. . . for Lauren and Lauren: My post baby image

March 20, 2014

My post baby image

There are circumstances in life where pretty quickly I wonder what God is trying to tell me through it. Then there are others where it takes me way too long to realize that maybe He is using this struggle to grow me and teach me something.  

I've mentioned before that I have some lingering postpartum issues that continue to stick around.  I have been trying to workout more and I feel like there are lots of things working against me.  One of the biggest being energy and motivation.  Getting back into a workout routine is not coming easily to me.  

I don't think I realized until now the value that I placed on working out and getting dressed and my overall appearance before I had a baby.  While I was never super confident or always loved the way I looked, I felt strong, healthy and more put together regularly. 

By no means was I this all star athlete, but I could pretty easily do a hard intense workout, or run many miles.  Despite a busy schedule I worked out for 45 minutes to an hour just about every day for a few years.  I felt like I was disciplined and would do whatever it took to get a workout in, but when I think about it I realize that it was a little obsessive. Or maybe a lot.  I think in general I have a more obsessive personality.  I tend to think about things and if I decide to do something, I'm going to follow through, and in this case meant making working out a huge priority.  Which isn't bad, unless it starts to define you. 

Which again, I didn't realize that it did until that was taken away.  When I was pregnant and on bedrest I was really scared to work out and took it pretty easy most of my pregnancy.  I'd walk a lot, but that was about it.  But it didn't bother me as much because I feel like I wasn't expected to be in shape.  I mean hello baby bump.  Completely acceptable and necessary to take it easy when you're pregnant.  I was still getting dressed up and felt put together most of the time when I was pregnant. 

These days there isn't much use for cute shoes and dressy looks.  While I still get dressed in something other than sweats a few days a week, it definitely isn't the same.  I don't have the same time to pick out an outfit or blow dry my hair every day.  I miss getting ready for work and having that feeling of being put together.  I've started working out regularly and find myself getting frustrated.  It's been uncomfortable and hard to run.  I feel slow and weak and tired.  

I didn't think about the value and self worth I put on my appearance and the confidence that working out regularly gave me.  Those things made me feel good about myself, and while I think they are still important they shouldn't define me.  

I think I have a hard time finding balance in life.  Since starting to work out I find myself feeling like I should try to fit it in every day (which has yet to happen and probably won't and that is completely okay.  And healthy.)  I don't want to obsess over working out. I don't want to feel like I need to dress cute to feel good about myself.  

I've felt a lot of pressure lately, feeling like I need to be in better shape.  That I need to be watching what I eat and making healthier choices.  That I should be making cute outfits out of all the clothes hanging in my closet.  But I am ready to find a healthier balance.  To work out because I need some "me" time and want to be healthy.  To find a balance between healthy foods and enjoy things that taste to me too.  To get dressed to make me feel like I'm ready for the day.  But to not put my self worth in any of those things.  

I know that God is using this transition in my life to show me that my value doesn't come from the outfits I wear, or what shape my body is in.  

Going through pregnancy and motherhood is humbling.  So much of your freedom and time and self esteem feels non existent at times.  But that is not what defines me.  I need to find my worth in being a good wife, a mom, a friend and most importantly a child of God.  



Denise Oldham said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Bless you dear.

Angela C. said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I share your struggle. I hate not having time to work out everyday... partly because of how it makes me look and partly because of how it makes me feel. I miss the days of freedom, energy and motivation even though I know what I have now is much better.

Rebecca @ Mommy in Heels said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

So nice and comforting to know that I am not along! I love what you said- our value doesn't come from the outfits we wear or what shape our body is in. Tough to accept, but always good to remember :)

Kayla MKOY said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

You were beautiful then, and you are beautiful now :) its normal to struggle...I'll be thinking of you!

Lisa @ MMT said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

So glad you shared this! I am struggling with the same things lately. I keep feeling like I'm not fit enough, I don't workout enough, I don't get ready often enough, I'm not eating healthy enough and all these things bring me down and make me feel bad about myself. Truth is, I am trying, but I just don't have the time or energy to do these things like I use to. I've been really working on not letting them bother me and not letting these things define my worth. Plus my kids and husband can care less if I have an extra five pounds on me or if I eat an extra cookie, they love me no matter what and more importantly Jesus loves me no matter what! :) great reminder!

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I am totally feeling you on this! Despite it being one of the happiest times of my life I am thee most unsatisfied with my image/weight/health more now than I have ever been. I was doing okay the first few months post-baby until I returned to work (and as much as you miss getting dressed for work on the flip side it is one of the most depressing/frustrating moments of my day!)This week I had finally had a enough and am slowing trying to get back into working out and eating healthier but like you said it is hard to find the time, energy, and motivation. We mommies need like 28 hours days in which the 4 additional hours are just for us!! BTW I have often thought to myself that you look terrific post-Addilyn so don't be soooo hard on yourself!

Lindsay Ropella said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

This was a very inspiring post...I think the overall idea applies to many of us whether we are mothers or not. I know I personally have struggled with a positive self-image for a while now and your message really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing...

Tara Illy said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Awww I can't imagine as I obviously don't have children but I can bet how hard it is! Prayers for you lovely that when you look back on this moment of life you will see how you've become stronger and grown deeper because of it! Bigs hugs from across the pond to you!

Sarah said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Totally understand this! What helped me was joining a group called Stroller Strides, they might have one in your area when it gets warmer? Or maybe they meet in doors somewhere? You can do that, or do something like that. It's a program where you join and you workout with your baby in a stroller! You run or walk, your preference, for a bit then do some circuit training, then repeat run, workout. It's the BEST. You get to be around other mom's get advice, talk just be you but you're with you kid. And then after your done, our group goes to the park, cause that's where we meet. So it's win-win, you get to socialize and your kids gets to socialize! I highly recommend it. My husband would always know when I didn't go cause I'd be just a little grumpy. I hope that you can find that balance, it's always hard to do that when you're trying to figure everything out. You're not alone, thanks for the post!

Sarah said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

I should also add that I'm now having trouble finding the balance of working and finding time for me, when I'm not doing for someone else. The past two weeks I've been able to get to the gym once a week, and it's just made me feel so much better about myself, even though it's just one day a week, I'll take it.

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

This is beautiful...and so are you! I know exactly what you mean about being obsessive about things. I've been there (Okay, I'm still there :)) I don't think there is anything wrong with finding value in your appearance, as long as it's not the only way you find value.

two birds said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

For me, a lot of that came with getting older. I definitely have way more confidence in who I am now that I am 40 (and it started in my 30s). And you will some day have the energy and the time for all of that...just not quite yet, don't let it get you down too much! Han gin there!

Aimee Ladewig said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Thank you for sharing your struggle. Remember you just had a baby 8 months ago...it will take some time for you to get your body back, but you can do it! My advice would be to find your "why" in getting healthy. That is what my coach had me do, and it made my journey that much easier. Your "why" may be deeply personal or for pure vanity reasons, but once your pinpoint "why" being healthy is important to you, then use that to accomplish your goal. You never realize how many people have the same feelings as you until you start talking about them.

BTW love your blog!

Stephanie said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Oh my goodness I love this post. And I love your blog. I need to remember this in my own life.

Bethany said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

You pretty much articulated exactly what I've been going through, too. I've been very hard on myself about not being back in shape yet. I started working out again but found it made me feel way more exhausted than I already was, and that was a lot. For now I haven't been doing it but am now trying to work on my diet. It's hard. These sweet little babies are so worth it, but they certainly turn our lives upside down!

eliz said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

Wow...I understand your feelings. Mya is 10 months and I still haven't had the motivation to work out and finish losing the post baby weight. I am not happy with my body yet...and it is hard because I am not used to being "curvier"...even though I am still considered "small". I understand what you mean by feeling exhausted.I think I only get up and dress nice because I have to go to work...but on days off I don't...sweats it is. I sometimes wonder if I am becoming lazy. Not sure how the your winter is going...but this has been the worse winter...so maybe we can blame it on that..;-)

Agnes Mayer said... Best Blogger TipsBest Blogger Templates

It's a struggle. What helped me was trying to go to a mom and baby bootcamp class. That helped a lot. It's hard though, depends on when your little one naps.I would wake up early and then my son would wake up early and ruin that. It was hard, but if there is a will, there is a way. Good luck.