I've always kind of taken my body for granted. All my life, I've had the metabolism of a gazelle (thank you, Asian genes). So when I got pregnant at 33, I knew I was in for a few curveballs. I never imagined that those surprises would extend well beyond pregnancy, and I got a seriously rude awakening when I tried to pull on my beloved size nothing light wash jeggings. Oh, the things I wish I'd known before I tried on my pre-baby jeans for the first time.
Honestly, I was excited when I had to start using a bellyband over my skinny jeans. It meant I was really, truly pregnant, and that's something I'd been wanting to be for almost a decade. Before I knew it I had traded my skinny jeans in for maternity jeans (ah full panel, how do I love thee?). I figured I'd put them in a box and get them back out when I was postpartum. Yeah, not so fast.
On the advice of my midwife, I'd gained a full 40 pounds during my pregnancy (and only seven of that was baby). Even though giving birth is the fastest 12 pounds you'll ever lose and breastfeeding can help with the rest, you may need to come to terms with the fact that your body is different post-baby than it was when you were pre-baby. That's never more evident than when you try on your pre-pregnancy jeans. So, with that in mind, here's hoping this helps mitigate the shock you might experience the first time you try and slide back into those bad boys.
Pregnancy Permanently Changes Your Body
I knew going into it that having a baby was going to change my life forever. That went without saying. But my body? No one told me that there could be permanent changes to my actual person. Postpartum women may find differences in their shoe and cup sizes. Stretch marks will probably hang around, and your belly may always have a softness to it that it didn't necessarily have before. I don't know about you, but since having a baby, my bladder has never been the same.
Losing The Baby Weight Doesn't Change Certain Changes
Perhaps the biggest change is the one that happens to your shape. During the third trimester, your ligaments soften to allow the birth canal to widen. As a result, most moms end up with wider hips. So even if you get back to your pre-baby weight (no easy feat), you may be looking at a size or two up in jeans.
Size Is Just A Number
Just like weight and age, clothing size has only as much significance as we assign to it. If we define ourself by a number, then of course it's upsetting when that figure (see what I did there?) changes. I've come to realize, over time, that what matters is how clothes make me feel when I put them on, not the digits on the tag.
Sizing Is Arbitrary
Why is it that my size at a boutique makes me feel like a manatee, while the same size at a department store hangs off my hips? In a powerful Facebook post, Deena Shoemaker posted pictures of herself wearing six different bottoms that all fit her. The sizes on the labels varied from five to 12.
Leggings Are Pants
Say it with me. Seriously, though, there are a lot of things I'd rather be than the fashionable mom. At the top of that list is comfortable.
Donate Your Clothes
I know on The Biggest Loser, they have motivation outfits like wedding dresses or old military uniforms. For me, however, getting those jeans that I was never going to be able to wear again out of my damn house was really freeing.
Celebrities Have Trainers
I worship Queen Bey as much as the next millennial, but let's get real: her life is a little different from mine. She, and other Hollywood mamas, have access to the best trainers, meal plans, and nutritionists money can buy. That's just not my reality. Here's to stars who are super honest about the struggle.
My Body's Changes Signify Something Awesome
You guys, I grew a tiny human and expelled her from my loins. That's a freakin' miracle. Of course my body isn't the same. How could it be? If wearing mom jeans is the price I have to pay for the gift of my incredible child, well, bring on the elastic waist.
Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that your jean size is not actually correlated to your self worth. It certainly doesn't take away from what a badass mom you are.