As mothers, our bodies undergo so many changes during preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum. We believe that it is possible to be healthy, thriving, and loving to yourself in every season. Kristine is an HMHB member mama. Today she shares about feeling at ease in her body through her motherhood journey. Kristine shares her story in her own words.
My first pregnancy and postpartum
I have struggled with body image and different forms of disordered eating for most of my life. Surprisingly, I’ve found pregnancy to be a season when I feel most at ease in my body.
Four years ago, with my first pregnancy, I was so happy to not have to always “suck it in” or try to be smaller than I was. Unfortunately, this new-found confidence led me to overindulge in all my cravings and pack on excessive weight. I developed high blood pressure and they rushed me to an emergency cesarean after a long labor. After my difficult birth experience and recovery, I sorted through a rush of hormones along with the challenges of being a first-time mom figuring out nursing and caring for a newborn.
I felt awkward and alone in my postpartum body. Although no one in my support system directly commented, societal pressures made the postpartum period daunting. Instead of trying to “bounce back,” I got stuck. I used my emergency C-section as an excuse to avoid even slowly starting to exercise again. And because I was nursing, I justified my (emotional) eating. I shifted the attention to my precious baby, and tried to just survive. Clothing was simply frustrating, my energy was dwindling, and my mind-body connection was on the fritz.
Whole30 and my second pregnancy
Thankfully, over two years later, I stumbled across the Whole30. It truly did change my life; getting my eating habits in check, reigniting a curiosity in nutrition, and giving me the energy to get back to the gym. Three resets later, I got pregnant again! With some expected challenges in my first two trimesters, a Whole30-inspired mindset in the third helped me keep both my weight and blood pressure down.
I had a scheduled cesarean just before Christmas 2018, and my recovery experience was like night and day compared to the first birth. I focused on a healthy recovery, and prioritized nourishment for both myself and baby. Although I enjoyed plenty of holiday foods during the fourth trimester, I feel no guilt or anger toward my body for not quickly losing the baby weight. This time I feel more comfortable in my body. I’m aware that it is changing, and will continue to change. This is not a sprint, but a beautiful marathon! Some days will be better than others. But now I’ve got support from the mamas in the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program to help me see the big picture during the tougher times.
I’m using my January Whole30 as a launch pad into my next phase as I settle into life as mom of two. With each meal, each workout, each morning to reflect–and hopefully each night of sleep–I’ll be one step closer to a healthier and stronger me.
My body just changed in crazy beautiful ways to give me my daughter. It changed again to feed her and will again when we wean. Respecting this metamorphosis with grace and healthy foods, I now trust that my body knows what to do. We can’t change what we ate in the past or how we thought about ourselves, but there is always a fresh chance to see it all, even our reflection, with a new perspective. Finally, I’m going to remind myself that I’m not only doing this for myself, but also for my kids. I want them to grow up at ease with their bodies—something that I had to fight so hard for as an adult.