Last weekend, I cleaned out my closet. I am a person who definitely revels in getting rid of things, and at the end of a purge like that one, there is usually a nice empty spot left over. Not this time. At 13 months postpartum, I have two wardrobes now – one for me and one for my body. Shoved into the corners are all those clothes that I used to wear. All my faves that are associated with fun, old-timey memories when I was cute and young and didn’t mind hand washing or dry cleaning. Front and center are the stretched out, dumpy, neutral-toned things I bought just to cover myself while I lost the baby weight.
After my first baby, I didn’t even need this in between wardrobe – I pretty much wore sweatpants and leggings until it was time to go back to work. Despite my complete aversion to any diet or exercise plan, that first day back on the job, I magically slid into my old pants like nothing had ever happened. Things weren’t in the same place they had always been, but with my same old clothes on, no one would have really known that.
Second baby, it was so much harder. Second baby, everything has been So. Much. Harder. The pregnancy, while completely free from complication, exhausted me. I gained a lot more weight and put myself in a much harder place after giving birth. This time, as if things weren’t already hard ENOUGH, the weight has clung on for dear life – like play-doh into carpet. I’ve given it a half-hearted effort. I’ve counted calories, food journaled, and meal planned – some of the time. I’m a person who tries to be realistic about things, like I’m not going to go on some super restrictive diet that I know I won’t be able to maintain for long. The result is that I’m far from my goal. Enter second wardrobe.
Here’s the thing: I’m totally on the body positivity bandwagon. I know beautiful, exceptional women of every size and shape, and somewhere inside of me, I know that I belong in that category too. It’s not even that I don’t think I look good. I am just having trouble coming to terms with whether this body is “me” or not.
I’m in body limbo right now – unsure if I just need to accept and love myself as I am, invest in a NICE new wardrobe that I feel good about, stop putting constant pressure on myself to lose weight. But then I think maybe that would be giving up too easily. I’m having a hard time determining when enough is enough. How much to torture myself over not being the size I would like to be. How much dieting and self-criticism to put myself through.
Please understand that this is all rhetorical; I know what the answer is to all of this. Of course this is me. I am “me” no matter what the label on my dress says. I should focus on what is important – my health, and the health of my family. If that means losing weight, great. If not, I will just need to appreciate myself the way I am. And yes, it is possible to love and accept myself and still try to change or improve certain aspects of myself.
But you guys – this doesn’t solve my second wardrobe problem! How have other mamas out there dealt with losing – or not losing – the baby weight?