Last time, after giving birth to Henry, I wrote a Mind & Body After Baby series.  It seems like everyone really liked the balance between mental and physical health.  I’m so glad that you all liked the split between mental and physical health because, to me, that’s what being truly healthy is all about.

PicMonkey Collage

I hate the way that magazines make women feel like all that matters is getting your “body back” post-baby.  Sure, I’m a fitness-conscious individual who loves to do triathlons and be active, so getting back into shape for my hobbies matters to me.  Also – I cannot wait to wear clothes with buttons and zippers again! But those magazines promote unrealistic timelines and create false expectations.  And the mental adjustment to a new child is huge, too.  When I look back on my post-partum period with Henry, I don’t immediately think about when I got back into running or how fast I lost the baby weight; I remember how I felt emotionally after becoming a mom – the ups, the downs, the triumphs, and the challenges. 


I guess that emotional change doesn’t make a great magazine cover, does it?   But maybe it can make for a decent blog post…




Oh my!  What a difference.  I remember being shocked – SHOCKED – by motherhood when Henry was born.  He was so very much wanted, and we were at an excellent place in our lives to have a child, but the lifestyle change that comes with having a baby hit me like a ton of bricks.  The responsibility.  The pressure (so much of it self-imposed, by the way). The constant need to be “on.”  Parenting – that shit is real, y’all.


I suffered from anxiety after Henry’s birth.  Am I doing this right? Am I a good mom? Is he happy? Is he well-fed? Why isn’t breastfeeding going the way I thought it would? Why is he crying? How can I juggle this with work? I remember experiencing a huge hormone crash when I got home from the hospital and definitely had a touch of the baby blues. 


I’m happy to report that, so far, it’s different.  After two and a half years of parenting, I know enough to know that I don’t know everything – but I do know one thing for sure.  Nothing lasts forever.  The bad and hard parts.  The good and sweet parts.  It’s so clichéd but it’s true – kids grow up so fast.


I decided my word for Claire’s newborn period (and probably for a long time!) is going to be SURRENDER. Just give into the hard parts and enjoy the sweet parts and don’t try so desperately to claw my way back to some hectic version of my pre-baby “normal life” – because it WILL eventually return to normal anyway. And why stress myself out trying to get there right now?  It’s okay if I wear pajamas everyday and kind of smell like baby spit up and don’t have the drive or time to exercise.  My priority right now is pretty simple – my family.  And if I focus on that, I’m being as successful at life as I can reasonably expect to be.


So, to summarize, I’m feeling really good because I’m just not putting pressure on myself in any way, shape, or form.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  And, quite truthfully, I think it makes me a better mom, wife, and individual overall anyway (that’s not to say that I haven’t had my moments where I felt completely and totally overwhelmed – because I most certainly have!!!).




I am excited to use this space to track my fitness progress when I do decide to make this area of life a priority again.  I’m planning on doing a 5K in March, and I hope to do a triathlon in the summer with my friend Brandi.  She has two kiddos, too, and we’re roughly at the same fitness level (well, when I am fit!), so I think we’ll be a perfect training match. 


Weight is just one way to measure post-baby fitness, but I do think it’s interesting to track my loss, so here are my stats:


Starting Weight: 123

Weight Before Delivery: 165

Weight 3 Days Post-Partum: 155

9 Days Post-Partum: No idea, don’t own a scale. But all my organs are definitely falling back into place after being shoved out of place for so long! The body is so cool.

post baby body

I am not really worried about weight loss.  I think it’s really important to have realistic expectations about what your body looks and feels like after delivery.  Yes, I still look pregnant even though I’m holding a newborn – but most women do for a while.  Yes, I am still about 30 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight – but that’s pretty normal, too.  All that matters to me right now is that I’m recovering and I’m producing enough breast milk to feed Claire.


I have been moving around the house and have run a few errands, but other than that – not much.  I did go on my first walk yesterday; we went down the block.  I wish I hadn’t torn during delivery because I think I would feel normal otherwise.  Healing from that is going to take some time and will probably be my biggest roadblock to physical activity.


Side note – these photos were practically impossible to coordinate. Hah. First of all, it involved showering and actually putting on real people clothes. Then Claire was SO not into taking photographs.  And her bright yellow pants threw off the color balance of the whole photo!  Hah.  Trying to get one with Claire and Henry at the same time?! Oh my lord.  No.  It was a comedy of errors…


How did you feel emotionally and physically one week after delivery?  It’s so different for every woman and, as I’m learning, so different from child to child!


Side note – For some post-pregnancy positive body image talk, I really love the Fourth Trimester Bodies Project!



  • kristin | W [H] A T C H December 11, 2014, 8:46 am

    this is such a refreshingly real post and the freedom you’re feeling really comes through. wishing you a really, really sweet time welcoming claire into the family.

  • Eliza December 11, 2014, 9:03 am

    hi Caitlin, love your posts and congrats on your new adorable baby Claire! I am pregnant – 12 weeks and am going to be utilizing the Bradley method. I have a few of the books you suggested already.

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 9:08 am

      Congrats!!! Hope you love Bradley 🙂

  • Eliza December 11, 2014, 9:05 am

    also – I remember you talking about having to have some sort of testing for female issues. I just found out right before I found I was pregnant that I have CIN III- which is precancerous cells on the cervix. Such a bummer and they can only remove it after I give birth in June. Do you (or other readers!!) have any insight into this? It freaks me out a lot.

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 9:08 am

      Are you getting the LEEP done? So sorry to hear about this.

      • eliza December 11, 2014, 9:10 am

        Yes- and only can get it done about 6 weeks after baby is here so in August. Doctor was very confident that it wont progress to cancer in 7-8 months so I am happy to hear that. Definitely not something I want to be dealing with though when I am pregnant and once baby is here. Do you have any advice for me?

        • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 9:18 am

          I’m not super familiar with the stages etc. but I tried to just reduce all causes of possible inflammation in my body by eating right and not drinking a lot etc. I also avoided the use of conventional tampons, not sure if that made a difference though. The LEEP itself wasn’t too bad; it’s not fun but after childbirth it’s NBD. Good luck.

          • Kimberly December 11, 2014, 1:02 pm

            I had early stage cervical cancer cells and also had the LEEP procedure. Afterwards I asked my doctor what dietary changes I could make to prevent cancer cells from returning/advancing and she said to eat a diet high in cruciferous vegetables and low in animal fats.

          • Eliza December 12, 2014, 11:28 am

            Thanks Kim!!

  • Angie December 11, 2014, 9:05 am

    Great attitude this time around – Surrender, I love it!

    One comment about “back to normal” – I think all moms have an expectation of getting back to normal at some point. But there is no “normal” – there’s a new normal that changes all the time as kids grow and change and go through different phases (and their parents do the same). The most frustrating and beautiful thing about being a parent is that there is no “normal” there is only right now. Don’t blink because “right now” will become a different right now.

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen December 11, 2014, 9:18 am

    I don’t have any kids yet, but I really love your balanced and honest approach to your “Body after Baby” 🙂 AND your kids are super cute! Can’t wait to follow along the journey!

  • Hannah N. December 11, 2014, 9:27 am

    I loved reading this (and your post-baby series after Henry). I’m due in early February with my first child and hearing/reading things like this definitely puts me at ease and helps me have realistic expectations. Even though my reality will be different from yours and others, I feel like you have a very balanced perspective. I’ve heard so many postpartum experiences told like it’s a total fairy tale or a complete nightmare. I expect there will be a mix of everything along that spectrum. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  • Brynn December 11, 2014, 9:35 am

    Your family is beautiful! I was surprised how great I felt physically but foggy I felt mentally post delivery. I’m sure it was the lack of sleep but wow, I could barely think straight!

  • Mandy B December 11, 2014, 9:44 am

    You described my postpartum period to a T. I definitely was in a world of shock when my son was born almost a year ago! I also work from home and balance has been a true challenge. I love your mantra to “surrender” and I’ll be keeping that in mind even now, but especially when (if?) we have baby #2. I have a feeling it will be somewhat easier to care for a baby the second time around, but I’m wondering if having a toddler at the same time will cancel that out! I hope to hear about your experiences in that regard, your posts have really helped me see what’s coming down the road!

  • Emily December 11, 2014, 9:47 am

    Love this. Surrender totally has to be second kid and on thing. After getting through the first year with my second, I finally feel like I am able to take back a lot more time and energy, but truly, I found that surrender during the first year was what I was all about. It’s not even worth the emotional and physical energy to fight it. Surrender on girl! You are doing an awesome job already!

  • Ashley December 11, 2014, 9:48 am

    I love love love your Mind and Body After Baby posts. I did with my first kiddo (she’s about 4 months younger than Henry) and I do now with my second (she’s 3 months). Actually, I just love your blog in general and wish we lived in the same city so we could be bffs. Is that weird? 🙂

    I took the side shot weekly pictures through both my pregnancies. I took one holding my older daughter in the belly position at what would have been 41 weeks and I love the series. With my second pregnancy, I held my older daughter in all of them, but they were still side-shot. Well I tried to do the same post-delivery side-shot…yeah, impossible to hold 2 kids like that! Ha! I feel you on that one. I am very impressed with the shot you did manage to get!

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 9:53 am

      Move to charlotte!!!

  • Susan December 11, 2014, 9:51 am

    It’s so interesting for me to read these posts- thanks for sharing again. My story is much much different and really never makes it to the blog world very often. You see, I delivered my daughter at 33 weeks and spent 8 weeks with her in NICU care. So my mind and body development were completely encompassed by hospital life. Taking home a 2 month old baby is much different because she was already put on a schedule and we as new parents received a lot hands on help with how to handle her. I started exercising again before she came home and am now facing how to handle it with her home. Mentally, I was a nutcase at the beginning because I couldn’t quite grasp why my daughter wasn’t able to come home with me. Luckily I was mentally stable by the time she came home. Good luck with Claire- she is absolutely beautiful! 🙂

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 9:52 am

      Awwww. My heart breaks for you and your little one! How scary and yes – so different. I hope things are better now. <3

  • Dara December 11, 2014, 10:07 am

    This post came at the perfect time for me! I’m 5 months pregnant with my 3rd, and I’m hitting that point where I’m starting to feel a bit yucky about myself. It was a great reminder that our bodies do what they need to do during and after pregnancy and we need to just roll with it instead of fighting it. I’ve bounced back the other two times, I should stop thinking about it. I love using the word “surrender” in ref to the newborn times. I desperately need to remind myself to do this as well. I’ve fought hard to get things “back to normal” both times — and all it does is stress you out when you aren’t where you think you should be. It all returns to some kind of normal, and that applies to both life and body. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Katie@LifesNextBigStep December 11, 2014, 10:28 am

    I love these posts. It’s so important to have realistic expectations about what happens after a baby enters the world, not only to your body, but to your mind…and like you said, the priority isn’t getting ones body back…it’s taking care of the tiny human you just delivered. Great post Caitlin!!

  • Jesse December 11, 2014, 10:55 am

    thank you for this post. i am due with my second baby in a month and i’m trying very hard to approach all of this differently — especially my expectations about myself. continue to be gentle on yourself, you’re doing a great job!!

  • Michelle December 11, 2014, 11:21 am

    I am two months post partum and I also have a three year old son, so I feel very much in the same boat. Some days are really tough and I find myself thinking that I am just looking forward to baby getting a little bit older. Something about this early stage… It’s a different kind of stress entirely. You aren’t getting a lot of feedback about whether you’re doing anything right. On top of that, I constantly feel like I’m never able to give each kid all the attention they desire from me.

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 11:58 am

      Yeah but think of all the benefits to having siblings! As an only child, I really would’ve loved a sibling, especially as an adult.

      • Sarah December 11, 2014, 3:41 pm

        I so appreciate this perspective, Caitlin! I have a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old, and I often worry that I can’t give them BOTH the attention I want to…but you’re right & it’s not all about a relationship with ME. It’s so cool they can have a relationship with each other, too:-).

  • Kate December 11, 2014, 11:24 am

    You are an inspiration in each of your posts! I love your outlook and the glimpses into your cute family. Enjoy this extra special holiday season!

  • Sarah@Kids Heart Real Food December 11, 2014, 11:43 am

    Thanks for the great post Caitlin. As I gear up for baby #2 in about 8 weeks I can really resonate with everything you’ve said. After a rough few months the first time around (all the anxiety, all the worrying!), I’m really looking forward to just “savouring” the newborn time this time and not stressing so much about everything. I’ve really tried to spend this pregnancy getting into that mind set – more yoga, more mindfulness and more…surrender! What a perfect word to encapsulate my goal as a second time mom. I’m actually really going to try and keep that word top of mind during the hectic moments, so a big thanks for sharing such wonderful insight.

  • Britt@MyOwnBalance December 11, 2014, 12:05 pm

    I’m definitely suffering from some postpartum anxiety. It is the worst. It’s hard being a new mom. Luckily I have a great support system but I just want to feel better and not feel so anxious!

  • Annette@FitnessPerks December 11, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Congratulations!! Claire is darling! And I love your attitude & thoughts! <3

  • Rachel December 11, 2014, 12:17 pm

    I adore the pic with both kids! Pretty much sums it up, huh? I’m almost 3 years out from my last birth so the details are kinda fuzzy. I had a c-section and I remember it healing pretty quickly. I also remember going kinda stir crazy and needing to get out of the house. I truly think the fresh air can be so therapeutic!

    I would also highly recommend the website:

    It really helps you get a better understanding for what post partum bodies can look like.

  • Julie December 11, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Long time reader, just wanted to say that you look SO beautiful and SO happy in these photos. I had my first baby in July and this whole post was really refreshing to read. Congratulations to you and your family on your adorable new addition.

  • Lissy December 11, 2014, 12:51 pm

    She’s such a cutie! Hmm, a week after I have birth is probably when I started feeling human again. I haven’t slept for days before delivery, and apparently I was so it off it the day after, I didn’t remember our friend came to visit. I tore too, but that seemed like nothing compared to the muscle pain. I was able to take short walks a week after, but I ached

  • Erin M. December 11, 2014, 12:56 pm

    You’re awesome. That’s all 🙂

  • Tanya December 11, 2014, 1:38 pm

    You look great Caitlin! Happy and very well!

  • Natalie @ The Ravenous Mommy December 11, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Looking good mama!!!

    I totally agree with the parenting hits you like a ton of bricks after baby #1! I hope when I have #2 someday I feel the same way you do 🙂

  • Jen@jpabstfitness December 11, 2014, 1:39 pm

    My youngest just turned 8 months old…I honestly don’t even remember the first week after she came home. Such a blur. She’s the youngest of 4 and the one above her is almost 7, so it’s been a really long time since we have had a baby in the house. At first I was like “omg, I HAAAVE to get things back to normal around here.” And after that failed miserably, we are getting things in a routine for our new normal 🙂

  • Kas December 11, 2014, 2:22 pm

    I’m 7 weeks postpartum tomorrow with my first baby. Not gonna lie, I felt terrible 1 week postpartum (second degree tearing). It was Halloween day & I walked half a block. Felt like I was going to die! Definitely feeling better, though still not 100%. Hopefully the second baby will be easier!

    Sending healing thoughts your way!

  • Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats December 11, 2014, 3:15 pm

    I am so happy to see an “after baby” report where you still have the weight on (sorry!). It really makes me feel down when I see women pack in their pre-pregnancy jeans a couple weeks after delivery…..I mean, how do they do that? You look great! Keep up the good work.

  • Chelsea December 11, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Awww I love this. Congrats!!!

  • Lori December 11, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Caitlin, you are such a great role model. Thank you for your honesty and realness! Your outlook this time around sounds A+ !
    I, too, hate the focus that the media puts on getting the pre-baby body back. And it was really easy for me to talk about the first time around, after my first baby, when the weight melted off within a few weeks, I had not a single stretch mark, and suddenly I was way thinner than I had been in a long time (thank you breastfeeding). Oh yeah! “Women shouldn’t worry about their post baby body!”. Well, my second time around, the weight isn’t coming off, and I have major stretch marks and saggy skin. It’s a lot harder to think kind thoughts about my body. But I’m trying. Half of me sort of loves my new mama body and loves that my second baby left his mark on me, but the other half of me despises it. Working on that part.

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 4:12 pm

      What always helps me handle my changing body is to remember that no one’s body is supposed to look the same their entire life. Knowing that change is inevitable makes me just want to focus on being as healthy as possible, whatever that looks like.

      • Lori December 11, 2014, 4:34 pm

        Wise. Thank you 🙂

  • Tricia December 11, 2014, 6:47 pm

    This is why I love your blog. This is so real and is also how I feel. There is so so so much time to get “you” back. This time should be about your family. I love it. Much respect for you. You seem really happy!

  • Danielle December 11, 2014, 7:33 pm

    You are awesome. Thanks for always keeping it real.

  • sarah (SHU) December 11, 2014, 7:34 pm

    I loved this post and I wanted to say your mindset sounds amazing. And oh my goodness, these weeks will go so fast!

  • Chelsea December 11, 2014, 8:17 pm

    Thank you for this post Caitlin! It took me a long time after the birth of my daughter to embrace my “new normal”. And of course things were so much better once I did! Enjoy your sweet new baby!

  • Jamie December 11, 2014, 8:25 pm

    Congrats! I am so impressed and happy that you are still posting on a daily basis! I’m sure its difficult but your blog is one of my favorites and glad youre still here:)

  • Ayla Helland December 11, 2014, 8:44 pm

    I love your mind and body post. I am pregnant with my second and have read your blog since you were pregnant with Henry. Thank you for sharing the honesty that goes with being a new mommy and a mommy of two now!

  • Meg December 11, 2014, 9:17 pm

    I just had my first baby in early November. I called the doctor on the second day of my contractions, once they were 7 min apart. It was 1am when we arrived at the hospital. I needed an emergency c-section because she was breach. I was SO surprised at how AGGRESSIVE and painful the c-section was. Also, recovery has been long. I was really active throughout pregnancy to my last day, but now almost 6 wks post postpartum, I have finally been cleared for moderate/easy exercise. The hardest part of a newborn mentally has been trying to figure out why she is crying, an trying to get her to sleep. She HATEs going to sleep. Also, coordinating with my husband has been challenging.

    Exercise has always been my coping mechanism, so not being able o exercise has been mentally challenging too. I gained 40 lbs during the pregnancy, and without trying, I only have 10 lbs left. I think that the rest of the weight will come off over time as I get more active and continue to breast feed.

    Fortunately breastfeeding came naturally. We’re starting to work on nap schedules and we’re trying to determine the best way for us to get her to sleep (fortunately night sleep hasn’t, relatively, been an issue). Also, I feel like a space cadet. I can’t keep track of things like I use to (hence this scattered comment). I look forward to regular smiles and more interaction.

  • Bonnie December 12, 2014, 8:06 am

    Color balance aside, please make the one of you, Henry and Claire your main pic! It’s so cute and I think it perfectly captures the craziness (and fun!) of parenting 🙂 <3

  • Katie December 12, 2014, 9:20 am

    I love your posts – both of my children were born around when yours were born so enjoy hearing what they are up to. I’m with you – emotionally and physically I felt SO much better after my second baby! My son was born three months ago my only low point was being a bit jealous of my toddler because she was getting so much more sleep than me or my husband 🙂 We are already getting great sleep so soon you’ll be there, too! Congratulations on your sweet family.

  • Mallory December 12, 2014, 9:35 am

    Caitlin, congrats! Also, I just really love and appreciate a REAL prospective. Everyone has different stories, but it’s so nice and refreshing to hear the ups and downs and know that everyone has them. I think you seem to be doing fantastic. I really appreciate you letting your readers into this amazing time in your life. Question — do you plan to get the placenta pills again with Claire? You really opened my eyes on that one!

    • Caitlin December 12, 2014, 1:50 pm

      Yes! I am taking them 🙂

  • Kim December 12, 2014, 10:18 am

    I love how realistic you are. It is such a comfort to hear someone be so normal and not worry about how much they weigh, or how their jeans fit immediately after having a child. Thank you for the positive image that you put out – especially to women who haven’t had children yet. It’s encouraging to hear the reality, and not the Hollywood story.

  • Becky December 12, 2014, 12:56 pm

    Great post! My second daughter is 5 weeks old now and I am so thrilled with how quickly I started to feel normal again. I was expecting the same “hit by a freight train” exhaustion on a daily basis that I experienced with my first daughter but other then being a little tired, I feel great. Amazing how the body and mind adjusts.

    One thing that kind of bugs me is the comment “Good for you for being out and about already!” from literally everyone I’ve seen for the last 5 weeks. Am I supposed to be hibernating for months!? This doesn’t feel like a big accomplishment at this point and I don’t even know how to respond to it other then saying “Yeah, with a 2 year old we can’t ever stay in the house all day or we go crazy.”

  • Kylie @ Everblossom December 14, 2014, 9:24 pm

    “Surrender” is probably the best way to put that post baby stage. There really is no choice in the matter anyway, when all is said and done! 😉 Congrats, mama.

  • Sue K December 15, 2014, 5:08 am

    Boy – I wish this information had been so easily discussed when I had my babies. I love your attitude and wish you well with your beautiful family!

  • Cassie December 18, 2014, 9:42 am

    You look beautiful! I am also working on SURRENDERING. My husband just started a new job, and I am trying to be patient until he gets settled. Because then we’ll try to start a family! Which I am crazy excited about, but it’s led to some tantrums when things haven’t gone as quickly as I would like. Surrender.

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork December 23, 2014, 3:03 pm

    I love, love, loved these posts when you did them with Henry and love that you’re doing them again! Keeping it real as women, as mothers, is so important because our view of reality and expectations is skewed by the media and our own thoughts. I’m so glad you’re finding the second time around a bit “easier,” so to say. I’ll look forward to these posts in the future. Keep up the good, healthy work!

  • Em June 2, 2015, 7:12 pm

    Hi 🙂 Is your shirt from Stitch Fix? A friend of mine has the same one… very cute!!

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