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From Skinny Jeans To Stretch Pants

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Kristine, 9 months pregnant and her husband Mike (credit: Erik Oginski)

Kristine, 9 months pregnant and her husband Mike (credit: Erik Oginski)

Doctors recommend pregnant women, of average weight, gain 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy.  I gained 60.  Actually, I had my son a day shy of my next weigh in, so I am pretty sure the grand total was closer to 65. There. I said it. Well, I wrote it, but you get the idea.

A few months back, I said to my husband, “I have no idea how I gained so much weight.” He laughed and replied, “maybe it was all those salami sandwiches.”

18 months later, and I am (almost) back to my old self.   Looking back on my pregnancy, I was hungry all.the.time.  I didn’t have morning sickness, in fact I had the opposite.  I had morning, noon and night (and overnight) hunger pains.  So I ate.  And I ate.  And then I ate some more.  I devoured one entire box of gorgonzola cheese crackers from the Trader Joe’s next to the nail salon, while I enjoyed a pedicure on my swollen, pudgy feet.

Did I think I would have to lose all the weight after I delivered?  Well, sure but I also believed all those Hollywood actresses who said “all I did was breast feed and the weight just fell off”.  Liars!

I had a 3 month maternity leave, and losing the weight became a part time job for me, in between caring for my newborn.  I took walks up steep hills, pushing the stroller, climbed trails with him strapped to my chest, and eventually resorted to cutting out all processed foods (and most carbs, which was pretty much like ripping all my toe nails off.  So, so painful).  By the time I returned to work, I had lost all but 10 of the 60 pounds.  I felt accomplished, but I was also mad at myself for spending those 12 weeks thinking just as much about my muffin top as my sweet, growing baby boy.  Why was I so obsessed with getting back into my skinny jeans?

Well, for one, it is part of my job to look good.  TV news is a visual medium.  I am also a perfectionist.  I do my hair and makeup every day, and that didn’t change when I became a mom.  My showers are shorter, my hair is usually in a pony tail, and my make up routine is down to 3 minutes (2 if I can apply mascara with one hand and lip gloss with the other), but I still get ready, every single day.  (And no, I don’t have a nanny.  I use nap time or I wake up before Griffin does.)

BUT, I realize we, as a society put way, way too much pressure on pregnant women, and new moms.  Maternity clothes have gotten tighter, shorter, and sexier (what happened to the maternity mumu?), and we are inundated with cover stories announcing that “6 weeks post baby and (insert Hollywood star) has shed all her baby weight, AND an additional 5 pounds!”

Have we lost sight of the fact that we are growing another human being?  Shouldn’t I be proud of myself for birthing a healthy baby boy, instead of criticizing myself for still wearing maternity clothes 2 months (alright 3 months) post-delivery?

You know, I didn’t take a single photo of my son and me in the first few weeks of his life.  I couldn’t stand to look at my round, pudgy face.  I can’t believe I was so vain.

My husband and I do plan on having another child (not anytime soon, people I just got back into my skinny jeans!).  Next time around, I do plan to make healthier food choices, perhaps a chicken sandwich instead of salami.  It wasn’t healthy for me to gain so much weight.

But, I also plan to be easier on myself.  A-list celebs and models may walk the red carpet or runway a month after delivering, but they also have trainers, meal delivery services and home gyms.  I don’t even have a gym membership!

So, I may not have rock hard abs, but I do have the sweetest baby boy I ever did see!  And I am pretty sure my muffin top makes a good cushion when he sits on my hip.

What do you think?  Is there too much pressure on new moms to look perfect?

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