1 Year Postpartum: Getting back to “Me”
Next week is my daughter Meadow’s first birthday! I’m sad she’s growing so fast. But I’m also so happy she will soon be me little sidekick and have real conversations with me. I’m also scared of the random toddler tantrums that are to come and arguing with a tiny version of myself in the morning.
But this is another special time, I am one year postpartum! In the thick of my new mom leaky boob, sleep-deprived, pain-ridden, and bleary-eyed state, I never thought I would make it this far. I remember telling my husband where the formula was, just in case I had died of sleep deprivation. Seriously it was TORTURE!
So my daughter had all of her well-child visits. She is crawling, waving, babbling, saying “momma” and “dada”, pulling up on things, and trying all kinds of new foods!.. but what about her mom? How is SHE doing at one year? Everyone forgets about mom, you know the one who did all the work to bring that beautiful baby into the world.
I had a checkup at 6 weeks postpartum. I was told I my tears and lacerations were 98% healed and given the “all clear” to begin resuming normal activities. I was also told to call if symptoms of Postpartum Depression lingered or if my pain got worse.
For information on PPD/PPA and how to get help click herehttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617
So how am I doing at 1 year postpartum? Well…
My lost hair is growing back
After delivery it’s normal to lose some hair, they call this postpartum hair loss. My hair is very thick so I was excited for some natural and cheap shedding. Recently my hair has stopped clogging the drain, but when I tie my hair in a neat ponytail I notice the lost hair growing back. It’s almost like getting the bangs you never wanted!
I still have stretch marks and a pouch
Yup, no matter how much I walk it’s all still there. There is no cream or magic lotion that would make this go away.. not that I’ve tried. At this point, I refer to them as “battle scars”. I grew a human for 9 months, labored for 20 hours, and pushed for 3. I wear my battle scars proudly and self consciously!
I’m still wearing maternity jeans and I haven’t lost the baby weight
So right now as we speak I am wearing maternity jeans, the ones with the elastic waistband. I have also had to stand up twice to pull them back up. I am still at that awkward weight where regular jeans won’t fit and maternity jeans are too big. I don’t want to spend money on my ever-changing size so mat and post-pregnancy pants it is for me!
These are my favorite post-pregnancy jeans https://www.motherhood.com/bounceback-v-pocket-post-pregnancy-jeans/006-95524-000-001.html?dwvar_006-95524-000-001_color=006-95524-44#q=bounceback&lang=default&start=1
In my 9 months of pregnancy, I gained a whole 50 pounds. When I delivered I lost over half of that weight. I vowed to have a belly only pregnancy and a quick bounceback but I got neither. It takes 9 months to put the weight on so it takes at least 9 to take it off. Now that I have mostly stopped breastfeeding I have lost a total of 15 pounds and counting. My body will probably never be the same, and I’m still trying to accept that.
P.S. leggings are pants 😉
My feet have gone back to their pre-pregnancy size
During pregnancy, it’s actually pretty normal for your feet to grow a size or two. At the end of your feet swell like mine, they get even bigger. Read more about swelling in pregnancy here https://www.mother.ly/life/swelling-in-pregnancy-when-to-worry.. oh the price we pay for growing humans! When I was pregnant, my feet grew a whole size. In the third trimester, I couldn’t even wear shoes, and then 1 week postpartum my feet finally shrunk. Fast forward 1 year I’m back to size 7.5!
I’m better at saying “no” and setting limits
I used to run myself ragged saying yes to plans and attending every social obligation. Now that I have a tiny human in tow I am not afraid to say “no” and set my limits. There is only so much I want to drag her to and sometimes babies aren’t as portable as we think. For example, I was invited to Story Land when my daughter was about two months old. I declined because she was too young for sunscreen and I would constantly have to keep her in the shade. I won’t start on finding places to nurse. I was also invited to a family get together at a beach when my daughter was just 5 months old. Again I declined because of A) too young for sunscreen, and B) finding places to nurse. I would have to hunker down in the shade likely nursing the whole time. Don’t even get me started on packing up the baby for a trip. Sometimes I even have to say no to certain things now like long car rides, day trips, etc. So I am no longer afraid to say “no” and stick to my limits.
I’m more confident and have a better sense of self worth
“No one mentioned it, not in the whole 9 months, you are about to meet someone entirely new, and it’s not your baby… it’s you!” I love this quote by fourth-trimester collective soooo much. Before I became a mom I was an entirely different person. I was slaying it in my social work career getting promotion after promotion, but I was never that confident in myself and didn’t know I had a voice to speak up. Now that I am the voice for my daughter who cannot speak for herself I am more outspoken as her advocate and mine. I’m no longer afraid to stand up for what I believe and I know that my needs matter too. I’m also more confident in making new friends, especially with other moms.
I’m finally getting back to “me”
Somewhere along the journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, I lost a lot of parts of the carefree, free-spirited, beer-drinking, career-driven badass 25-year-old me. I no longer go to concerts, music festivals, bars, dinners, camping, 10 mile pemigewaset kayak trips, every weekend. These types of outings now come few and far between, but some of them we are learning how to bring the little one with us and others we reserve for when we have a sitter.
But one year later I am getting back those parts of the carefree, beer-drinking, adventure junkie, Chrissy. I have the occasional beer at unconventional times, I let my kid stay up late for a bonfire, I experiment with different recipes, and bake random creations…I even took up blogging, learned how to garden, and play the occasional round of golf with my husband. So it turns out I am still the same person, but I just became a better more organized, and responsible version of myself.
I have an entire new network of friends
This one was a hard pill to swallow, in fact, I should add that none of my friends from home even showed up for my baby shower. I had a whole network of loving and supportive co-workers for my entire pregnancy and some postpartum. After I became a SAHM, we lost touch. We get together for the occasional gathering but they are far and few between.
When I was finally comfortable leaving the house, I started attending a Mom’s group my local hospital hosted. I met so many other moms with young babies just trying to navigate motherhood and felt like I found my people. I then was invited to their Facebook group, there I heard about a few girls doing a workout called “Stroller Strides”https://fit4mom.com/workout-classes/stroller-strides at the local park.. so I went and that’s how I met my friend Claire. Eventually, our group dissipated but we still met up every week and became good friends. Now we take our kids on all kinds of local day trips, parks, and beaches and joke about the days we can parent from the bench. We also call on each other for emergency childcare and sick kiddo concerns.
So one year…
I miss the newborn sleep and snuggles. However, I don’t miss the rough seasons that came with that. One year later I am an entirely different person. I stand up for what I believe, and I’m an outspoken advocate for my daughter and I. Most importantly I am the most responsible self-prioritizing, happiest version of me. Some days I long for my old carefree apartment living ways, but years ago I spent nights wishing to be exactly where I am.
Postpartum does not end at your 6 week check-up, it goes to the first year and beyond.As our babies grow, we evolve into better versions of us and find those parts we lost along the way. One year is truily a bittersweet time.
Remember to feed your baby, feed yourself, and reach out for help if you don’t feel yourself!
About the Author
My name is Chrissy and I am a Stay at Home Mom in New Hampshire to 9-month-old Meadow, two rescue dogs, and a cat. When I’m not blogging or managing chaos you can find me on a hike with my family, cooking something good, or enjoying a craft beer!
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