If you are a first time mom like me, then pregnancy and all its glorious aftermath on your body was something no book or friendly advice could prepare you for.
My dresses I could once throw on with no bra were tossed from my wardrobe, my seriously flat yoga teacher abs were not as defined. While I could eat away and still be a skinny Indian chic before, it seemed that even when I shed all my post pregnancy weight and looked good in my jeans again, my body…was just not the same.
You may not want to read on about the honesty of what happens to your body after having a baby…and if that’s you, stop right here.
Lately I see a lot of talk about weight loss diets, programs and fitness classes catered to mommas trying to shed those post baby pounds.
If you are looking for one of those, something transient, then again, this post is not for you.
But if you want to know what my secret was to get my body back that didn’t involve a torturous routine, a crazy fitness trainer, a diet of only nuts and water, and something that just feels right all the time, then go ahead. Read on.
My weight gain story is that I was lucky in that regard, I gained about 30 or so pounds during my pregnancy and it all came off during my 14 months of breastfeeding my daughter. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, I have a friend who had even gained 70 lbs, and is healthy now, but pregnancy comes in different colors for us all. In the end, it’s a change for any of us, however much weight you gain. And so, I guess after my weight loss, I was kind of, back to normal.
Everyone would say, “wow, Puja, you look great.” I was teaching yoga, back to my active self and actually felt great, too.
Except there were those times…when we were planning a vacation with my husband’s family and I tried on my old cute bikinis. And everything was awkward. There was an extra body curve, a less perky breast line and somewhat flatter bottom. I can’t tell you how tempted I was to invest in a spot of cosmetic surgery so I could feel perfect again, but I was concerned about recovery after mommy makeover surgery so I resisted and chose a different route instead.
I didn’t feel sexy.
I moved on to try on my stashed vacation dresses, surely that go-to dark orange one wouldn’t disappoint. I got it on no problem, but the low-cut in the front didn’t look as glamorous as it had in the past on me.
I’ll be blunt. My boobs were smaller and nipples were different. My once kick-a$% behind was striped with stretch marks, my abs had lost their cut definition.
And I started thinking…how can I get my body back?
How can I feel sexy again?
I knew the answer was in things like resistance training, yoga, continuing to be healthy, maybe doing a juice cleanse or sugar fast. Using those natural skin remedies on my body. All the things my yogic lifestyle has me doing while in tune anyway.
As I reflected on the changes though, I began to view my body as something else.
I had given birth. It was… a vessel of creation.
I began to adore my faded white stripes on my brown bottom. I rubbed them with Ayurvedic oil and kind of…liked them there.
My chest, where my little one and even husband often find their heads resting on, where my daughter was nourished for all those early months, was a reflection of my heart.
I bought some new bras. I found dresses that felt good to wear.
In head stand the other day, I looked at my core in the mirror. It looked strong. Maybe even stronger than ever. It was what my doctor had said was my savior during childbirth. “That’s one strong core,” she said. It brought her here, in this world…my sweet daughter.
I found strength in its difference. I was able to stand longer than I had before.
Oh, but bathing suits. That was hard.
I went shopping with a close friend who I used to model with. I was never big into modeling, but I had long legs, big eyes and was told my lips were Angelina Jolie-ish. So it was just for fun to fill my fashionista side when I was in my 20’s between licensing exams with designer wedding gowns and stylish dresses. It lasted only a short while, until I told off a runaway employee backstage for talking to the models like toddlers and realized my female empowerment would never last long in the model industry, haha.
My friend now models professionally though to get herself through grad school, so when she helped me pick out bathing suits and said, “Puja, you look really good.” She meant it. That felt nice to hear from her. But it was as I stared at my reflection in my new 2 piece, a ruched, classy cut, I noticed how different it was to the stringy straps I had worn in my past. And just maybe, it was my attitude that she saw. It was how I carried my body. Those white faded stripes. My heart. My vessel of creation.
I liked what I saw. I liked how I felt.
And how fitting, especially as a mother of a daughter, isn’t this what we should be carrying on as women to our younger generations?
So, momma, that’s how I got my body back after pregnancy. I just embraced and loved every damn inch of it. Try it. It’s one diet I promise wont ever go out of style.