The Rocky Gorgeous Road That is Breastfeeding

Through my pregnancy I saw my waistline expand.

Thankfully I had an all-belly pregnancy but that just meant my clothes got tight from the abdomen eventually. They still stopped fitting but I wasn’t TOO big up until the last two months. My weight gain was just within the limits defined.

It was a healthy, happy, pregnancy. With ONE emotional breakdown when I lost my keys at the cinema (found them the very next day and got called in because they were so worried about the pregnant woman who kept wanting to go through their trash)

Everyone said you’ll lose it all with breastfeeding. It’s easy peasy. I had gained 14kg beyond my prepregnancy weight at full term pregnant, the night before Sass arrived.

I was not even thinking of weight as an issue. Dropping pounds had never been a problem in life. Little did I know what lied ahead.

Fourth day of my baby’s life I had seen my ravenous hunger from teenage return! I hadn’t eaten like that in DECADES. God that hunger was IN-SANE. So I kept trudging along. Feeding my baby. Getting “distracted” by the gazillion things new moms get consumed with.

When I got to my doctor for getting my stitches snipped at 10 days, on my way out of his room I stopped at the nurse sitting in the hallway with the weighing scale. “WAIT, let me check where I am at.”

To my dismay I had only dropped around 8kg. This isn’t fair, I thought. The baby is out it’s been 10 days. Why am I still stuck here? Oh well. Breastfeeding will do what it needs to. Maybe it takes a little more time. I tried to shrug it off.

Oh boy. Was I in for a ride.

Two months later it was Eid. I wore my new clothes that I had bought before Sassi was born (just to get the chore out of the way). It felt a little tight.

I stepped on the scale the next morning. I had gained 3kg. That’s weird, I thought to myself. My baby is a milk guzzling machine. I’m not keeping her from having any. Must have been all the desserts from Eid. Brushed it away again.

That was the last time I saw that number on the scale and it has been over a year since that happened.

I lost my appetite. Poof! Into thin air. I couldn’t eat anything all day long. Yet. My supply didn’t tank unlike through my earlier days breastfeeding when I could visibly see the supply being affected if I skipped a meal or even reduced my food intake.

I thought this is good! I’m eating less so I will weigh less and still get to breastfeed. Nope. That didn’t happen. A year fast forward and today I weigh more than I weighed at full term pregnant with my baby inside me! NOTHING fits. Not even clothes I used to wear through my pregnancy. I had to pack everything away and buy new clothes.

Along the way I kept doing my research (compulsive nerd) and came across this article. It says that breastfeed and power through the first few months because around the fourth month the pounds begin to shed. I was very happy until month four. Sure, pack on you sticky pounds. You’ll be all gone soon!

Boy. Was I wrong.

That’s when I did my peer to peer aka questioning aunty type research. Apparently there are two types of women (body types. But women makes it sound so much more dramatic and patriarchal so I can pounce on it later). One who lose weight to the extent they go underweight if they’re not careful while breastfeeding and the other who gain weight while breastfeeding.

I belonged to the second category. One I didn’t even know existed. So I actually found a logical explanation to it after speaking to nutritional coaches et al and I hope I’m right THIS time but when we breastfeed, our body tends to hold on to every bit of what we eat in a quest to store it for milk making because we are feeding a kidlet. Such people are reported to lose weight only once they wean. Since I have lost trust in humanity and breastfeeding for weight loss already, I won’t count on it and report back when I get to that point but, getting back to what I was saying, our bodies take our milk production to Heart. Also the fact that I was starving it, it thought it won’t get anything to eat for God knows how long because this girl is clearly far from civilisation. Let’s hang on to every little morsel she eats and Store it in her arms and thighs. Oh wait! Belly flab ooooooh!

I honestly think my body has a personality and it’s a freaking animation going on on the inside. Organs having a go at each other. It’s a fun place.

So yes, to conclude,

15 months Postpartum

I weigh more than I did when I was WITH my baby on her birthday morning before she came out.

I am still breastfeeding.

I am hopeful I’ll lose this when I wean but I don’t know yet.

The entire idea I wanted to touch upon by sharing my breastfeeding journey (in light of CHEATING and deceptive information. * sob *) is, everyone’s body is different. We have different ways that our hormones react to the roller coaster ride motherhood is.

It’s not all halos around the face and light form the skies kinda stuff. Infact it’s never any of that. Motherhood is real and challenging and if you thought ANYTHING in your life pushed the limits on you whether it was studies or work or relationships, motherhood will surprise you and most of the times in not a very good way.

I love what my mum says about pregnancy that “I got pregnant twice. I still don’t know anything about it. My own two pregnancies didn’t match each other how can I say for sure ANYTHING happens during pregnancy?”

Everyone is unique and it’s unique for everyone, every single time.

The last thing we want is the unwarranted pressure on ourselves to get back into our prepregnancy Jeans which is something we slap onto ourselves. No one else is asking me. Everyone is rather calm about it. “Oh you will lose it no worries” while I scream on the inside but HOW? HOW HOW HOW?

I usually don’t buy the be positive and stay fat mantra. I feel we need to keep working on being a healthy weight at which our body and systems aren’t strained and performing at their best capacity. That in my view is positivity but this one time, for mummies new and slightly old?

I’d say let it go at least until your child is physically being nourished by you. As clichéd as it sounds (and makes me throw up in my mouth a bit) we do need a bit of body positivity at this point in time because no matter how many women do it all the time, it is a miracle the size of a refrigerator! It’s procreation and sustenance. It’s as raw as it gets and we get to be part of that unadulterated, gorgeousness that is life coming into being.

Think. THINK HARD! What are we doing. We are sustaining a tiny human. A little person will live and love and have opinions and a driver’s license one day because we chose to conceive and grow them inside us, going on to sustain him or her over their early years PHYSICALLY. How sick is THAT?

Mind. Blown. Right?

So I’d say, lay off yourself and other mommies. Give yourself goals, don’t dwell in it of course. I aim to be back on the fitness bandwagon by my baby’s third birthday. You can totally wait until their fifth or their second. Whatever you do, give yourself a target that makes your present as comfortable and beautiful with your child as possible because nothing in the world matches a toddler waking up after a full night’s sleep, all sleepy smiles, wanting to cuddle with you.

THAT my friend isn’t coming back. You can lose all the weight you want when your baby isn’t looking. School will eventually begin. They’ll have a life of their own. You can do stuff then. Not saying that you ignore yourself for the child. Infact. Quite the contrary.

Do yourself a favour and LOVE yourself the way your baby does. Unconditionally and all the time.

Get selfish with that baby loving and cherish every single moment they’re gorgeous because who knows better than us how babies aren’t “nice and cute” all the time. Sometimes they’re jumping on our face at 3am or running around naked refusing to wear anything or stuffing their face with food only to spit it out and see the unprocessed bolus. Really. They’re not cute all the time but God knows how your ovaries explode when you see your little chimp sleeping soundly, early morning or chewing on your boob deep in their sleep.

Give yourself a break. We will all get back there. I promise. To you and myself.

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