Postpartum

Why We Need to Stop Postpartum Weight Loss Comments

MY POSTPARTUM JOURNEY IS MEASURED BY MORE THAN A SCALE

postpartum weight loss journey

“Wow- you’ve lost xx pounds. Way to go. You look great!”

Aside from giving me my stats and some small talk, this was what my nurse said to me at my postpartum checkup. I should be thrilled, right? Well actually, not. I have done nothing to focus on my postpartum weight loss weight loss and physical change in these 6 weeks (aside from pumping out milk every 3 hours so that my breasts don’t explode and sometimes skipping meals because I physically don’t have the hands to make something while juggling my toddler and newborn.) There are a lot of things, though, that I have worked really hard on… tears and intentionality… and really would feel great if you (she) could see those things.

There’s So much More than Postpartum Weight Loss

All of the struggles and tears and the joys and laughter are all too often quickly deduced to how our physical appearance is 6 weeks later:
-Surviving a NICU stay and learning more medical terms than I know possible
-Transitioning back to home and helping a 2-year-old adjust to a new sibling
-Waking all throughout the night and sometimes still finding a way to shower
Pumping milk and then feeding it to my baby to navigate through feeding issues
-Talking myself through hormonal surges and emotional breakdowns
-Making it to the store a couple of times with two kids in tow…

THESE are the things I am proud of. THESE are the things I’ve put mental and emotional and physical energy into. All of THESE are the victories of postpartum that I long to have recognized and celebrated. My weight? It’s another number created by mostly uncontrollable factors that doesn’t define much at all about my “success.”

Good Intentions: Bad Execution

The intentions of my nurse? They were most likely great- to compliment me. Make me feel good about myself. But at the moment and afterward, it just didn’t sit well with me.

This seems to be one of those societal norms that we follow because we don’t know what else to say, but by just following we continue to perpetuate. We continue to tell women, subliminally, that their postpartum “success” is measured by how quickly the scale changes.

We speak a message that through all the rough patches of being a mom, the way our body does or does not “bounce back” is a factor worth more focus than others. It seems people do it without even thinking- we make comments on how a new mom looks. You’ve most likely done it. I’ve done it. I will probably unintentionally do it again, but let’s recognize it. Let’s make a mental note to do better next time. Let’s think of ways together to shift the norm and give mothers more empowerment through things that are more important than stepping on a scale or getting back into “pre-pregnancy” jeans. Moms, we are SO MUCH MORE than that.

RELATED: Fourth Trimester Restore (eCourse for reconnecting with your postpartum body) mention Chelsea

postpartum weight loss journey

Making a Change to the Postpartum Narrative

Not sure where to start on complimenting and empowering a new mom and shifting the language we default to? Want to say something more meaningful than postpartum weight loss? I’m about to drop some ideas (crowdsourced from other new moms) below. After you read them, comment with your own additions on what has made you feel awesome as a postpartum woman. Let’s share even more ideas to give ourselves and others the tools to be apart of the shift in what it really means to be postpartum, to be a mom.

Things You CAN Say to New Moms

 “You’re doing a great job with this transition!”
“I can tell you’re a great mom!”
“I saw you patiently work with your child- that takes a lot of work! Good job!”
“Wow- you’ve made a lot of sacrifices for your kids. That’s inspiring!” (Could be that mom has to go dairy-free for breastfeeding, pump often, forgo activities for children’s health, sacrifice work or other outside things, go to work when it feels tough, etc. etc. etc.)
“Your body is nurturing a human!
“Wow! You were made for this!”
”You’re really rolling with the punches with stride.”
“You really prepared yourself for all of these transitions!”
“Look at you juggling kids and still getting ____ done. You’re a rockstar!”
“I know you’re forfeiting a lot of sleep these days- thanks for taking care of that baby!”

RELATED: Things You Need to Stop Saying to New Moms

There are hundreds of other phrases out there that we can add, but hopefully, this start will help you to think about how we can collectively honor women in this season without deducing her down to her postpartum body.

Tell us Your Ideas

Don’t forget to leave your ideas in the comments and share this with anyone you know who comes in contact with a new mom (okay, that’s probably everyone.)

Photo of the first time I went shopping postpartum. I bought jeans in a larger size than ever and it didn’t change a thing about me or my ability to be a mother to these two sweet babes.

don’t fit into my pants after having a baby

Want to be purposeful and prepared in postpartum? Grab this FREE Postpartum Planning Checklist and get started!

motherhood

Being a Heart Mom

DEAR HEART MOM: I KNOW THIS IS A ROLLER COASTER

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baby with tetralogy of fallot surgery

Sometimes you forget that anything big is looming in your future.

Sometimes you lay awake just trying to breath because it’s all you can think about.

Sometimes you see your child and know that she will overcome everything- beginning with the medical difficulties of her infancy.

Sometimes you see your child and just beg and plead that she’ll see next year and that you’ll see her grow up alongside her siblings.

Sometimes you read stories of victory over similar medical situations and you feel so invigorated for the life of conquering ahead.

Sometimes you see the face of a little one who didn’t make it and you crumble inside trying to feel those feelings in case they should ever become your reality.

It’s this ongoing mental and emotional roller coaster. It’s the torment of the mind. It’s trying to decide whether to cling close to every single moment or to try to shut off the deep rooted emotional ties in fear that it would cause any hurt to hurt more deeply.

You know when you got into a new relationship and it was a ton of fun and you soaked it all up… but then you realized you were getting very close and intimate and the fear of loss took over? Do you remember the tension of wanting to go all in and yet wanting to step back in case it didn’t work out? That’s the best metaphor I’ve come with to describe the period of waiting for big medical intervention for your ill child.

From the outside you wouldn’t have any idea that her body isn’t functioning like it should. From the outside she looks like the majority of babies you would see. But inside? Inside it’s a balancing act of time. Giving her enough time to grow to optimize a surgery but not giving it too much time- because if we did her body would suffer.

open heart surgery at 5 months old

Looking at our family from the outside you probably wouldn’t see that we are daily picturing our child on a medical table through a massive operation. From the outside you wouldn’t see the fear of a faulty move of the doctor’s hand or a sterilization procedure not being followed and welcoming infection. Yet these are the things I see every day. Sure, I see her smile and I hear her coo. I see the way she tracks us across a room. I see the signs of her hunger as she anticipates her next bottle. I see the way she warms her brother’s heart and calls out a new beauty in all of us. But in the stillness, usually, I also see the worst possibilities.

I’m not sure if this is “normal” anxiety or heightened anxiety. I really don’t care to label it and most of the time I have found it really powerful to experience it and talk about it with my husband and closest friends. But some days I wish it would go away. I know there is not one child or human who is exempt from something terrible happening… but when you have something so big in the future, something that seems so complex, something that will probably go just fine but if it doesn’t would be detrimental to your family, you think about it more often. You see it. It creeps up on you in the night when you’re snuggling. It causes you to lose sleep, to cry yourself into headaches and you have to fight for the ability to bring the energy you want to your day.

RELATED: Preventing PPD (eCourse)

heart warrior kids

To the families who are carrying heavy hearts over the wellness of a child- I see you. It may be evident from the outside or it may be hidden, but I see you. I see the way you pull your strength daily for your family. I see the way you balance going on as normal with being cautious. I see the way you tug back and forth between faith and fear. I see the way you celebrate other’s victories while also feeling the sting of others losses. I see you and I validate your feelings. They are raw and real and to many on the outside, they are scary and unsettling but they are yours and they are important.

RELATED: Easier Exclusive Pumping

Oh and momma- if you’re feeling anxious and fearful- here’s an anxious-filled hug from me to you. I’m not sure if we were “chosen” for this or if this just brought out a new side of us, but we are in it together.

UPDATE: Our little Sage had her open heart surgery March, 2019. She did well and we spent a week recovering in the hospital. If you’re a heart mom and need to chat about it, drop me an email or DM on instagram. I feel you momma.

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story of a CHD baby with tetralogy of fallot doing well