ya'll. it's time. six months postpartum, and without further ado, here are the pics. also please enjoy the awkward shots of my bedroom.
overall, i am pretty pleased. since i already recapped my workout routines in this post, i am just going to give you the low down on what my experience was getting back into shape after birth and some things i forgot to mention.
one) i really did my best not to stress about it at first. trust me, the time to think about building muscle is not when you have postpartum blues, little to no sleep, and are recovering whether from birth or surgery. those first couple of weeks, just focus on your little one and letting your body heal. the weight comes off naturally especially if you breastfeed (which i HIGHLY recommend if at all possible). just go in the with the expectation that even though you are not pregnant, you will still look 5 months pregnant for a little while, that's ok- it's natural. what took nine months to build will not bounce back one day after giving birth. and despite what our media tells us, getting back to your pre-baby jeans should not be your number one goal after birth. bond with your baby, let yourself rest and recover and do your best not to stress (trust me, you'll have plenty of other stuff to worry about!!!)
two) a lot of people keep up their regular exercise routines during pregnancy and attribute that to their weight loss. ya'll --- i did not keep up my fitness routine. i went from running/working out semi-hardcore to just walking. i didn't have any special medical complications that prevented me from exercising... other than the fact that oh yeah i was growing a human being. pregnancy is not the time to stress about workouts. however, i found that walking helped me just keep my moods somewhat level (although my husband may disagree) it got me outside and helped me stay a little more positive. but i was not, i repeat not one of those girls running/lifting weights during pregnancy and that's ok.
three) yes your body comes back, no not everything is the same. for me, everything is mostly back to the way it was except there are a couple parts with a little cotton stuffing. my lower abdominals and oddly enough my side/back ribs carry a little extra lovin. time will tell to see if i completely lose this but in the mean time, i'm not worried. i was for a while and then i thought to myself, eff it. i look good, i feel good, i carried a freaking baby, let's rock this while i got it. because trust me in 10 years - you'll probably wish for this body again.
four) i am still 10 lbs off or so from what my pre-baby weight was, and that's ok. i am working out consistently, i have muscle tone and i am still nursing exclusively. i am letting it rest for now, of course i hope that with a regular running routine, i can one day reach that number again... but for now, i am letting it go. be realistic and realize that even if you don't reach what your original goal was, you aren't failing.
five) listen to your husband/partner for support and compliments after birth. you guys, giving birth no matter which way you do it... is not glamorous. in fact, i would venture to say, it is probably one of the least glamorous things you will ever do in your life. it's amazing and somewhat cool and you get a baby, so definitely worth it. but it can leave you feeling a little deflated self-esteem wise. i definitely felt that and i loved it/identified when giuliana rancic talked about the "momjo" in her show or basically just not losing that sexy post-baby. again, it does come back. you probably aren't going to feel terribly sexy three weeks out but give it some time. once you feel comfortable leaving the baby, get yourself together, put on some makeup and go out with your husband, even if it's just for an hour or two. j and i went out for the first time on our anniversary when little was about two months old. just doing that was such a big step and helped me feel a little bit back to my old self. you can still rock it with a baby, see below for proof. love that gwen.
six) you guys, final piece of advice - try not to let it be your focus. you get a baby. a beautiful, precious human being that lived inside of you for nine months and now is out in the world. if someone told me i had to hack off my nose in order to get her, i would do it gladly.