My plan was to gain only 15 to 20 pounds during my pregnancy, because that’s what online charts told me a chunkier person such as myself should gain. But then the doctor never mentioned a number to aim for, and every time I went and had gained a little more, he said I was right on track. So with his approval and a steady diet of milkshakes and slushees (so much for that low-sugar diet I was aiming for, huh?), and a boost of water weight from swelling in the last two weeks, I gained 43 pounds by the end.

In the first week post-partum, I lost only 1 pound. One. pound. And I gave birth to a 9-pound baby! I was so swollen my ankles disappeared, and the tops of my feet looked like marshmallows zapped in the microwave.

But somewhere in the second week, the swelling magically disappeared, and I lost 19 pounds in two days. Two days! It was almost worth the misery of being swollen to get to have that cool, Biggest-Loser-esque weight loss experience once in my life.

Over the next couple of weeks, the rapid weight loss continued despite my continued enjoyment of milkshakes (and lately, 29th birthday cake), and I lost 10 more pounds. I had 14 more to go before I was back at pre-pregnancy weight, and I was already plotting another 15-pound loss after that to be at a more reasonable – yet maintainable – weight.

Hmmph. Though I’ve continued breastfeeding, the magical weight loss has ceased. I’m stuck here at about the weight I was last year before I went on a pre-10-year-reunion diet.

Last week, when I planned this post, I was going to say how, despite the extra belly flab (on top of the already-excessive flab of old) and the stretch marks (so many that if you laid them end to end they would reach the moon and back), I actually feel pretty okay about my body for once.

Before, this body was always letting me down, but now it has successfully grown a baby, given birth to said baby, and is providing all the food for the baby. Underneath the flab, it was stronger than I thought.

Not to mention I worry less about attractiveness when my baby seeks my face in a crowd, turns her head around to find me when someone else is holding her, and the mere sight of me stops her in mid-cry (which happened for the first time this morning). I couldn’t be too gross if she likes looking at me so much, right? (This theory ignores the fact that most of the time when she sees me I’m wearing no make-up and a stretched-out T-shirt and my hair is sticking up from rocking her in the recliner.)

All in all, appearance seems less important these days. Or at least, it did last week. Then came the inevitable day when I realized I have nothing to wear. I’ve always had those days every so often – when I try on everything in my closet, and everything looks hideous, and I feel fat and blobby and end up leaving the house grumpy, wearing the same thing I’ve worn 75 times that month.

But usually, that feeling goes away by the time I’m in the closet the next morning, and I realize – oh wait, I have 7 million shirts, 6 million pairs of pants, 5 million skirts, and 4 million dresses. I do, in fact, have stuff to wear.

The thing is, now I really don’t. I would continue wearing maternity clothes, but they’re all falling off me, and my clothes from last summer are almost all just a bit (or a lot) too snug in the belly region. And it’s been insanely hot, too, which makes me less amenable to wearing clothes that cut off my circulation. And – horror of horrors – I can’t wear any of my go-to dresses, because they don’t work for breastfeeding! AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH, NOOOOOOOOOOO!

I even got the SpaceBag full of formerly too-big clothes out from under the bed, thinking that would solve my problem. Um, no. Even my favorite pair of denim capris, which I’d shrunk out of last spring, are now too squeezy in the waist. SIGH.

So now I’m down to one pair of denim shorts that fit nicely on some days and feel too tight on others, two pairs of identical olive green shorts that I bought from Old Navy two years ago (and they’re actually falling off me to the point that I fear flashing the townspeople when my arms are full of baby and baby gear, so I might not be able to tug them up fast enough), and about six casual shirts, two of which I broke down and bought last week.

This isn’t a tragedy, I guess, since I work from home and wear paint-stained T-shirts and boxer shorts most of the time. But I do try to get to town at least a couple times a week because D has been working a lot of overtime, and being home alone with la infanta all the time would make me and her both slightly insane. (I swear, she gets as sick of this living room as I do.)

For our outings to grocery shop, scrapbook, go to movies (during which she stays with a positively giddy Granny), or watch True Blood with Aunt Kelly, I would like to have some clothes that aren’t either uncomfortably snug or require quick reflexes to keep them up. And would having just one or two flattering items be too much to ask?

The thing is, there are no clothes on planet earth that fit this description. I was already apple-shaped and hard to fit. Now I’m even MORE apple shaped. Awesome.

So last night as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep as fast as possible to maximize Ruby’s asleep time, I came to the conclusion that I’m going to have to actually start exercising and eating better, unpleasant as it is to contemplate after my now nearly 11-month break from discipline.

Actually, the exercise part doesn’t sound unpleasant, just difficult to squeeze into my day. I’m lucky if Ruby naps 30 minutes to an hour at a time, and then I’m frantically trying to do laundry, brush my teeth, eat lunch, take a shower, unload the dishwasher, and do some actual work. I can’t tell you when the last time I vacuumed was.

Where in all this do I fit a workout, which entails getting dressed in workout clothes, actually working out, then being too sweaty to do anything except jump in the shower? I could do it when D is here (and awake), but lately that’s only in 4-hour chunks, and in that time we have to eat a meal, I have to feed Ruby at least once, we squeeze in a smidge of togetherness, I try to finish some work and maybe grab a shower while he occupies Miss Demanding, and then he’s gone again.

I would love to take Ruby for a walk outside every day because she loves the outdoors, but it’s been 100 degrees and miserable all summer. The only exercise I get is jiggling her constantly (great for the biceps and shoulders!) and dancing her around the living room during So You Think You Can Dance.

Other moms manage to do this, though, so maybe there’s something I’m missing. How do I do it? How do I get back in shape?

posted by K | filed under Commentary, Pregnancy, Ruby | 13 Comments

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