Not small and neat by any standards, but also not the biggest pregnant lady I have ever seen. Keep in mind O came almost a month early- another three weeks would have quite possible pushed me into "huge".
After a relatively quick and very straightforward delivery I looked down at myself and realised that... I still had a big belly. In fact when I went down to the cafeteria to get an orange juice the next day people gave me their turn in the queue: I still looked about 6 months pregnant!
It was quite a shock to me. I knew that the belly would not totally disappear overnight, but I didn't quite expect to be quite that big.
I got the go-ahead to start gentle exercise 3 days later: my doctor was happy with everything. He told me not to push myself, but he also knew that I had endured a good 6 months of no exercise (walking aside) and that I was itching to get going.
Three days post-partum I started isometric contractions and kegels. A few days later I got down on my mat for a modified Pilates workout (basically nothing that engaged my rectus abdominal) and at ten days I took the double buggy and started walking on the hills around my house.
I honestly thought the weight would drop off. Coupled with breastfeeding I thought I would spring back to "normal" in a few weeks or so.
Here's what normal was, for reference:
And here's what I looked like at 14 weeks pregnant:
New mums face a lot of challenges. Sleepless nights, establishing breastfeeding, getting to grips with baby care and keeping any siblings and themselves fed, clean and in some sort of routine. The expectation I had of myself was clearly an unreal one, based on my images of new mothers out there: namely celebrity mums. And guess what: it was a truly unrealistic one. Not only were my expectations completely unreasonable, but so were those of others around me (I should mention here, NOT my husband) who also expected me to spring back into my previous shape within weeks.
Guess what? It is now close to three months since I have birth. I have been cycling, run/walking and swimming regularly. I have been doing strength work with my boys at least once a week. Do I look like I did before? No, I'm still way off what was normal for me.
Can my body do what it could before? Apart from the running, which really feels like hard work due to breasts three sizes bigger than before (!) and some remaining laxity in my pelvis, I am extremely proud that my body can still cycle, swim and lift weights. On top of that it can make milk, lift a toddler and a baby approximately 40 times a day, grow a baby and give birth quickly and without drugs or complications. Am I proud of my body? More than I have ever been!! Yes, I still have the mummy tummy, but my body has never been such a hardcore machine before!