Motivation and Unexpected Inspiration…

36 Weeks Pregnant Singleton vs Twins (1)

During the post-partum journey, it is a struggle to find any “normalcy.” Hormones are raging little wars in your mind making things that would typically be commonplace in your day, something to be reckoned with. Breast feeding tricks your corpulent body into thinking it’s still pregnant holding onto every minuscule fat cell in case your baby needs it. Stretched hips, stretched skin, stretched abdominals all aching with the recent gestation of human life. Human life that grew inside my body, in this case, two human lives. While I bask in the fortuitous blessing of twin sons, my heart skipping every other beat with each giggle and smile, I can’t help but to cringe when I notice my husband glancing at my voluminous profile when I walk in the room. Pushing the oversized stroller in the first couple of months made me feel like my body was “covered.” Having given birth to twins 7 months ago Saturday I often hear, “You have an excuse – you just had twins!” While the very statement is true, I can’t help but understand it implies “You’re fat my dear, but it’s okay. Look what you just went through.” Everything changes when you have a baby and there are days when I am so overwhelmed with joy that my heart actually aches with happiness and I am in a constant state of AWE. Complete and total AWE. It’s with great vexation that I say I spend the other 50% of my days thinking about the horrific state my outward appearance is in. Is that fair? No way. My body just internally ran 6 plus marathons for 10 months. I just went through one of the hardest to endure physical moments of my life. And with a smallish frame at the height of 5′ 2′ my body was surprisingly capacious! My husband towards the end would lament that my tummy looked like a torpedo, (sexy, right??) Still, I managed to nourish both of my sons at the breast for the first 6 months of their lives and to care for them night (I emphasize all night long) and day, making them and their two year old sister my priority number one. I suffered minor hip displasia and severe diastasis recti as a result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure or “loading.” Both of which make exercising and typical running regimens a new found obstacle. Any sundress I attempt to don proudly emphasizes my new “pooch” that resembles a 5 month pregnancy, held high as though I am carrying a girl, right under my boobs. While I smile with pride and presumed blithe going about my day, I can’t help but feel solicitous about my appearance. What I endured was worth every single moment of pain and discomfort. It was worth all of the sleepless nights (then and now). But must I look so FLUFFY???

Now as I move forward and try to find motivation through helpful Websites, challenge groups, blogs by women in the same situation, I am finding solace in “this is what it is.” There is an insurmountable barrage of get skinny fast gimmicks, promises to “lose the baby weight once and for all” with celebrities at the forefront sporting amazingly fit three-month post-pregnancy bodies in bikinis I wouldn’t have worn pre-pregnancy. I hung a photo on my fridge pre-pregancy that made me feel good for about a week. I changed the photo on my iPhone to the same photo so I could be tortured with every glance and I watch everything Hollywood with a discerning eye. I am on a journey, that is for sure. Not to get my pre-pregnancy body back, but to begin diminishing this giant waistline I now have. I am in a downswing currently with body image driving my desire and it’s not what I want. I need to focus on long term results that of being a healthy, fit mama to these three bambinos. I know my determination and hard, tire less work will undoubtedly pay off. I need to take a moment to relish and pay tribute to what this magnificent body of mine just went through. In a matter of two years, I brought three human lives into this world. And I am not advocating for a superfluous outpouring of comments from my followers, I simply wanted to provide insight into my daily fight so you can know you’re not alone, in whatever your journey is at this moment. I also have decided today, I am going to use this photo of me 36 weeks pregnant with my daughter and 36 weeks pregnant with my twin sons as MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION to reach my fitness and health goals, rather than a photo of Beyonce’s amazing unjustifiably perfect post-pregnancy body. Because if I could go through that, then I can go through anything. Including finding that smaller me inside this hard-to-recognize body. Stand tall and fight the good fight. With fortuitous vigor I didn’t even know my body and mind had, I was met with accomplishing something I never knew I wanted and that was carrying twins without any bed rest or any physical problems, full-term, at “advanced maternal age.” Temporary pain, forever the gain. No truer words have been put to the test for me right now.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

Are you feeling this way? Do you have something to share? I would love to hear from you as always.

Put yourself to the test today and find the beauty within the fight you’re fighting – be it to be a better you, to help someone out, to be there for someone that needs you or to put a stamp on something you believe in. Today is a gift and tomorrow is just a promise. Live with high hopes and dreams. I have to remind myself of this at times (sometimes twice daily). Love to you all!

XO ~ Stephanie

111 Miles Since March

We are going to begin our walks for August tomorrow – I have been so adamant to get in at least 10 miles a week since Mattelyn’s birth. We did really well in April, May and June and July it just got TOO HOT!! But tomorrow, we are going to stick to it! I am planning on logging 55 miles in August and participating in the Instagram #55milesinaugust project. Having something to motivate me always helps!

I keep a log of all our miles on a calendar and use the “walkmeter” app on my iPhone to log mileage. I think it will be fun for her to get older and see how many miles we walked her first year with photos and all. I believe it sets a good, healthy example early on in her little life. She will enjoy seeing the photos of us – her in the stroller and our dog Mikki on her leash attached.

Since she will be 5 months this weekend on the 6th, it has become increasingly challenging to take walks in her stroller. She is young enough that she still has to be in the car seat but old enough that she doesn’t sleep the whole walk now. She wants desperately to be out of the harness! For the first three months, she would sleep for a good two hour walk and I took full advantage of that even in very cold, icy Chicago winter March and April weather. Now, we have had to cut down the mileage because she doesn’t want to be constrained for that amount of time and gets hot inside her car seat. When she was only a month or two old, the wind was a big part of our walks because it would take her breath away. I began putting the Advent Gauze thin summer blankets over the car seat so that the wind wouldn’t catch her. (I will post photos of her when we first started walking until now – pretty cute as she has grown). We even did our first 5K the beginning of this June.

I am excited for what month 5 brings us for our walks. I believe she will be sitting upright on her own this month (really, anytime now – she is very strong and determined). When that happens, it will be a lot of fun for her as she will be able to sit forward facing in her City Mini stroller and out of her car seat! And I will be able to jog with her! Looking forward to that.

At the same time, it makes me a little sad to know that she is growing so quickly. She is going to be out of her car seat in the stroller and no longer facing me as we walk. I won’t see that tiny smiling face looking at me or her sweet expressions while she sleeps. I won’t be able to stare at her wondering what she is going to talk about on our walks when she can talk. As I get emotional thinking about it even as I write this, I know it is something that is only the beginning of a long list of this type of thing I am going to have to get used to.

As we venture out to log our miles in August tomorrow, participating in the motivational healthy lifestyle perpetuated through social media, adding to her calendar of mileage, I will be sure to take my time looking at her pretty little curious face and enjoy the weather and our familiar two and a half miles that our dog Mikki basically leads for us. We have logged 111 miles since she was born March 6th and I logged 245 miles while I was pregnant with her. I think it will be fun to know how many miles she walks throughout her life.

Until tomorrow…

These photos are from our very first walk in March. She is SO TINY and brand new!!!ImageImage