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The Post-Partum Belly Doesn’t Look Good On Me

Pregnancy is exciting. People celebrate every milestone; positive pregnancy test, first ultrasound, gender announcement, baby showers, baby bumps, delivery, etc… But then what? The baby comes, the onslaught of people come and go and they take your precious sleep with them. Then you’re left holding a baby, tired and fat. No one prepared me for that realization.

Don’t get me wrong. Caring for your baby is an amazing gift.

But an extra 30 lbs, a sagging belly and limited wardrobe choices as a result had me feeling depressed as I hit eight weeks post-partum. I didn’t feel like myself and I knew that if I allowed myself to slip into a funk, the entire family would suffer. I couldn’t do that to them.

So instead of focusing solely on being the mommy to a newborn, two kids and a wife – I decided it was time to add myself back into the mix. It was time to get off the roller coaster of napping, nursing, school drop offs and laundry.

It was time to get off the couch.

It took me three kids to finally get it right – Nap when the baby naps. Yeah! Eight weeks in, I threw that plan out the window. New plan – work out when the baby naps. Now I was on to something.

I started out walking in the Alpharetta/Roswell neighborhoods every other day, then jogging. Soon enough, I was running through the streets once again and I felt fantastic. Baby Nile was home, sleeping amid the noise of her brothers, oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t home.

At three months post-partum, we had our routine down. I knew when she would be awake, nurse, play and sleep. So I put that schedule to work for me – and got back to Crossfit. Of course you knew that was coming.

Here’s how I did it:

6:00 am First feeding

6:20 am Baby back to sleep

8:00 am Breakfast for me and family, water

8:30 am In the car – drop brother at school

9:00 am Second feeding, at the school

9:30 am Baby cat nap, maybe

10:00 am Play, snack for me, water

10:50 am Get dressed for gym

11:00 am Third feeding

11:30 am Drive to gym

11:40 am Settle her for a nap

12:00 pm Class starts

Seems easy? Absolutely not. This was a monumental feat every other morning. I had to hit every time mark in order for this to go right. She set the feeding schedule and I worked everything else around it. There was no room for chit chat with other moms, texting, Facebook, emails, long grocery trips, traffic, nothing! This became serious business.

But the strict regimen was worth every pound lost.

My fellow WOD partners welcomed me back and encouraged me every step of the way. My lifts were light, but I was present. Baby Nile slept in her bassinet, in the corner of the gym, unfazed by the blaring music. Then something happened. 90 days into that routine, I saw myself in the mirror. I was back to me.

At six months post-partum, I smiled because I could finally fit comfortably into my pre-pregnancy jeans. To celebrate, I went out and bought a new pair. And a couple of shirts. And a pair of shoes. And – that’s it.

Yes, my baby took her morning nap in the Crossfit box. Amidst the chalk dust, loud music and dropping weights she peacefully lay as if she were in the park surrounded by daisies. Meanwhile, I got back to myself one hour at a time.

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