This morning, my husband nonchalantly said, “You got thinner.” To reassure myself that it was a compliment, I asked if it meant that I looked good. Being the silly man with a boyish crush on me that he is, he said “Of course.”
This little incident got me reading a few other blogs by mom readers on their prenatal and postnatal body issues. During my own pregnancy, I was a moderate 128 lbs when I discovered I was six weeks along the way. From that time on, the weight just seemed to pile on. When I was around 33 weeks, I looked like this:
This photo was from my prenatal photo shoot at the Picture Company in Podium. I was still wearing regular tops and blouses, but I had bought my first pair of maternity jeans for this photo session. I gave birth five weeks later, when I was 38 weeks and 5 days along. By that time, I was 158 lbs! And I looked something like this:
This is me with Vito, one day after delivery (He’s breastfeeding.). Right after birth, I progressively lost 20 lbs, just from breastfeeding and, I suppose, those late nights and early mornings that left me devoid of sleep.
By the time the baby was about 3 months old, I looked like this:
This was taken on Valentine’s Day 2010, right after my hubby and I had lunch at Circles. By this time, I could fit into my size 8 pants, but I had to buy size 10 ones if they were the fitted type. This was due mostly to the little pooch on my tummy from the pregnancy. Breastfeeding helped a lot, I was told; my mom herself was able to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight quickly, just like me.
When Vito was around five months, I had lost some more weight and looked like this:
This was one morning at Salcedo Village. By this time, I was at 132 lbs, which the doctor advised me to maintain in lieu of my breastfeeding needs. I still had to eat about 2200 calories a day in order to maintain my weight at this level (I happily ate a lot during that morning at Salcedo!).
Two weeks ago, I was able to wear a bikini while at the beach, meaning that my postnatal pooch is almost totally gone. And with NO exercise regimen! I just walk a bit when I bring the baby out for a daily stroll around the village, and breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. But I am too shy to post a photo of myself in swim wear, so just take my word for it.
This is the latest photo of me (with Vito and my husband, Ton), when Vito turned 8 months, about four weeks ago. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is 130 lbs since I can’t go any less or else I will severely affect my breastfeeding capabilities.
What have I learned throughout this whole body-altering phase? Well, it’s that my looks don’t really matter much in hindsight, especially when I think of how much focus I give my son. Of course, I take care to make sure I look good and presentable. I made sure to look extra good while I was pregnant so that I wouldn’t focus too much on how big my tummy was getting, how darker my underarms were becoming, and all that. However, I did not obsess so much in losing the baby weight or in trying to get my figure back. One day, I just pleasantly discovered that, well, I was back!
Thankfully, I never had any edema (swelling of the feet and hands), so I was able to wear most of my shoes, albeit the high heels, throughout my pregnancy. I also never had any stretch marks, thanks to my naturally, er, oily skin the doctor said (It has its benefits). Best of all (and somewhat miraculously), I never got a pimple during pregnancy and have not gotten them since giving birth! My skin looks more radiant than it ever did – without treatment.
I guess what I am trying to get at is this: The human body is amazing. A mother’s body knows how to heal itself through the gentle rhythms of breastfeeding, if not bonding with her new child. I have seen this happen for me, and though I might not look like a super model, I feel good in my body. This confidence gives me a better character boost than anything artificial, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go in for a facial or body treatment in an instant (I’m a sucker for the spa!).
For me, dealing with the different stages of my body has given me a better sense of love, care and acceptance for myself. It’s also helped me look into another facet of God, that of a perfect Creator. How can I not acknowledge His brilliance? How can I not thank Him for the awesomeness of the female body and its ability to make the best of itself? No doubt that, given the proper love, care and acceptance, our bodies can be fabulous testimonies to His ingenuity.