How I Got My Pre-Baby Body Back

Beyoncé (@beyonce) tarafından paylaşılan bir fotoğraf (11 Oca 2015, 09:49 PST)

Like Beyonce, by the time I gave birth, I weighed nearly two hundred pounds because, like Kim Kardashian, I suffered from a condition called preeclampsia. This causes, often later in pregnancy, high blood pressure and fast gains in weight from fluid retention. It’s miserable, but by the end, I was a little too preoccupied — new baby, slash in the abdomen — to really marvel at the state of affairs on the scale. I noted it, in passing, without remarking on it to anyone. I didn’t panic or feel like a failure for having gained more than the recommended twenty-five to thirty-five pounds for one baby; it was the most minor fact in a week full of overwhelming and sometimes alarming data.

The day that I found out I was pregnant, when I stepped on the scale, it said that I weighed 134.5 pounds. That number had been my regular weight for about five years, slowly rising a bit or falling with my state of mind, my moods, the seasons of the year.

I’d never dieted or exercised very regularly as an adult, and I didn’t worry very much about what I ate or drank. But pregnancy changed all of that. As I moved through the months, I began to watch what I ingested, not for myself or the fear of a rising number on the scale — I knew that couldn’t be avoided — but for the health of the baby. I noticed what a poor diet I had, sometimes going almost a full day without eating anything at all. I now tried to eat a “balanced” one. I became more active and conscientious about my lifestyle. Though I’ve always loved walking, I started to make a real chore of it; I’d walk an extra few miles a day. It was invigorating, and I noticed, more than the physical change, that I felt better emotionally.

But my pregnancy wasn’t an easy one, and in the later months I was ordered to “rest” constantly. I was swollen and my blood pressure was very high. I was also not exactly stoic about my state of being. In fact, I was often a huge baby about it. Sometimes I just wanted to eat cookies or potato chips. So I did occasionally. And I didn’t worry about my body, just the baby.

After Zelda was born, with my matronly new eyes I read forums dedicated to parenting, and paged through women’s magazines. I realized that, if I wasn’t concerned about my newfound heft, literally everyone else on the planet was on my behalf. New mothers — with babies just three weeks old — exhausted and counting calories, were not in the minority. Everyone seemed to agree that while motherhood is a transformative affair, at least one of our goals must now be to return to what previously was: We must get back our pre-baby bodies. (Seriously, Google “pre-baby body.”)

I don’t know where my pre-baby body went. It’s just gone. I don’t even remember what it was like. I had that body for thirty-six years. And now I have a new one. I’m not so sure I am itching to get rid of it. Which isn’t to say I didn’t want to lose weight. I did, partly because a lot of it was water, and holding that much fluid inside of me was painful and tiring. When it left — almost overnight, about three weeks after Zelda was born — I felt a change. The swelling in my legs, it was moving: I lost about forty pounds in the course of forty-eight hours. I watched the number on the scale fall wondering, “Where was the bottom?”

After that — after that weight that really wasn’t supposed to be there was gone — I looked at myself. “Nice work, kid, you look amazing.” I stopped looking at the scale so often. My weight kept creeping down, but much more slowly. Then I stopped stepping on the scale at all. You see, unlike the many celebrity moms I am encouraged to compare myself to in the pages of my beloved US Weekly, I don’t make my living on my looks, which are, needless to say, fantastic. I am a VERY beautiful woman, but no one is waiting on me to hit a number on a scale before I can go back to the very serious business of making a living. I also don’t have a personal chef, an assistant, a trainer, or a private physician who is on call twenty-four hours a day, all dedicated to the goal of getting me back to some mythical prime form. I don’t grudge anyone these things: Parenting is hard. Take all the help you can get or afford, and never apologize or feel guilty about it.

But I’m also free to reject the idea that I looked better before. I’m within the boundaries of what is considered a “healthy weight” for my frame, though there is clearly more of me than there used to be. I feel comfortable now, in my “post-baby body.” Sure, it’s ten or fifteen pounds heavier than it was before you-know-who came into the picture (it changes very often). “So what?” I ask myself. I look in the mirror and I am mostly happy with what I see. The gripes I have with my looks are the same gripes I had before the new pounds: weird eyelid, suspicious profile, awkward hair (most days; some days it is really very good).

Parenting is transformative: the focus shifts a bit from you to someone new. Things which used to seem very important sometimes seem less so. Which isn’t to say you don’t pay attention to yourself. I do. I take time to read and to think. To do the work I need to do to be a person with love to share with my family. And of course, I do hope to be healthier. So I’ll probably get a bit leaner in 2015. That is, if my goal of “doing exercise” comes to fruition.

How did I get my pre-baby body back? I didn’t. I haven’t even tried. I let it go, along with my pre-baby life. To try to get it back would be like trying to get back my virginity. That ship sailed a long time ago. I have the baby to prove it. She is wonderful and confident and incredibly good looking. Just like her mother.

The Parent Rap is an endearing column about the fucked up and cruel world of parenting.

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