes the rest of me look proportionately thicker than I used to. I tried on some dresses tonight and couldn't believe how bad they made me look.
While looking at myself minus clothes is not my favorite thing in the world, it's really just an issue because my clothes don't fit. So many of them are too tight or too short for the belly, so it's limiting what I can wear. I'm stuck in a weird spot where I don't want to go out and buy new clothes because there's a chance things will settle a bit in the next few months, but where it stinks right now because nothing fits. I don't want to buy stuff that might be big in a few months, but I also don't want to deceive myself into thinking that it will go away, only to be disappointed and realize I spent months without a functional wardrobe hoping for something that was never going to happen. For example, after my pregnancy experience with skinny jeans, I'd love to try again to get a pair. But I can't do it now because I'm heavier than I want to be. But what happens if I wait months and I'm still no thinner...what then?
I know that they say, "Nine months on, nine months off," but breastfeeding spoiled me last time and it's bugging me to not know how much of this is permanent vs. temporary body change. I know that I exchanged my old body for the greatest little boy I could ask for, and that's fine. I just want to fit in some clothes in the meantime.