Friday, July 11, 2008

Body Image Vanity

Over on one of my favorite blogs How Do You Do It, a mom posted about her struggle with deciding whether to undergo plastic surgery for the dreaded "twin skin".

I used to think I was someone who wasn't very vain about my appearance (okay, except for my eyelashes). After all, I haven't been "skinny" (size 4/6) in about a decade. But that hasn't stopped me from feeling down in the dumps about the stretch marks that now literally cover my stomach - and even creeping now on my hips and waist. The recent shot of Jennifer Lopez in her bikini (in US Weekly) without nary a stretchmark or evidence of twins living in her body for 9 months did not help.

Of course there is no point in contemplating surgery since Husband and I are not 100% sure we're done having kids (or rather that I am done carrying our future progeny). But once we do I think I might consider it if we have the money - and a boob lift to boot.

One "Big Law" related item - you don't often see "bigger" women who are attorneys practicing at Big Firms. Most of the time if you read novels about driven lawyers or know them personally they get up at like 5 am to go for a 5 mile run before getting ready for work. I have found it difficult not to be a skinny lawyer when most of the women I work with are. I do worry about how I'm going to fit in work outs while taking care of the tykes and working at Big Firm.

How do other moms manage to lose the weight? Or how have you come to love yourself as you are? Any pressure from husbands to lose weight immediately after giving birth? (don't worry, Husband hasn't said anything to me but he's been losing weight as I've put it on)


Rhonda said...

Most of the mothers of multiples that I know lost all of their pregnancy weight and sometime more than they gained during pregnancy during the first 6-12 months postpartum. If you are at home alone with the babies during the first year, then you don't have much time to eat beyond keeping yourself alive.

For me at least, weight hasn't been an issue, but body SHAPE, now that is never going to be the same ever again.

Rebecca said...

One word: breastfeed.

If you can make BFing multiples work, you won't have to worry about gaining weight. In fact, weight loss became a problem for me around 5-6 months post-partum. I was so busy and they ate so much that the weight just fell off.

At 15 months post-partum, I've gained a few pounds back but I'm still at least 5lbs under pre-pregnancy weight.

A. said...

The whole "you'll lose tons of weight while your breastfeeding" thing was a little more of a myth for me. I lost a lot of weight at first, but I think that's because all the raging hormones really lowered my appetite and I had a hard time eating. That went away after a month or two, and I had a very hard time losing the last 15 pounds or so from my pregnancy (I gained about 35 total by the end).

When Finn was 14 months old, I decided that I could no longer blame the weight on "the baby," who was now a full-fledged toddler, and we bought a treadmill. Finding time to exercise is one of the hardest things I face, and I don't work nearly as many hours a week as you do. The treadmill allows me to work out right after we put Finn to bed, a few days a week. I've combined it with actually logging the calories I eat each day, which keeps my diet on track. I'm now officially 6-8 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight (depending on the day), and still losing.

If you keep up this insane work schedule when you go back to work in 6 months, you will not find time to exercise, which is really the only way to regain some of your former shape (pounds may come off through diet alone, but to get rid of the tummy you need to exercise). If you can work out a "part time" deal where you only work about 40 hours a week, jump on that exercise equipment that's gathering dust in your sunroom :-). But definitely give yourself several months, even a year, before you start pressuring yourself a lot. They say "9 months on, 9 months off," but I bet those stats are a little different for MoM's. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

As a not-skinny lawyer myself (and in NYC to boot where everyone is a rail), I feel your pain about long hours and time to workout, etc. I decided a few months ago to really commit to it and get a trainer, etc. only to be reminded of an important lesson after 6 months of working out hardcore 5-6 times a week - having been on many, many different types of diets and workout regimes over the last decade (the latter mostly before becoming a lawyer), your weight has a lot more to do with what you put in your mouth than what you log on that treadmill. Those same women I know who run 5 miles every morning also have a yogurt with some honey and almonds for lunch most days and that's it. Exercise certainly helps speed things up and tones your body and is great for your body/mind/health for other reasons, but I have never really lost substantial weight just by working out but I have always lost weight just by dieting. So all of this is to say that weight loss, in my experience, has never really been about the exercise. That being said, healthy eating requires a lot of planning in and of itself and that too takes time, but at least for me, that's often been easier to do than the gym so just know logging time at the gym is not your only option for losing pregnancy weight.

Anonymous said...

Well if you're hiring a baby nurse for a month, maybe you need to hire a trainer for a month (me). :-)

Seriously though, breastfeeding can help take the weight off. But it always boils down to the BORING answer of eating sensibly and exercising so that calories out are greater than calories in. Easier said than done, I know.

When it comes to exercise, I think it needs to be scheduled like any other appointment. Set the time and treat it like an important client meeting. You wouldn't skip out on a deal because you "just don't feel like it." Same thing with workouts. I think it's extra important for moms to find time to exercise because it does so much to improve your overall sense of well-being. Which in turn makes you better able to deal with the demands of small children as well as setting an example of a healthy lifestyle for them.