I have been breast feeding for almost 11 months now. If you would have asked me at month 1 or 2 or 3 if I thought I would still be breast feeding at this point, I would have laughed in your face. My sister gave me the best advice in the very beginning. She said, to set mini goals for myself, and once I reached that goal, I could re-evaluate. So, the last 11 months has been a bunch of mini goals. We had a rough start–my milk didn’t come in until Sunday night, and I had delivered Kinsey 4 days before that. I did not feel pressured to supplement or breast feed. I took on an attitude of “Let’s just do whatever is best for Kinsey.” So, after being induced at 37 weeks, and enduring a tough labor, I actually thought that the breast feeding was going to be the easy part. But, it was not. We supplemented for the first week, and I continued to nurse/pump around the clock. My goal in the beginning was just to do everything that I could to see if we could make it work. I set a 3 month goal. Then, at 3 months, I set a 6 month goal. Then, at 6 months, things were relatively easy, and then we hit month 7, and we started introducing solids and suddenly everything wasn’t just manageable, but I had some freedoms too.
Can you believe it? I’ve stuck with it! I’m kicking butt basically–I’ll go ahead and say it. I feel super proud that I’ve made it through 3 weeks of P90X, and, I haven’t died. I did however, push myself too hard on one of the leg/back exercises the other day, so I’m now a bit gimpy. I thought “wow, my knees haven’t struggled through this at all” and then did the one where you hold one leg in the air and bend down to touch the ground…yeah that was a mistake, because I have that horrible runner’s knee pain every time I bend down. My confidence got to my head clearly.
I used to think I was weak. I thought, mentally and physically, I simply couldn’t do certain things. I set limitations mentally on what I could do and would only allow myself to go that far. Any further? I’d fail. Silly right? Because how can we know what our limitations are if we never even try?
I made it through the first week, and I was so sore, I still felt weak.
I made it through the second week, and kept telling myself that it was only the second week…and I would remain weak until week 6 at least.
I am finishing up week three, and guess what, I am not weak. Not in the least. What I could not do in week one, I can do now in week three. Where I used to pause and have to take an additional minute or two (or three), I don’t have to do that anymore. Where Yoga X used to make me shake and panic, I’m feeling like my body is getting stronger, and soon, I’ll be able to handle it.
Truthfully, I’ve never stuck with something this long. Running, sure, I stuck with that. But that was easy. I could push myself as hard as I wanted to, and no one was watching me, so if I quit at mile 2 instead of mile 3, who would know? When I do these videos everyday, I am alone, and I can easily quit, but for some reason, I feel like I am holding myself more accountable this time. I don’t want to quit just because something is too hard. And, I certainly don’t want to quit because I’ve convinced myself that I am weak.
Pregnancy made me a warrior, I decided. It was the most difficult, most painful, most excruciating experience, and even still, I can’t imagine putting myself through it again. I had to convince myself that I wasn’t weak when I didn’t really believe it. I didn’t believe that I could do it, and when I did do it, I didn’t get that high of “look what I just accomplished.” No. Instead, I saw that my baby was healthy, but felt like I failed at the entire thing. There was a moment, when I was laying on my side, holding my legs together, actually believing that there was no way that a baby was actually in there or coming out of me. It was like I had picked denial, over facing what was literally painfully happening to me in that very moment. And, I still remember that moment, and feel like such a failure. Silly right? Because birth is birth, and no matter how your baby enters the world (in my case, screaming, demanding to be cut open, and hollering that the “real” doctor come in and the “fake” doctors kindly exit…bad, I know) it is supposed to be called a “success.” But, I felt like my body failed me. My knee surgeries made it so I couldn’t hold my legs, at all, not even a little bit…I was so physically fatigued, I had to ask to be rolled over, in order to consider possibly, maybe, pushing. It was the longest day of my entire life, and one that I still don’t feel very good about. My baby is beautiful, and I love her more with every single day, but if I am being honest, I still believe that labor was my weakest moment. However, as time goes on, and the weeks pass, I start to believe, even in the littlest sense, that I too am a birthing tribal mother. Yes, I passed out all over the place, and I literally gave up, but…I gave birth. I created life. And, physically, I know, I can do better next time. I know what to expect. I know that my body, though not graceful, will be able to handle it. And, maybe, if I continue to push myself week after week, I will go into the next pregnancy not just believing that I am strong, but KNOWING that I am strong.
It’s a mental game. And I think that P90X, in a really strange way, is becoming my own version of therapy.
I am on the road to combatting my weakness, and, it feels good.
“I don’t believe for one second that the moms who post on their facebook page, PROUD OF MY STRETCHMARKS WOULDN’T CHANGE THEM, aren’t lying assholes.” _Denise Steele. #fact
When I was pregnant, I posted about how I didn’t feel like myself anymore. It was incredibly difficult to sit back and watch my body change and stretch and not being able to do anything about it. I was constantly fighting the healthy mentality that when you gain weight, you are doing something wrong. So now, here I am, empty uterus, and I still feel different. The self that I once knew, has changed. My hips don’t move in the same way, and my back cracks and clicks in ways that it never did previously. I have stretch marks, EVERYWHERE…my legs, my handles, and my belly. I used to rock a two piece swim suit regardless of whether I was proud of what the number said on the scale, but now, I wouldn’t dream of it, even though the scale says I weigh less than what I did before I got pregnant. When I run, my body doesn’t move the way it did before. The motion isn’t as seamless, and instead of being worried about my knees when my shoes hit the pavement, I am worried about my back. When I look in the mirror, I am staring at someone completely different.
I believe that it is ok to not be happy with your tiger stripes. I don’t think that any woman is happy to have them. If I so much as mention how much I dislike my own, I guarantee you that women will fire back with “Be proud of them girl! They are your battle scars! You are woman! Hear you roar!” (maybe not exactly like that, but I’m summarizing.) Just because I had a beautiful baby, doesn’t mean that I have to be happy about the process that I went through to get there. I had a hard pregnancy. And, I sometimes feel bad even saying it because I know women who have had it worse…but it was a struggle. Physically, my body just did not handle it well, and that led to a early induction, which created a very hard and long labor. Yes, I am thankful and blessed by my baby, but that doesn’t make me suddenly love my flabby stomach skin and my purple stretch marks. Admitting that I am not happy with what pregnancy did to my body, doesn’t mean that I do not love my child. It is ok to not be happy with all of the parts. We should love ourselves, yes, most definitely, but it is unrealistic to say that we will love every single corner and crevice.
Yes. It is worth it. Yes. But, lets stop lying about it, stretch marks suck! Back pain sucks! We can’t all embrace our role as birthing tribal mothers and love every.single.part. and you know what, that is perfectly okay! Let’s unite on the grounds that it is more important to be honest than to sugar coat the details. Let’s unite on the grounds that we are all mothers, and that is the toughest job in the world. Let’s unite on the fact that pregnancy is not glamorous, even if you have it easy. We created life, and that is beautiful, and I would rather celebrate that, than celebrate my stretch marks.