I think I’m something like 14 weeks postpartum (not gonna pull out a calendar and count, so I could be off, lol).
Time to do an inventory and let you guys know what was up in Month 3 of the Fourth Trimester!
I’m gonna write fast because I have two kids down for a nap at the SAME TIME and I’m hoping to check a few things off my to-do list, lol.
Nutritionally, my appetite is way leveling out. But it’s still kind of nuts some days. At week 12, I stopped nursing, so I’m not needing to eat as much anymore, and I can tell my body is starting to figure out where it needs to be. I can also tell that my cravings and appetite are wonky many days because my sleep happens well about 2-3 days per week, and then a few days each week I’m getting less, mostly because of work and not Maren, HA! I’ve also been feeling better not eating first thing in the morning. I’m just not hungry then anymore, and so my first meal of the day is between 9-11AM, when it used to be 6:50AM STAT when I woke up or got done with my morning classes. Still prioritizing a protein and produce in each meal because that makes me feel good.
Workouts are gaining steam, but still no where what I’m used to yet. Still trying to be smart about unweighting lots of exercises. Because I only stopped nursing a few weeks ago, I still have lots of loose joints and connective tissue (Relaxin hangs around for 3+ months after nursing). I still also have some weak-ish pelvic floor muscles going on, and focus more on activating core and floor during each rep than I do pushing weights around. I’m getting better at it! I did try some single leg deadlifts with light weight last week and those were too much for pelvic floor right now. I can do them unweighted just fine, but adding load was a little much (it was only 18 pounds dude, I’m used to doing those with like 70 pounds, for context). Lots of half kneeling core work, side and reverse side planks, farmer carries. Lots of unweighted squats and single leg work. Never thought I’d say this but I’m so sick of unweighted glute bridges I could vomit, lol.
Crazy postpartum hormone wise, I’m starting to feel more and more like my old self. Not all days, but most, HA! I feel way more relaxed at this stage than I did with Emma. Probably because it’s the second time around, and you sorta get an idea of what to expect and what’s going on. And we’ve already raised one kid through four years, so we know we can at least get that far, lol.
Let’s talk about body composition though, since it’s a juicy topic for most postpartum women. I mean, magazines tell us we should “bounce back” super freaking fast, right? During pregnancy, I hung onto a good amount of my muscle for a long time, and then after week 30 and beyond, when lots of exercises weren’t feeling great, and I was still puking on the regular, I didn’t lift as frequently. The loads that I was lifting were enough to make me feel good but nowhere taxing enough to stimulate muscle growth. So, between then and now, I’ve lost tons of muscle. I weigh a few pounds less than I did last July when I found out I was pregnant, but I look waaaayyyyyyyyy softer. Less muscle, more body fat, even though a scale would tell you I should be smaller (but we know that the scale is only one slice of the puzzle). Each woman is different. Some women drop weight like a boss when nursing and after baby. Some struggle to lose it.
Here’s how it seems to be working for me (since it’s pretty similar to when Emma was born). The three weeks post birth, my weight drops like a rock. Somewhat to be expected, given that an almost 9 pound baby is outside versus inside, plus fluid, blood volume, placenta, and all that stuff. During this time I literally eat everything that isn’t nailed down because recovery from birth is no freaking joke PLUS trying to establish milk supply for a little baby takes energy. Then, I hold steady for awhile, and my cravings level out but I still get them, and I’m kind of all over the board with hunger, plus not a whole lot of physical activity. Then, I begin putting on some pounds again, and it usually appears to be in the form of body fat. This time has been really no different than last time, to be honest. That body fat part can become a mind game though. However, I can also tell it’s leveling out and even starting to take care of itself since nursing is no longer. My hunger is regulating, as are my hormones. My guess is after my first cycle (boy, I’m an exciting bag of convo these days between cycle talk, nursing, and pelvic floor, lol), this will begin taking care of itself like it did last time, given I’m eating pretty nutritiously, sprinkling in my beer and treats, and also beginning to get stronger in my workouts again. I’m not worried about it. But I like to bring it up because I think it’s helpful for people to read that each woman will experience something different, and it’s not necessary to get nuts about diets, your body really just needs time to get back to an even keel hormonally, and that shit TAKES TIME. I suspect NEXT July that I’ll be feeling way more like my old self.
I also use the term “old self” loosely. My self right now is just fine, but I’m kinda excited for the days when my hormones are on their old level playing field, and I’m back to a workout structure that my brain and body crave, if that makes sense.
Here’s the thing. Your body is your body. Growing a baby and birthing a baby and recovering from all that is a huge undertaking. The biggest thing that it takes is TIME. Yes, nutrition, yes strategic workouts, but TIME is the biggest player in recovery. Self care too. And so, in my mind, talking about bouncing back and fat loss and all that shit….is really just a ton of noise for a body that just freaking needs TIME. I’m more after doing workouts that make my body and energy feel good, eating foods that definitely meet the health equation but also allow me to enjoy myself, and trying to just take care of my body. And that stuff trumps fat loss fat loss fat loss right now. Because if I feel like I want to tackle something like that, I will….when it’s TIME and I feel like I’m ready to do that. Or, I might just freaking roll on with life and not worry about that. To each their own.
I think I’m going to continue on with the FIFTH trimester posting, and keep you guys up to speed over the next three months as well as I begin progressing more. Oh, and I’m drafting up a bloggy blog all about my experience working with a women’s health physical therapist too, so keep your eyes peeled for that!