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Postpartum Bodies

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I figured I'd start a thread to see if anyone is struggling with (or loving!) how their body has changed after birth.

 

My body has still done some interesting things that I wasn't quite expecting.  I now have some pretty annoying bladder issues.  I first noticed them when I had a bad cough, but now that I'm back at the gym it's even worse.  My first day back was a jump rope workout and I completely soaked through my underwear.  Thank god I was wearing black workout pants.  I don't know if anyone noticed, but it was pretty obvious.  I'm doing Kegels and hoping things get better sooner rather than later. 

 

I'm also struggling with bad hemorrhoids, which I didn't have until the last week of pregnancy and now can't get rid of.  I didn't realize I needed to do anything about them, but my doctor suggested the cream that shrinks them.  I put a bunch on after a particularly painful BM only to find later that the cream had soaked through my light colored pants.  So, to add insult to injury, I'm not only peeing myself but also leaking weird ointments.  Pretty gross. 

 

I also noticed that now that relaxin levels have dropped, I'm less flexible and the back issues I had pre-pregnancy (I had a slipped disc) are coming back.  I'll need to get used to working out without my beloved flexibility hormones from now on. 

 

And, of course, I didn't make it out of pregnancy without stretch marks and a belly bulge, but I sort of like the stretch marks.  They are kind of badges of honor and since they're all below the belly button, I don't think they'll be too obvious.  I'm working on ab stuff to pull the bulge back in, but I think I'm stuck with some excess belly for a while.  I also have one breast that produces much more than the other, so I have a seriously lopsided chest.  eyesroll.gif

 

Though all of this sounds pretty gross and depressing now that I look at it, I'm amazed daily at what my body accomplished.  That I carried a human being inside me for nine months and gave birth to that person and now am nourishing her straight from my breast is still continually awe-inspiring.  I've noticed that my pain tolerance for minor annoyances (stubbing my toe, for example) is much higher than it was before, and pushing through without pain meds (thank goodness I had an uncomplicated labor and could do this) gave me an amazing appreciation for what women can accomplish and what I am actually capable of.  I have so much more respect for myself, if that makes any sense.

 

So, how have your bodies changed?  Do you appreciate them more?  Are you struggling to let go of the pre-baby body?  Are there things you love about this new body?  Weird or hilarious stories (I just admitted to peeing myself in public, so let's hear them, people!)?

post #2 of 25

This is post-baby #3 for me - and so I'm not sure I'm as in tune to what's changed pre-baby because it's been 5 years.  :)  A LOT has changed... I am loving my boobs - they ROCK post-partum because I'm breastfeeding - I have cleavage people!  Trying not to flaunt it though - it's just not cool in the higher ed world ;).  So, my husband is the sole beneficiary.  

 

I feel like my hips will always be just a bit wider.  My tummy is slowly going away - it always takes months for it to come all the way back to normal - but it always has so far.  

 

Lily Tiger - Same here - my pain tolerance is pretty rockin' - and I'm a faster runner because of it too.  I can really beat myself to a pulp on the track in a way I couldn't before and I've shaved a lot of time off of my previous PRs :).  

 

Altogether though - I feel like I'm healthier than I was pre-babies, and once I get the weight off and tighten my belly back up, I like my body and feel like I've got a good figure overall.  It'll be a few more months until I'm there this round though - my lower abs are still pretty achy when I run and do my sit ups.  

 

Oh - I have spider veins on my legs that get worse with each pregnancy :(.  Not a huge deal, just annoying.  

 

AND... this has nothing to do with pregnancy, but I definitely have dark circles under my eyes from being such a sleep-deprived, busy mom - NEVER had those until I became a mother.  I actually bought makeup remover last week thinking that I wasn't getting all of my mascara off, but nope, turns out it's just fatigue - doesn't rub off.  

 

Last... sex still hurts a little bit! Darn it.  I tore very slightly, but I think it didn't heal perfectly... boo.  :(  It's not bad, but enough to make us proceed a little more carefully... I hope it's temporary! 

post #3 of 25

This is my biggest issue right now:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizbiz View Post

 

 

Last... sex still hurts a little bit! Darn it.  I tore very slightly, but I think it didn't heal perfectly... boo.  :(  It's not bad, but enough to make us proceed a little more carefully... I hope it's temporary! 

Yeah, this is me, although it hurts moderately (almost like being a virgin again, tmi maybe but I couldn't let dh go all the way in). Before we tried, I thought I felt fine and followed my doc's indications of nothing inside for 6 weeks, so I didn't even feel around in there. I went to my 6w appt but she didn't do an internal check, just cooed over the baby. We tried that night and it was pretty uncomfortable and I got myself worked up thinking I had a prolapse, so I went back the next day and requested an internal exam. She said it was probably the scar from my tear that was bothering me, since she said I definitely don't have any signs of any prolapse. 

 

 

Aside from that, I have a bit of a belly still, but am only walking, I haven't tried to run for very long or do any videos. I am back to about 3-5 lbs of my prepregnancy weight and most of my pants fit again. I was super lucky and didn't end up with any stretch marks, but the skin of my belly feels different (probably because I have no time to slather on all the moisturizer as I was all throughout the pregnancy).

 

Yeah, my boobs are pretty cool, and I also have cleavage for the 1st time! Speaking of which, someone's hungry...

post #4 of 25

 Lily, I had the pee problem after my first. Thankfully, I think it goes away. My midwives sort of just attribute that to all the pressure on the pelvic floor (obv.).

Bluck. I am a mess. I need to lose a good chunk of weight before I feel good again. But I am fluffly, and stretch marky, and I swear my hips got bigger again. As did my feet (GGGGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

 

But end of rant, because then I am reminded that I pushed out a big chunky baby and didn't bleed to death. That same body has spent the last 6 weeks keeping her alive, so I think it also rocks!!

 

(And, ohmagahd, the under eye circles are getting ridiculous)

post #5 of 25

I'm 6 weeks yesterday and my body is definitely different.  Luckily, I managed to avoid a lot of stretch marks, although I do have some very small vertical stretch marks over a horizontal scar across my lower abdomen (think a c-section type scar), which is below my bikini line, so not a big deal. My belly is definitely softer than it used to be, and kind of marshmallow-y feeling. I need to lose about 10 pounds, but I can fit into some of my old pants. I haven't started to exercise yet, but now that Q is 6 weeks, she is eligible for childcare at the Y (but I think I still might leave my mother there with her the first couple of times).  I'm going to go to the follow-up with the midwife, just to make sure I have the all clear.  I really haven't done much since Q was born, except for a few walks. With Brian gone all week, it is hard to get out and do anything, but I am definitely antsy.  I went for a walk with Quinn in the stroller yesterday and pushing her up a small hill had me feeling my glutes...it is sad the amount of my fitness level I lost.  

 

The boobs are bigger and I ordered some more sports bras online, and I ordered my old size, so they are kind of tight and uncomfortable, so now I need to order some in the next size up. whistling.gif

 

We haven't DTD since Q was born, especially since I had so much tearing and the stitches.

 

The worst for me is that I had labial tearing, and it split in two directions on the labia, so both sides sort of tore back along the folds, and down the middle.  One side and the center was stitched up and the other side they glued because when they did the first stitch in it, it wasn't properly numbed (wholly cow that wasn't fun, a stitch I could feel).  The glue ended up coming off, then it was glued again, and then the glue was removed, all by different practitioners. So the side that wasn't stitched now has a sort of divot in it...not sure that is an accurate description.  Anyways, it is a huge pain, because it can sometimes sort of redirect the urine flow, and it goes more forward.  Which when I was healing, was extremely painful, and now it is just sort of annoying.  I think in the first week, it ended up shooting my urine forward and under the toilet seat, and onto the floor.  bag.gif  It isn't so extreme now, but still frustrating that the landscape is permanently altered.  The last lady I saw said if it really bothered me in the future I could have reconstructive surgery....but we'll just see how it goes.  It doesn't seem like it is going to cause any future problems, just sort of a bummer.

post #6 of 25

I'm so glad you started this thread, LilyTiger - I love the combination of discussing both how our bodies are doing, as well as how awesome they are for creating and sustaining a whole new human!

 

I'm back to my old weight and can fit into my old clothes, but I'm super squishy.  I was pretty good about exercising throughout my pregnancy, until week 35 when the whole pre-eclampsia thing hit and I went on bed rest.  So, all my muscle tone and physical endurance took a serious hit.  I'm 6 weeks tomorrow, and have been walking pretty consistently - now that I've had my PP check-up, I'm heading back to the gym and starting to run again.  I think that will make me feel so much better.

 

The only permanent change I've noticed from pregnancy is stretch marks.  They're little diagonal stripes on either side of my belly button, maybe 3 or 4 on each side.  I hated them at first, but am now starting to find them kind of cute.  A badge, like you guys have said.  I feel proud of them, and of everything my body did.

 

I'm going to start doing C25K this week to get back into running - my plan is to run the Oakland Half-Marathon at the end of March.  6 months to train!

post #7 of 25

I don't have any issues down there since I had a c-section.  My stomach is all deflated and squishy, though.  I have the classic abdominal surgery "pooch."  I don't know if that goes away even if you lose enough weight.  I always get a goodly amount of stretch marks, too.

 

I'm about four pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, which is still more than my first pre-pregnancy weight, which is still way too high. 

post #8 of 25

Great thread start LilyTiger!

 

7 wks pp here....I've got the c-section "pooch" too, or what I refer to as my "double muffin top". Although every morning I notice some visible shrinkage of my abdomen, I still look preggo (at this rate I look forward to having just a "pot belly" by next month, haha). I've got stretch marks too, and the skin itself is sore..... I try to knead the area using the Palmers belly lotion that I still have left. I'm finally getting my belly button back, yay!

 

My biggest complaint is that all the stiffness/soreness I had during pregnancy has not disappeared like I expected, but instead has been replaced w/new pains. My back, legs and neck are still killing, but for new reasons (like babywearing 12+ hrs a day or nursing sidelying through the whole night). My knees still hurt climbing stairs, and I'm convinced that I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome from positioning this little 11 pounder in nursing positions all day. So, I'm really excited to get back into yoga to stretch all these aches out... it's just a matter of getting enough time to do it yet...

 

But all in all, I feel that I've been pretty forgiving and patient w/myself, blaming the remaining "squishiness" on the c-section - which has taken an epic long time to recover from. And hey, I'm almost 40... so yeah, maybe things will take a little longer to bounce back. I'm amazed at how well I continue to function after pulling all nighters for 7 weeks straight - I guess being such a late nighter/party animal (in a former life, lol) is paying off.... ;-P

 

Oh, and very fortunate news.... last night we finally DTD (the delay totally due to not being to detach baby for long enough until now; since I had a section I'm pretty intact down there) - and yikes it was crazy better than I ever expected! I'm guessing that my pregnancy (and perhaps even the labor) moved some things around in a good way?!

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewMumJoy View Post

My biggest complaint is that all the stiffness/soreness I had during pregnancy has not disappeared like I expected, but instead has been replaced w/new pains. My back, legs and neck are still killing, but for new reasons (like babywearing 12+ hrs a day or nursing sidelying through the whole night). My knees still hurt climbing stairs, and I'm convinced that I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome from positioning this little 11 pounder in nursing positions all day. So, I'm really excited to get back into yoga to stretch all these aches out... it's just a matter of getting enough time to do it yet...

 

 

YES.  My knees get so stiff when I'm just sitting on the couch, and my back and neck hurt from sidelining nursing while trying to look down at the baby...everything aches!

post #10 of 25

Did anyone else have back labor? I still feel that same pain/stiffness in the exact same place when I'm achey!

post #11 of 25

The back pain now, its crazy!I don't know if its from wearing him? I seem to be on a bit of a two day delay when it comes to that. But sometimes I swear I can't even hold myself up! Directly before and after he was born, my back hurt soooo bad. I didn't even want to move.

post #12 of 25

I haven't been wearing M in the carriers around the house, since it had been too hot, but he does lounge around on the My brest friend for substantial portions of the day. I admit to lugging him around the house on it if he's nursing and I need something from another room, etc. This isn't going to be possible forever, though, since he's nearing 11 lbs, but I guess bf will be less of a full time job in the future. I attribute my lower back pain to this. Also, the weirdest thing, periodically I get rib cage pain. I don't know if it has to do with my body moving back to position or what.  

 

Dh and I dtd last night and it was much better than last week. Still not totally perfect, but getting there. Knowing where my scars are from the tear helped a lot for me to understand what I was feeling and try to position ourselves better.

post #13 of 25
Andaluza, I get the rib cage pain too. I attribute it to rounding my shoulders unknowingly, when I'm bfing. When I stretch everything out it feels much better. Our bodies are getting used to being in the same few positions, I guess..gotta break the mold! Lol..I'm going back to the gym this week. Just for the elliptical, it's been a long time, friend. I know it's gonna kick my butt even though I wont be working out crazily..Gilly isn't even 6 weeks yet.
post #14 of 25

For those of you with back pain, have you been adjusted by a chiropractor since giving birth? Your back is probably completely out of alignment, which will make carrying your babe seem much worse. I haven't been adjusted yet, but I'm thinking about scheduling an appointment soon!

post #15 of 25

Can't say that, other than growing a now 12 lb, 2-foot-long baby, I can think of many positives to my body right now. Although I am enjoying having ankles again. Ankles are useful! I should probably give my body more credit, though. I feel better, in general, than I have since before I was pregnant. More energy, greater range of motion. I've dropped over 30 lbs since the baby was born (about 7 weeks ago). I think part of my frustration stems from being 20 lbs overweight when I conceived, so even having dropped about 75% of my pregnancy weight, I'm still about 30 lbs overweight.

 

I've also had ongoing incontinence problems. It was really bad the first couple of weeks after delivery, probably a combination of week muscles and waiting too long to go because I was taking care of the baby. But I peed myself a little last night when I sneezed. irked.gif I am doing Kegels intermittently, but I haven't gotten religious with them yet. I suppose I should. They're a lot harder to do now than pre-delivery!

 

Unlike all of you ladies who are pleased with your new-found cleavage, I had plenty beforehand, so that's not a plus for me. I guess I am grateful that they didn't get as big as I thought they might. dh loves it, though. And he gets turned on by me breastfeeding, which I find very weird, and maybe a little disturbing.

 

Baby fussing, maybe back with more later!

post #16 of 25

All I have to say about boobs is, 44H. Sigh. Sometimes I wish they were half size...

post #17 of 25

You'd think after losing at least 12lb of pure baby I'd have lost much more weight by now! :-( I think I'm only 20lb down. Didn't the placenta weigh ANYTHING?!?! None of my "normal" clothes (and even some early maternity ones) fit by a far shot. DH joked about having another baby soon, and all I could think of was "what a great idea, then most of this stomach would disappear!"

 

I think I'd better consider dieting or excercise in a serious way, because I am NOT bouncing back in that sense!

post #18 of 25

Just want to pipe in with words of encouragement here - what you look like now is NOT what you will look like six months or a year from now.  Bodies take time to heal.  Our bodies were pregnant and stretched (in many ways!) for 9 months - I know I am amazed at my body's resiliency and elasticity - you will recover, that belly will shrink substantially - your hips will get smaller again.  Some things will change for good (my tummy will never be as tight as it was when I was 20) - but mostly - I think you'll find that your body has a great ability to bounce back.  Be gentle with yourself and give it time and try to love yourself through this post-partum period.  It's just a season - and it will pass.   

 

Something that's helped me - I just went to Salvation Army and bought a boatload of cheap clothes that I like and that fit me right now.  They are 2 sizes above my normal size - but when I open my closet - I have options other than yoga pants or maternity pants :).  This helps a lot.  I'm still motivated to get back to my normal weight, but at least my current body isn't depressing me just because I don't have anything flattering to wear.  

 

Oh and yes, the aches and pains of motherhood - my back and neck are always aching and tight and I do not prioritize stretching or yoga or anything like that - probably should.  

post #19 of 25

I have been wearing yoga pants since the birth.shy.gif  Wait, I think one time I wore jeans for a few hours.  Maybe twice.  

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizbiz View Post

Something that's helped me - I just went to Salvation Army and bought a boatload of cheap clothes that I like and that fit me right now.  They are 2 sizes above my normal size - but when I open my closet - I have options other than yoga pants or maternity pants :).  This helps a lot.  I'm still motivated to get back to my normal weight, but at least my current body isn't depressing me just because I don't have anything flattering to wear.  

 

This is a REALLY good idea.  It feels counterproductive to spend money on a size you don't want to encourage, but having clothes that fit & flatter make a world of difference.

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