The weight of baby weight

I remember hearing a story years ago about how a friend who was breastfeeding couldn’t keep weight on her body. It was as if the baby was sucking a marathon’s worth of calories out of her and no amount of food could keep her from looking skeletal. Honestly, it kind of made me look forward to nursing after my baby was born.

Except that nursing hasn’t helped me lose weight. At all. It’s actually been the exact opposite. My body has clung to any calorie I have eaten, looked at, and even thought about.

When my brother pulled me aside recently to ask if I’m pregnant again, I felt like it was time to give myself some self-love over the 50 pounds I still haven’t shed. Side note: He’s lucky I didn’t punch him.

You see, once upon a time, when 20-something Melody was terrified of “getting fat,” I used to have nightmares about what pregnancy would do to my body. And that’s just crazy, because it’s likely that a 20-something version of me could have bounced back so much easier than what I’m going to at 41. But my post-baby-post-post-derby-post-post-post-post-injury life has given me new perspective. Well… So did a whole lot of therapy.

Here’s what I learned: my body and my experiences are not like anybody else’s. And that’s okay.

It also took talking to other women to see what they were going through. As we talked about our pregnancy experiences, none of us really shared the same stories. I had a C-section but also went through 37 hours of labor. My mom has no idea what labor is like because she had three planned C-sections. I have no idea what it’s like to feel the urge to push. One person whose baby weight fell off is another person’s baby weight that just won’t go away. Those lists go on and on. Out of my frustration, I finally found some solace — things aren’t perfect, but it’s also my life, nobody else’s. And that’s when I finally quit comparing myself to everyone else.

My dear friend Annie Maul texted me recently to check in, mom-to-mom, and see how I’m doing. We talked about our post-baby frustrations and decided together to do something called Whole Life Challenge. Annie was always a rock star at health challenges when we skated together, so when she suggested we do this six-week challenge, I was sold before I exactly knew what I was getting into.

Over the next six weeks, my team (Bad Moms!) will be counting on each other to eat healthy foods, drink over half a gallon of water a day, get regular exercise, take care of our emotional well being, and get plenty of sleep. Sounds easy enough, right? (Please tell me it’ll be easy!)

We started three days ago and despite having to give up all dairy, my normal go-to vegetarian meals (meat alternatives are out), and tacos, I’m more motivated now thanks to Annie and this challenge — and the fact that I have a friend to keep me accountable. On Saturday, I ran, I carried my baby for miles, I drank a ton of water, I stuck to approved foods. And I know the next six weeks will give me the fuel that I need to get over this initial hump.

I’d love to know: What type of fuel do you need?

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