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Body image issues are no stranger to me. I’ve been struggling with them for many many years. Those insecurities do motivate me to eat healthily and workout regularly, but even when I’m at my fittest, I’m still never 100% satisfied with myself. I am, however, satisfied enough to avoid considering extreme measures like extreme calorie deprivation or excessive exercise.
Now contrast my normally super fit self to my current self… extremely deconditioned after 10 weeks of bedrest, and nine months pregnant. Not surprisingly, I’m not exactly feeling great about my body! But after all of the complications this pregnancy, I’m so excited to see my still-growing belly that my body’s sacrifices seem minute. Plus, at least its winter and I get to wear baggy pajamas and lounge clothes so I don’t have to see how things are looking! But I know postpartum will be different.
I’m 100% certain that seeing my postpartum body will be upsetting, despite knowing that it just accomplished a tremendous task. To combat my anxiety about this, I’ve been doing what I do best… plan. Planning always makes me feel better. I’ve been putting together postpartum tips and guidelines to hopefully help myself get back into decent shape sooner rather than later. The first two weeks postpartum will be “figure out new life” weeks, but after that I’ll attempt healthier diet choices (I really need to up my veggie intake!) and get back into exercising (already ok’d by my OB unless something crazy happens). I’ll be starting out slowly with yoga and barre classes. A nearby studio has “bring your own baby” classes, which I’m so excited about! Getting my bum to the studio will be a challenge, so I’ve let myself splurge on a few workout clothes that I can wear (and feel comfortable in) while I work towards getting back into pre-pregnancy shape. My go-to sports bra and leggings will be temporarily replaced by a much more comfortable, stretchy and padded (in case of leaking… yuck) sports bra and some loose but flattering capri pants. I’m hoping my regular tighter tank tops will fit so I can just layer a loose tank or tee over until I feel a bit more confident in my body.
I’ve looked at some other women’s postpartum fitness journeys and have appreciated their openness and honestly. I’m hoping I’ll have the courage to do weekly or biweekly postpartum fitness updates as well. I know a postpartum body is nothing we should feel ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean I won’t.
I can’t believe its time for another pregnancy update. Am I really 38 weeks pregnant? How crazy!! I never thought I’d get to the point in my pregnancy where I would say I’m totally ready for this baby to come anytime.
We did have hope that the little one was making her arrival two days ago! After 3+ hours of regular painful contractions, we decided to get checked out. When we arrived to L&D I was contracting every 2-3 minutes and my cervix was dilated to 4cm (previously 3cm). They made us walk around the hospital for the next 90 minutes, which was extremely painful, not to mention rather disgusting and embarrassing when I had to stop walking and squat or sit on the floor with each contraction. Regardless, by the end of the walk, when I finally relaxed and laid down, my contractions slowed to every 7-8 minutes, my cervical dilation halted, and we got to go home. I can’t say I was impressed by the care I received, and I’m dreading having to go back to the hospital if my nurse’s (lack of) kindness is any indication of what’s to come during my actual labor.
These extra days of being pregnant, although not the most physically pleasant, aren’t unwelcome. Like I’ve mentioned before, it gives me an extra opportunity to do some productive things! With the basics taken care of, I’ve been contemplating my next DIY project, which I think will be a file cabinet turned litter box (just bought a $20 file cabinet from Craigslist). If any of you have cats, you know of the struggle to find a discreet place to put the litter box… somewhere where their kicking of litter can be cleaned up fairly easily (because they can’t just step out of the box, they have to run out and fling litter everywhere). I’m excited to get this project going! I’ve done a few DIYs over the past year, some good, some just ok. I’ve been meaning to take pictures and share them… I should get going on that!
We all know life is unpredictable… with the exception of certain death, as they say. Knowing this, life would be so much easier if we could just expect the unexpected, right? But, well, how would we do that? Wouldn’t that make the unexpected the expected? I’ll stop before I confuse myself.
Its easy to label events, especially ones we can’t predict or plan for, as “good” or “bad.” But are those labels accurate or necessary? I’m not a religious person, but I do think Buddhism offers some wonderful insight into this topic (as do other religions). I love this short Taoist story, which illustrates their philosophy.
This is a story of an old farmer who worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
While I absolutely love the lesson of this story, agree with it fully, and feel that it does help me to more easily accept many life events without labeling, it doesn’t magically make “tragedies” or “life-altering” events any easier to handle. At least for me. Events such as illnesses or deaths of loved ones, for example, will never be easy. My pregnancy complications was one of these unexpected and “life-altering” events. I read and listened to a good amount of Buddhist teachings during this pregnancy journey, and plan share what I found helpful in an upcoming post. Hopefully it will help someone else in the future!