First Month of Postpartum Recovery
I went back and forth about sharing my recovery postpartum, but after getting a lot of questions from women about it I thought I would share my experience. It's important to note that every body, pregnancy and recovery is different. Please don't use my recovery as a bench mark, but take from it what you can to help you along your own journey. My goal is to encourage other women in their postpartum recovery and not to have anyone compare themselves to mine. Your goal in recovery should be getting back to your normal, whatever that may be. That includes both physically and mentally. Don't just focus on how you look but also how you feel, because being healthy is a lifestyle not a number on a scale. Below are a few key areas that changed for me during pregnancy and how I've been getting back to my normal.
I didn't experience any postpartum depression or anything like that after Everly was born, but I did experience a bit of it this time around. My parents were here the first week of Everly's life so I was able to shower and get out of the house every day to do something. I got a lot of comments about how people couldn't believe how much I was doing, but for me it was necessary. I didn't even realize how necessary though until my parents left. The day after they left I just took it easy and didn't leave the house, and Jason had a game that night so he was gone most of the day. I was alone with the girls for the first time and it was draining. In the evening Rosie needed me and Everly was getting sad that I couldn't play with her and I just started crying. I didn't even really know why, I hadn't felt sad at all during the day. I just felt overwhelmed and alone and didn't know how I would ever be able to handle two girls away from home and with no family to help, especially when Jason would be on the road. It was such a weird feeling and I just texted Jay and told him I couldn't wait until he got home. It really made me appreciate him so much more and realized I would really have to rely on him and not try and do everything on my own (something I struggle with). When he got home I talked to him about it and we came to the conclusion that I broke down because I didn't leave the house that day, so I felt lazy and Everly didn't get a change of scenery which made her irritable. Since then I have made it a point to get out of the house every day, and I have felt way better! Getting up and getting ready and still being me was necessary for my mental health and has made this past month so much better. Obviously everyone is different and you may be someone who needs to stay home and just relax to stay sane. The key is finding out what gives you energy and life and making sure you still make time for that.
I got a lot of comments about my one and two week postpartum pictures about how quickly my bump went away. This is partly genetic but also due to the fact that I ate healthy and worked out during my pregnancy (and before). I naturally have a flatter stomach and carry my weight in my butt and legs, so it wasn't surprising that stomach went down quickly. My butt and legs on the other hand hold onto weight and cellulite for quite awhile postpartum. Sometimes I look at other women's legs after they had a baby and I'm like they're so lucky they bounced back so quick, but maybe that's not where they carry their weight. The key is to know your body and know what's your normal so that you can have a healthy perspective on recovering. Your beauty and worth doesn't come from your weight or your clothing size but how you love and take care of yourself. The thing I was happiest about postpartum is that I could carry and play with Everly still and go sightseeing with my parents while they were visiting, not that I could fit back into my jeans. I also used the Bellefit girdle a few times when my back still felt pinched. If your'e interested in a Bellefit Girdle use code "stacey20" for $20 off! I really liked the support it gave me and it made my stomach feel held in and helped me not use those muscles to prevent separation. Below are pictures at 2 days, 5 days, 7 days,14 days and 27 days postpartum as well as the first day I wore the Bellefit girdle.
I was lucky enough to get out the house a lot the first week when my parents were here because it was still warm out plus we had their help. This helped a lot in that first week of recovery, both mentally and physically. After that week though I've found it harder to recover this pregnancy than my first pregnancy because I haven't been able to get outside and go for walks as much. It's been way too cold outside, plus it's a lot of work to get two kiddos bundled up now and we live on the third floor of our apartment (no elevators). Having a baby in winter is so different! I feel like I'm doing a lot of sitting around now and it's showing in my body. I'm okay with it though because it's the result of my body adjusting to breastfeeding, not working out yet and eating a lot. It's been hard to get into a normal routine with all of our visitors, then the holidays and Jason being on the road, but once everything settles back down I'll hopefully find a good routine.
I never focus on my weight and I don't encourage anyone to obsess over the number on the scale, but it is a good gauge to getting back to where you were pre-pregnancy. I don't own a scale but at my 2.5 week check-up I was still 9 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I weighed 162 before giving birth and weighed in at 144. I have also lost a lot of muscle mass from not being able to work out, so it's probably even more than 9 lbs because muscle weighs more than fat. It's actually easy for my body to shed that initial weight, but it's hard to get the last few pounds off and keep it off. Once I start breastfeeding I am always hungry and just want to eat all the time and I feel like my body holds on to extra fat. I definitely don't go on any kind of diet in the first few weeks because my main priority is keeping my milk supply up and Rosie fed. I'd say her double chin is confirming I'm doing a good job of that!
The first month postpartum I don't worry about calories or follow any sort of diet plan because my main concern is getting my milk supply up. My main food group right now is oatmeal because it's a great way to increase milk supply. I also gave into a lot of unhealthy foods and cravings the first few weeks and wasn't too strict with myself. There's enough new things to adjust to that I needed to still let myself indulge a bit! I've been asked if I follow a specific way of eating (ie/ paleo), and I do not. I don't believe diets are effective long term and I don't feel the need to cut out any food groups entirely. I do limit dairy as my body doesn't digest it well (makes me gassy and bloated), but other than that I just stick to real whole foods. I usually have a big bowl of steel cut oats in the morning that's made with coconut milk (will share the recipe soon), a huge salad with chicken or ground beef for lunch and then dinner is some mix of protein, veggies and a carb. I am also constantly snacking on nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruit, fresh fruit, chia pudding, energy bites, organic tortilla chips and hummus throughout the day. You can find a lot of my healthy snack recipes in my kitchen tab! Oh and I do limit broccoli, garlic, spicy foods and dairy while I'm breastfeeding because I find they affect Rosie.
I got back to the gym for the first time yesterday and it felt so good! I felt exhausted and weak but it was so good to ease back into things. I won't be leaving Rosie in the gym daycare so now I have to make sure Jason is home for me to be able to workout, which means it may not happen as often. My doctor cleared me for working out at 2.5 weeks which seemed pretty early, but I felt good and he said to just listen to my body. I will definitely be avoiding abs for the foreseeable future and when I do start back at it I will slowly ease into it. The key will be listening to my body and seeing what it's ready for. I obviously want to get back into the gym to feel good about myself physically, but also for my mental health. Working out is such an outlet for me and keeps me sane. I think it's so important to take that "me" time so that I can be the best, most loving and most patient mom and wife I can be. I'll be sharing my workouts on my Insta stories once I get back into the gym, so be sure to follow along if you're interested!
Overall recovery has been great and I am settling into life with two kids and it's feeling way easier and less overwhelming than the first few weeks. I'll be sharing a post soon on adjusting to life with 2 under 2 and some tips and tricks to staying sane. If you have any other questions about my postpartum recovery feel free to send me a message, I would love to share more about it!