5

Here is my excuse, Maria Kang.

There was a mom on the news that started an uproar last week after posting a picture of her and her three kids and her amazing post-preggo body with the caption, “Whats your excuse?”

I know it is hard to believe, and I appreciate when people seemed shocked when I tell them, but at my last doctor’s visit, I discovered that I weighed the same three months after having Turner, as I did when I was nine months pregnant.

I started losing weight after Turner when I was breastfeeding, but when I stopped doing that, I quickly regained the weight. I could see it in pictures, mostly in my face. Not to mention, none of my old clothes even came close to fitting.

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 Well here is my excuse. First off, that woman’s job was in physical fitness. Of course she could bounce back. That is like me asking why other people cannot write an entire newspaper or properly use AP style. Second, I work full time. I am in the office three days a week, with meetings and events sometimes seven days a week. After working some 15 hour days, and being away from my son all day long. I would rather be a whale than spend an extra hour away from Turner. Heck, after working a normal eight hour day, I would rather be a whale than spend an extra hour away from Turner, especially right now in his life when he is developing and changing so rapidly.

And on top of that, the woman has a nonprofit dedicated to fitness, that is what she does. Its an empire for her, a business. And her website is all about her weight struggles, its full of excuses and reasoning.

She is self-employed and can have more flexible hours, the rest of the world cannot.

 But I was not offended by her picture, or even cared much. I was annoyed with the press it got. Good for her. In my opinion, she doesn’t represent the majority of the working mother population and because she is vastly different than me, I didn’t compare myself to her.

She works out for a living, I work hard to avoid exercise. I am a one trip from the car to the house after the grocery store kind of girl. I take the elevator whenever possible, the type of person that annoys others by riding to the second floor rather than taking the stairs. 

Most of my life I was 5 foot 2 and 120 pounds. Even before getting pregnant, getting older was starting to take a toll on my body and my fast food three times a day with bags of chips for snacks in between diet, was starting to be visible. So for me, losing this pregnancy weight is a 360 lifestyle change. It doesn’t have anything to do with getting the pregnancy weight off. My body is different. My time and schedule is different, lots of things have to be adjusted to make it all fit now, including the way I eat.

 So about three weeks ago I started dieting. Well not really dieting, because I do not have the will power to stick to any specific diet, but I did download an app that Andrew had been using, My Fitness Pal. The app let me put in my weight loss expectation, which I put as one pound a week, and the exercise I typically do, which is basically non existent, and then generated the number of calories I needed to eat each day in order to lose one pound a week.

According to the app, I can have a whopping 1,280 calories a day. I don’t know if you know much about calories, but that is basically nothing. A candy bar has around 250, just to give you an idea. I decided to go this method to lose the baby weight instead of a diet because with my job, I have no set schedule to be home to eat and have day meetings that mess up lunch, so sticking to something specific basically sets me up to fail. So instead, I use the app. Which already had millions of food choices programed in the app with their caloric value. So even if I eat at a fast food restaurant, I can type in options to check their calories to help decide what to order.

I think it, at least for me, it is a way better strategy than dieting. On days I have time to exercise, which ends up being a couple times a week, even if its just for a light walk with Turner, I get extra calories for the day, and can eat more.

 I take Andrew’s advice, and instead of trying to “win the day” by staying under 1,280 calories, I try to “win the week,” which would still let me lose the weight. That way, if I indulge one day, I just eat better the next or exercise and it evens out. Last week I finished with 1,395 calories to spare!

The first week was a real mother though. Training my body to eat less calories was about as tough as labor. I was starving and found myself eating more than normal just because I was more aware of when and what I was eating. Last week was a bit easier, and so far today, after eating a Subway breakfast sandwich and vegetables for lunch, I am pretty full right now. Subway, by the way, is a life savor. Not only is it walking distance from my office, a breakfast sandwich is under 350 calories and a lunch sub isn’t much more. No wonder Jared lost all that weight!

Andrew, who has been doing the same thing, has lost his desired two pounds a week each week. I am not weighing myself at the fear or being discouraged, but instead, just want to be able to wear my old jeans and take a picture without looking like I am still nine months preggo in my face. (which as of Sunday, is not even close to happening).

 Last night I wanted to snack. Usually I would read for the 10 plus flavors of chips in the cabinet, but instead, I sautéed some vegetables in vinegar with lemon pepper season. Then this morning, instead of reaching for the delicious looking raspberry filled pastries on the table at work, I walked down to Subway for an egg white and vegetable sandwich.

 It is still a real mother. I would kill for a Zaxby’s chicken tender plate with fries covered in extra season salt and extra thing of Zax Sauce… and plan to have just that later this week. But in the meantime, I have to earn and save up the calories to be able to do so.

It is not just about not looking ginormous in photos, but I want to be healthier for Turner. I can hardly lift him now, when he starts walking, I do not stand a chance. Its embarrassing, but I cannot even do five pushups. When I was younger I was super athletic, now I found myself having to do regular pushups then going on my knees just to finish simple set of 10.

So although I think Maria Kang and her “What’s your excuse” photo does not apply to me because our lifestyles couldn’t be any less similar, that doesn’t mean when I get to where she is and when I look even a little better than I do now, I’ll slap an “after” pregnancy picture on Facebook to brag too. Regardless of how you do it, how you were before, or anything else… this is hard work!

Check out my Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adventuring-into-Motherhood-Blog/621560274545609?ref=hl

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4

My own little secret

I debated about writing this, only because the pictures that are used are a little embarrassing, but I think its something great for new moms and women alike. While I am fighting with my body’s change since pregnancy, I have found that my clothes do not feel the same.

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In my early blog (https://adventuringintomotherhood.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/the-welcomed-mutilation-of-my-body-throughout-pregnancy/), I wrote about my problems in dealing with this, and well my feelings have not changed much. But, for $15 from walmart, I have found something that sure does make me feel a little bit better wearing my clothes. 

Click here to see shirt: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sweet-Nothings-Get-the-Skinny-Firm-Control-Lace-Trim-Shapewear-Cami-Style-83666/14004119?action=product_interest&action_type=title&placement_id=irs_top&strategy=PWVAV&visitor_id=35512552701&category=0%3A5438%3A1078024%3A1078030&client_guid=19fcf482-9f32-497d-8384-1ba782a9ab42&customer_id_enc=1a9ab29423482d6ef64f1c42e8f96a86&config_id=2&parent_item_id=14528524&guid=df6298a8-ec18-4c99-952f-7c9ffcf0a743&bucket_id=000&findingMethod=p13n

 I’m at an awkward size and shape where some of my old clothes fit, even if they fit a little different, and I am still fighting to lose the last of the baby weight, and for my skin to stretch back to pre-baby position.

The Shape shapper I found at Walmart sucks in and tightens my body. It makes me feel better about how I look in my clothes. It is not as restrictive as spanx, and certainly doesn’t cost as much but offers a visible difference.

More than anything else, the little tank top just smooths out everything. I have noticed that where some bulges and roles would normal be, at the top of my pants or around my bra straps, the undershirt eliminates those and makes my midsection look more smooth.

The shirt also makes by boobs not look so out of wack. Still trying to find a permeant shape and place after breastfeed, somedays they poke out of my bra like I’m smuggling watermelons, and other days they sit a little lower than I would like. Well this undershirt fixes that and make them look like natural parts of my body, not the tumors pregnancy has made them.

The one down fall I have found is that the shirt rides up some, which gets annoying, and until you get used to it, its a little suffocating. But hey, you cannot put a price on beauty!

Check out my blog’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/adventuringintomotherhood

6

The welcomed mutilation of my body throughout pregnancy

I have been struggling with the mess of a body that was left behind after I had Turner. While I appreciate everyone who tells me I look great and that I was all baby and am now back to normal…. they are very wrong.

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On average, I weigh about 125 pounds. With Turner, I got up to 164 pounds. When I was pregnant, the weight was all in my belly. At first, I thought that was a good thing. You even couldn’t tell I was pregnant until I was about seven months. I just woke up one day, and BAM, I had a huge belly. Because I have always had a relatively small frame, 5 foot 2 inches, 125 pounds, when Turner decided to finally grow, and all at once, my body could barely handle it. That is when the stretch makes started. I didn’t have any crazy cravings or increase in appetite, so I didn’t really put on much weight at all until my belly started to stretch just for Turner to have more room.

The rapid growth all at once basically ripped the skin from my body. At one point, I didn’t think that I would have to give birth to Turner because I thought my skin would just give way and he would plop right out! Don’t worry, I am going to spare you a picture of the devastation left behind, but I would compare the destruction to that of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In all seriousness, because I stayed “skinny” until about seven months, when I started to expand,  the stretch marks formed from above my belly button to below my knees. Sexy right? They are still in that stage right now where I would rather die than have anyone see them, even Andrew. Its just not cute. I was all cocky through the majority of my pregnancy because I was little and cute and didn’t have any stretch marks, then one day…. my body just gave up and gave out!

And stretch marks hurt. Like, they feel like 100 tiny bruises. When I am holding Turner and he kicks and hits my stretch marks around my belly button, I contemplate throwing him or removing his legs (totally kidding here) but it stings like a bee, really. Turner will be three months on Friday, and I am still dealing with all of this extra fun.

I have decided that with my next child, or if anyone ever asks my advice, I would say to get fat first. Because while it may not be true, my theory is that if you are a little heavier when you are pregnant, your skin is not strained as much and stretch marks won’t be so bad.

I know they say stretch marks are hereditary and you either get them or you don’t. Well, neither my mom nor my little sister got them and here I am a walking lightening bolt-esque billboard for stretch marks. I tried all the creams and oils, I mean I spared no expense, both during pregnancy and after, and if this result is what happens when you try all of those products, heaven help what I would look like without it!

So not just stretch marks, but extra skin that is just not fun for anyone. I know they say it takes nine months for your body to change for your baby, give yourself nine months for it to change back…. Well, its been three and its not looking too good so far…. literally. I have lost 15 pounds. So I look ok…..on the outside. I still have 30 pounds to lose. THIRTY! That is more than a small child. I mean, realistically, I will take anything from 20-25 and be happy, but geeze, how is that supposed to happen? When I am working full-time, or taking care of Turner when I am not at the office? It seems impossible. And I have this awful fear that if I do not do something about it now, my body will accept the extra flab and just take it in as if its normal, and well, ain’t  nobody got time for that. I want the extra skin on my stomach to go away and I want to go back to normal!

And then there are my boobs. I have written about the destruction breastfeeding has had before, but now that I am no longer breastfeeding, I had hoped some sort of relief would come and maybe they would tighten back up a little, well that was wishful thinking. Even without milk, they are bigger than they were before I was pregnant and even bigger than they were at their largest point during my pregnancy. And not a good big either. For my stature, I have always had unproportionally large boobs. But now, they could not be less attractive. Too big for my body, and just loose and gross. Luckily, while the entire bottom half of my body is now scarred with stretch marks, my boobs were relatively spared and do not bare the daunting marks of pregnancy. I have told Andrew I wanted a boob job in the near future, in hopes of gaining back some sort of confidence and in attempt to not be so depressed about what pregnancy has left behind, but if we decide (and if we are able to) have another child, a boob job would just be silly so I must wait. It may be years, but mark my words, one day, I will return the girls to their perky, solid, upright position.

So my C-section scar. A lot of people are against C-sections because of the scar it can leave behind… after 36 hours of labor and three epidurals, you could have cut me open like a thanksgiving turkey and I would have not cared. The last thing I was worried about was a scar, and surprisingly enough, the C-section scar is hardly noticeable. It would not show in a bikini (not like I will EVER wear one of those again). It is very small. Other than the fact that the doctor couldn’t cut a straight line so it looks like a back mountain road, I have no complaints about the appearance.

But like the doctor told me would probably happen, I have no feeling about two inches above and below the scar. The feeling is likely to never return. Its not just a no feeling at all situation. You know when your arm falls asleep and you cannot feel the outside but like the insides tingle? Well that is what it feels like constantly. Its super weird. But if that is the price I had to pay to get my sweet little prince outta me, then I would do it again 100 times.

It is not all bad though. Before Turner, I did not know what hips were. I mean, I had no trace whatsoever of any sort of curve in my mid-section. And while right now there is some extra weight around the edges in that area, if I can lose a few pounds, I think my newly formed hips could be fun. I kind of have a chunky hour glass look going, just needs a little polish thats all.

So while I am dealing with all of these body woes and the mild depression that comes every time I look in a mirror (something I have been avoiding as of late) of course it is all worth it. Shopping is the last thing I want to do, and the ONLY thing Ruby (my sister who scans my blog for her name) wants to do weekend after weekend. I still wear my maternity jeans. They are loose and don’t quite fit like they should, but the elastic band on top provides a more atheistically pleasing look than the size 4 jeans (not only do I refuse to go to a bigger size, I was a 1 before Turner, but any bigger in size and since I am so short I would have to get the pants hemmed, which is just another task motherhood prevents me from having time for). Until my size 4 jeans stop creating a muffin top, I am going to stick to maternity jeans. Those things cost an arm and leg anyway, might as well get my use out of them!

So I may never wear a bikini, or feel confident enough to let Andrew see me change, or anything else for that matter, so what. I have a beautiful, remarkable, absolutely perfect little boy to show for it.

1

Our little growing man

Today we took Turner in for his two month check up. He is actually 10 weeks and one day. He did wonderful. I had heard horror stories about the dreaded two month check up and how awful the shots are for babies, but Turner took them like a champ!

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 When the nurse gave him the shots he got a deer in headlights look and cried while she stuck him, but then once I picked him up and bounced him for less than a minute, he was golden. Stopped crying and has been fine every since. 

His weight and height are great. He is 23 inches, 4 inches longer than when he was born and now weighs 12 lbs 14 ounces, a 4 lbs gain since his last appointment. So we have a very happy growing little boy. 

As a fellow parent, our doctor did warn us about Turner’s sleeping behavior, or the lack thereof really. So he suggested that from now on, whenever we put Turner down to sleep, we only put him in the bassinet and we just let him cry. I am sure this will be easier said than done because since day one Turner has had an extremely impressive noise making ability and produces an ear piercing scream when he wants his way. I hate hearing him cry and hardly let him. I do whatever it takes to get him to stop. So starting tonight, we will put Turner down in his bassinet and let him cry. He said we can go check in on him at 5 minutes and soothe him, but not pick him up. Then again at 7 minutes, but not pick him up.. and keep doing this until he falls asleep. I am not looking forward to it, but I would really like to be able to sleep in the same room/bed as Andrew again. So we will see how that goes… I am not too optimistic. 

 I think our days of just breast milk are over as well. In the last two days, my milk production has drastically declined. I can hardly pump one bottle every 5 hours. He eats double that. So we have torn through the reserve. As much as I want to breast feed, I just do not have a choice anymore. Luckily, the doc says he is growing wonderfully so if we were to shift to formula now, it would be just fine. I just hate it and feel like I am not doing my job as a parents. Andrew and I plan to go away next weekend overnight for Andrew’s birthday, which means Turner will stay with his grandma… and I just do not have enough milk to give her to last that length of time. I do feel a little better knowing that the doctor said it would be just fine. 

I do not normally post on Friday’s so this is a shorter post. I am just waiting at the office until Andrew gets off work because we are going to dinner and a concert at the local theater to see Clint Black tonight. Turner is looking forward to spending his first alone time with his Aunt Alicia, lets just hope he behaves himself! 

1

Work has kept me busy

I am a newspaper reporter and today is our deadline day so I have been extremely busy and will not have time to post. Where I live, there is no internet or phone service, (hard to believe we can send a man to the moon but I can’t use the internet at home) so I have to post it while at the office in town. Instead of a post, I thought I would show you all the work themed newborn announcement photo that I used. The picture was taken by my sister Ruby, the photographer who doesn’t read my blog. I admit, she is talented! Image

3

Top 5 things I have learned so far

Now that I have been a mother for two whole months… and carried Turner for nine… I think I am experienced enough to list the top 5 things I have learned so far. I have had time to try out things and through trial and error think I know a thing or two about this motherhood business.

1) Do not take advice from anyone.

Now, I understand the irony in that statement considering it sounds like advice.. but it is something that I have learned. From the moment people learned you were pregnant, I am sure you started getting advice on everything from Huggies or Pampers, paci or no paci, sports or ballet, paper or plastic… literally EVERYTHING. Everyone has an opinion on the best way to do things. When you hear these things just smile, nod your head and say thank you…. then let it go in one ear and right out the other.

I understand the sentiment. They are just trying to help, but either the advice is useless or you will drive yourself mad trying to remember it all and make sure you follow it just right. It is not worth it. Not to mention, that what works for someone else’s child probably won’t work the same for you because all children are so different. I can not tell you the right way or the wrong way to do anything, all I can do is tell you how I did something and whether or not it worked.

Don’t drive yourself crazy seeking advice online either. I googled everything. Pros and cons of a pacifier, formula tips, sleeping habits, milestone information, and really it just gave me unneeded stress and nervousness. Just trust yourself that as as soon as that baby gets here, you will know what to do, and what is best for YOUR child. Its that motherly instinct. Within hours of meeting your new little friend, you will instantly believe that you know best for your child and get annoyed when even your own mother tries to help. Its your child, you know them better than anyone.

2) Regardless of how nervous you get during pregnancy, the second you hold that baby, it all goes away.

I was freaked out when I was pregnant. What if I didn’t love my baby, what if the crying was too much, what if I thought he wasn’t cute? What if I don’t feel a connection, what if I do not know what to do? But it was no sooner than the doctors sliced him outta me and I heard him cry that every angst and doubt I had the previous nine months went straight out the window. I did not even need to see him or touch him to feel relieved. Just the sound of his cry, and I knew he was perfect and that I was more than capable to be everything he needed.

I was no longer worried or nervous or unsure. It was crazy how quick everything changed with the sound of that first cry. It was not until that very moment did I feel like a mother, but that feeling is the most incredible calming experience I have ever had. So I assure you, that whatever you are feeling during your pregnancy… just wait, because before you know it, without you even realizing it, that will all be over and you will be on your own remarkable adventure into motherhood.

3) Take really good notes at your baby showers.

At every baby shower, there is someone taking shorthand notes about who gave you what so you are able to send out thank you notes. But you should try to be more attentive than just the minimum needed for a thank you card. A lot of what your baby will use in the early stages of his/her life are from other people, at least that is the case for me. From bottles, to pacifiers, to creams, to wash cloths, they were all gifts. And smaller items like that don’t come with a gift receipt so you have no idea where they came from.

Well since Turner, there has been two instances where I wish I would have known who got us something. The first were the newborn bottles, Tomee Tippee I think. Turner loves them. They are “close to nature” and are very similar to my actual breast. So they are easy for him to use and he likes them. Well, We got a two pack and decided we needed more, but because they were gifts and were not at our local Walmart… we had NO idea where to get them from. We don’t have a Babies R Us or Target or anything other than a Walmart within an hours drive from us, so before we went on a scavenger hunt, it would have been nice to know where they came from. I got lucky and while shopping outside of Atlanta with my mom and Ruby (you know, the one who would rather watch paint dry than read my blog) found a gift set pack of the bottles at Ross. Ross is similar to a Target, and even with the discounted price the bottles were still $16. If I knew who gave them to me, I would send an extra thank you note just because those suckers are not cheap!

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The next, and probably most crucial gift was specific pacifier, it has a special texture on the nipple. We received a two pack of the pacifiers. Originally we had planned to not give Turner a pacifier. I had of course took advice from other people and googled it, and even listen to the doctors suggestions…. that lasted half a day after he got here (prime example of why you should not take advice and instead figure it out on your own). So the pacifier we had to give Turner was one we got at one of our showers. No idea who got it for us or where it came from, but it was a lifesaver. We started with two pacifiers, and soon lost one. So we opened up some other type that we had that were age appropriate and Turner refused to take it. He would spit it right out. So for over a month we clung to this one pacifier and threatened anyone who held him not to lose it. It was our lifeline! We searched our Walmart and couldn’t find it, and without any sort of branding on the pacifier, could not even google to order them online. Finally Andrew’s grandma found them at Target so now we know where to get them regularly. We also found them at a specialty store  on the side of the highway called Baby Depot. It was an off brand, non-chain store similar to Target somewhere up North.

Both times we lucked out, but not without headache. So I learned that next time… I will be more specific in my note taking in case I need to know where something came from in order to get more!

4) It doesn’t matter how important or popular you think you used to be, your baby now out shines you.

This works two ways.

1) Since having a child, Andrew and I have had more people come to visit us than fathomable. Do not get me wrong, I am elated that so many friends and family want to be in Turner’s life. I could not be more grateful for all of them. But I had family members that generally I do not see other than the annual obligatory Christmas get-together either come visit or call to wish congratulations. So even though I think pretty highly of myself and consider myself the bees knees (joking a little bit here) the second Turner was born, he became more popular.

This sounds terrible and I do not want my family and friends who read this blog to take offense, because I do appreciate all the love beyond words, but it is kind of true. An aunt I had not seen (and can safely talk about because I am sure she does not read this) in any capacity other than my dad’s funeral, came to the hospital to visit Turner. I am so happy that she did because I think family is the most important thing in life, but it took a death or a birth to have communication with her. Ruby, ( you know, my sister who is generally too busy for things I am interested in) even cancelled a few photography sessions to be with me in the hospital, something that is so uncharacteristic of her, because her work means the world to her. She and her husband Will (who can get credit for showing more of an interest in my writing even though I do not think he reads this, he at least shares some interests with me) visited several times, which I appreciate because of how busy they are. But they did that for Turner, not for me.

Obviously I cannot compete with Turner, he is perfect, nor would I think I should, but I just learned that you should be prepared for attention from family, friends, and strangers who you would not normally associate with, because regardless of your social standing, you just had a rock star and people are going to be lining up to meet him/her.

Just a side note… We had a “guestbook” that Andrew ran to the store and got. It is just a small decorated notebook, but everyone who came to the hospital, we got them to write a note to Turner. This was great for two reasons, one, it helped us keep straight all of the people who came, and two, I think it will be something great to pass on to Turner one day. It has little welcome messages, people first impressions of them, and just hello messages. It is really sweet. We have continued to get people who meet him for the first time to write in the notebook… just an idea you might wanna try. 🙂

2) The other way this works is the complete opposite. While you will have people you did not think cared one bit about what goes on in your life, you will have people who you once considered really close not acknowledge you at all, and it is going to hurt.

I expected some friends to not be super excited because they are young and single and enjoying their 20s, but still expected them to care. When some of the people who were supposed to be my very best and closest friends did not reach out to me to want to meet Turner or even tell me congrats, I was furious. There were people I expected to call or txt and if I got anything at all from these close people, it was the obligatory Facebook post, the most impersonal thing someone can do. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends that the Facebook post were sufficient, that is the level of friendship I have with them. But others who were supposed to be on a different level, and didn’t call, or didn’t see my son after he was born for whatever reason…. have hurt me dearly. To the point to where I have considered reevaluating my priorities and where these people play into my life. The birth of my child is one of the most, if not THE most important event in my life, and if those closest to me don’t care… then maybe they should not be the people close to me.

So prepare for people who will smother you with love and attention and brace yourself for the disappoint of being let down by others. Both will inevitably happen.

5) Motherhood is truly an adventure.

The real life dive into motherhood is better than anything you could watch on reality tv show or read about in someone else’s blog. From the moment you consider your journey beginning, there will without a doubt be ups and downs, twist and turns, failures and successes. It will be the most exciting, invigorating, rewarding experience you will have in your entire life, and hey, I can say that and it has only been two months.

You will spend every second of your life learning something from your child, all while you think you should be teaching him. That little miracle is the most incredible being you will ever come across and your soul purpose in life will be to live for him/her, whatever that calls for.

You will gain superhero powers like the magical bladder control, where you can avoid going to the bathroom longer than you ever thought was possible because your child needs you more at that moment than you need to pee. Literally everyday is new and open for anything, everyday is an adventure.

There is no set path, no set schedule, no set plan of action. You just figure it out as you go and you figure it out together with your child and if you’re as lucky as I am, you have a great partner to help you on the way.