My daughter is turning 2 years old next month.
When my son was turning 2, I was in the best shape of my life. I was exercising regularly, sometimes twice a day, because it felt good and I enjoyed it. I was eating healthily and indulging occasionally. Before having kids, my lifestyle was never particularly active or healthy.
After my son was born, I would have waves of dieting and exercising, losing some of the 50 pounds I put on during my first pregnancy. But everything seemed to fall into place just right when he was around 18 months, and I finally felt like I was getting my groove back.
On his 2nd birthday, I took a pregnancy test. My husband and I had just started trying. I was two weeks along.
Early on, we thought we would space our kids about two to three years apart. As soon as one was out of diapers, I would pop out another. But now, here we are. We want a third child, but I’m putting off getting pregnant again for at least another year because I haven’t lost the weight from my second pregnancy.
I haven’t lost any of it.
This might seem shallow to some. It is. But it’s important to me. I miss looking and feeling the way I did when my son was a toddler. Even after having a baby, I was happier with my body than I ever was before I had kids. I’ve never been a body-positive person. I have also never had a healthy relationship with food — except during that time when my son was young, and I was able to find a routine that worked with our schedule, with our lifestyle.
And I don’t want to put more time and more hurdles between me and a goal that has already proven difficult to reach this time around.
I gained 40 pounds my last pregnancy. I’ve lost a little bit here, gained it back there, several times in the last two years. My biggest problem is that I haven’t found a way to make taking care of myself a priority while also taking care of a house and two kids. There is time in my day. There is the possibility to change habits each day. But there is also a ton of work to get done — errands to run, work to do, chores to complete, kids to play with, meals to make. I am frequently last on my list of things to take care of.
Several things have been different this go-round. I was running regularly for a while, eating better and feeling good. Then I fell down my stairs one night and had a hematoma on my hip that made it painful just to walk. Running was out of the question. It was weeks before I could even grocery shop on my own.
Then I started suffering from frequent migraines. I would get into a rhythm for a week or two, then a migraine would put me out for a few days and I’d be thrown just as I was getting into a routine. Starting and stopping has been a frequent issue, and it is demoralizing.
A lot of the time, it’s energy. I’m tired. But excrcising regularly gives me more energy — vicious cycle.
It’s also food. When you make food your outlet for stress and worry, it’s such an easy vice to fall back on. I’ll have a rough day, eat junk, and resolve to do better tomorrow. But tomorrow keeps getting postponed.
I’m not willing to become pregnant again before I lose this weight. And not until I’ve maintained that weight loss for long enough that I feel confident I won’t fall back into my old habits. Right now, I look in the mirror and the person staring back is not someone I like being. She’s sad. She’s frustrated. She isn’t doing anything about it. I don’t want to be this unhappy in my own skin again. And I don’t want to be even less happy in my skin by getting pregnant again now.
My husband and I both want another baby. I’m ready to have another in every other aspect of my life. It’s beyond frustrating that my weight is holding me back from something I know I want to do.
Making myself a priority — like a top priority — is hard. But it’s necessary. I’m slowly getting back into a routine again and being extra careful on stairs. I want to look in the mirror and see myself again. And I want to get back to baby-making as soon as possible, but not yet.