Henry is only 94 days old, and yet I already can’t really remember what life was like before him. I can’t believe that three months have passed since giving birth – he’s grown up so much. I call him my Big Boy now. After all, he does big boy things like hold toys and take independent naps and sit up (with some help, of course).
Here’s the obligatory photo montage!
Like I said – such a big boy! Look at those cheekies.
Mind After Baby
Being a mom is hard (and I know that, relatively speaking, Henry is so easy). It’s hard because it never, ever stops. All day, every day. I knew it was going to be constant, of course, but I just don’t think I could’ve imagined what it was like until I lived through it. My best friend, who had a baby a month ago, called me the other day on the verge of tears, saying, “I just don’t know if I can do this.” I just wanted to hug her and say, “Oh, honey. We’ve ALL been there.” My epic breakdown of the month included a twenty minute crying session in my closet. I handed Henry to the Husband, locked myself in my closet, and sobbed. I was totally stressed out and felt so incapable. After a good cry and a hot shower, I felt a lot better (and then I called my mom to tell her thanks for being a great parent). I tell this story in case anyone out there thought I was the perfect, pulled-together mommy. Oh, I am not! I don’t think there is a single mommy out there who has never locked herself in her closet, stood in the shower, or sat in her car to cry. Adjusting to being a mother, no matter how badly you wanted to have a baby, is hard. But I’m trying to figure it all out! Luckily, there are far more great days than kind-of-bad days.
I have to say – being proactive with some aspects of parenting (like sleep habits) has been very helpful with my stress levels. It makes me feel more confident in my mothering skills to approach things with a plan. So much of the first three months were just about survival, and it feels good to put on my parenting hat. Another thing that has greatly reduced my stress is that I accepted and made peace with my breastfeeding choices. The comments on both of these issues were so helpful; I appreciate the feedback and support a lot.
Another thing that I’ve noticed about motherhood is how moms can’t win, especially when it comes to health and fitness. Our society either lambasts moms for doing too little (“Why haven’t you lost the baby weight yet?!” or “Dang, get out there and run; stop using your baby as an excuse!”) or too much (“You’re selfish for taking time away from the baby to exercise!” or “You’re losing weight too fast; you clearly have issues!”). Occasionally, I get both types of comments in one day! I’ve seen this happen time and again, both on the Internet, the media (think of all the magazine covers praising or attacking celebrity moms), and in real life. Obviously, sometimes moms can take it to the extreme either way, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I believe a lot of this goes back to the Mommy Wars, which I’ve written about before. It’s important to recognize that the Mommy Wars are really a war on all women – part of it is a way to hold us down and make us feel bad about identifying and fulfilling our own needs (food for thought: there are no Daddy Wars). I refuse to give into this sick cycle of guilt and pressure. I know I’m balanced in my choices. I know that being a good mom means taking care of myself, too. I’ve come to understand that I can’t really make everyone happy – I can only do what is best for myself, my baby, and my family. And yes, sometimes that involves leaving my baby for an hour so I can run five miles. And sometimes it involves sitting on the couch and snuggling instead of going to the gym.
Body After Baby
Lots of good things to report on the fitness front! On August 25, I completed my first post-baby race – a sprint triathlon. I had so much fun and did well on the swim and run. Wahoo! I also picked up my running mileage and worked my way up a long run of 5.0 miles. Double wahoo.
In terms of healthy eating, I’ve been doing okay. Above all else, I’m trying to eat in a way that supports my breastfeeding and running. I really, really believe in the importance of eating balanced, well-rounded, and consistent meals and snacks, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes I snack through the afternoon and end up being too full for dinner… or eat three servings of dark chocolate while trying to sing Henry to sleep… or forget to eat breakfast… or crush a bag of chips while relaxing with the Husband after work. However, most of my meals are healthy, and I’m generally proud of how I’ve been eating. I try to buy as much ‘convenience’ health foods as possible (like pre-boiled eggs, baby carrots, cut fruit); I usually shy away from these items at the store because they are more expensive, but I am MUCH more likely to eat well if minimal thought and effort is required.
So – what does that add up to? I guess I should ask what does this all subtract up to because I’ve lost another three pounds. TRIPLE WAHOO! (Here’s my view on post-pregnancy weight loss.) That means I have a mere eight pounds to go (I gained 35 pounds during pregnancy). I’m also at the point where if my weight loss stalls out until I stop breastfeeding, that would be fine with me. My goal was to be able to wear most of my tops and dresses again, as well as my larger pants, and I’m there. No more maternity pants!
I love zippers and buttons.
All in all, it’s been a fabulous month (minus crying in the closet episodes). Henry is a giant baby who is happy, giggly, and adorable. I’m adjusting more and more to motherhood each day. And I really feel back in the groove with fitness. Can’t wait to see what comes out of Month 4. Here’s to moving forward!