Yesterday marked “9 weeks postpartum” for me.
Here’s a bit of a true confession– just like with Gregory, I’m starting to get impatient. I want my “old body” back.
Anybody who’s had a kid can tell you the real hard truth: although the numbers may go back to normal, everything has shifted. Nothing looks the same, which makes perfect sense! Having a baby requires your ab muscles to virtually separate and disappear. Your organs have to rearrange themselves (at the very end of my pregnancy, I felt my stomach growl, and it was under my rib cage, near my back! Tell me that isn’t some serious shifting!).
I’ve avoided working out based on my experience last time. I started exercising waaayyy too soon, and, as a result, not only re-injured my tailbone (stupid Pilates…) but also started losing weight like crazy. I vowed that I would not make the same mistake again.
But it’s a definite temptation of mine. When I see my post-partum tummy, I want to hit the gym HARD, eat only lean meats and veggies, and never look back. It has nothing to do with numbers on a scale or clothes I want to wear. I just remember and miss my old stomach, even the one I had post-Gregory (yes, after 7-8 weeks my abs did go back to a semi-normal “flat” state).
Knowing this temptation of mine, I purposely put an extended “hold” on my gym membership until July. I knew that if I set foot inside, I would be unable to hold back.
Because I’ve realized something– knowing what I know about myself and my metabolism, it would be pure selfishness to do any sort of hard exercising right now. I know, almost without a doubt, what it will do to my milk supply, and, therefore, Anthony’s health.
The impatient part of me that almost doesn’t care?
My strong sense of entitlement and selfishness, front and center.
But this is just another area of my heart that I get to see the Lord change in me. I get to realize that my body is no longer mine, but an offering to God for His service. That part in the Romans where Paul says to “offer yourself as a living sacrifice”? Totally starting to get that now. I don’t get to decide what I do with my body apart from God’s plan for it, or I am clearly no better than Jonah, running away in the hull of some ship.
I’ve mentioned on this blog the huge struggles I had with eating disorders in high school. While peer pressure is definitely a factor for many teens, I think the biggest factor is control– we like to pretend we are mini-gods, masters of our own universe. Our culture tells us that we can have anything we want if we just want it badly enough, and eating disorders are no different. Genetics? Who cares. Proper health measures? Forget about it. I’m young and invincible, and if I want to eat in a way that defies the natural way of things, so be it!
I’ve tried “playing god” with my body, and I’ve never been so miserable in all my life.
Which brings me to another lesson God’s been teaching me.
When I stop taking control away from Him, I get to see, no, experience His plan.
For instance, instead of having rock hard abs for my own vanity (my plan), I grew two human beings! It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my body was able to grow and keep three people (myself included) alive for the past 2.5 years!! That’s so incredible! I still haven’t comprehended how cool God made a woman’s body– in January, 2010, Gregory was just an embryo, no bigger than a pea. Now, he can walk, talk and throw a baseball, largely due to my body and the miracle it was able to produce! Not to mention being responsible for keeping him alive with breastmilk!
Suppose I was stuck on Mount Everest for 3 days and I somehow, by the grace of God, managed to keep myself and two others alive, despite the dangers all around us. That would be an accomplishment, no? And wouldn’t it be wrong for someone to look at all the bruises and frost-bitten limbs and say, “You look terrible!” Wouldn’t that totally be missing the point of the miracle that just took place?
I think postpartum women (especially myself) need to give ourselves a break. We didn’t just keep someone alive for a few days, we did it for months, even years! For me to look at myself and “want” my body back is to do serious injury to the miracle that God did. Who am I to say that this miracle isn’t enough for a lifetime?