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Monday, July 19, 2010

Zachary's Gift

Hmmmm, where to start?

I have always said that children are not supposed to bring gifts into our lives. It is their job just to be, and our job to love them and make them feel secure in this world. But having Zachary has brought such an enormous gift to my life that it is difficult to put into words.

It all starts with breastfeeding. I used to be a junk-food junkie. I paid no more attention to the junk going into my body than I did to speed limit signs along the road. I lived on fast food. I never took vitamins. The list of abuse to my body is endless. But with his birth and subsequent nursing, I started to pay more attention. Herbal supplements. Whole grains. Fresh, organic fruits and veggies. Lean meats. Lots of water. Actual exercise that doesn't involve running around a hospital while the rest of the world sleeps. And the real kicker? I started doing all of this effortlessly. Oh, I've dieted before, and it always took such effort that I gave up soon thereafter. But lately I find that making more healthful choices just comes with the territory of being a nursing mom. I don't want junk food. It has completely lost its appeal to me.

And the changes don't stop there. I take vitamins and herbal supplements now. I go on walks. I actually sleep. I am calmer, more serene. Overall, I just take better care of myself. Zach did this to me, and it got me to thinking. Is it all about breastfeeding or is a new-found appreciation of my body after surviving the pregnancy behind the changes? I think it is a combination of both.

Of course these changes are having a huge impact on my life. People around me are noticing (another post about this coming up). And the more healthful habits have manifested themselves into weight loss. Although I know my caloric needs greatly increased with breastfeeding, my appetite never did. So I am burning more and actually eating less, and at 9 weeks postpartum, I have lost a total of 45 pounds. I knew I had lost a significant amount of weight by 5 weeks when I went to my OB to be cleared for work, but the rest I didn't measure until recently. I just noticed clothes changing in the way they fit: first it was "Hey, I can fit into these shorts again!", followed by "Hey, these shorts are looser than before.", then finally "Hey, these shorts are too freakin' big to wear!" Shirts I wore right before getting pregnant are now nightgowns. And the little c-section pooch I had from having Evan, which I expected to get worse with the second c-section, is actually getting flatter.

Before you discredit this and tally it up to normal postpartum changes, let me tell you something. I looked horrible during the pregnancy. I was bloated, tired-looking. You could see the misery on my face. It oozed from my pores. But I only had a net gain of 11 pounds throughout the whole damned thing.(I emphasize "net gain" because I would gain a pound, lose 2, gain 2, lose 4, throughout.) And 7.5 of those pounds were all baby. So I actually left the hospital weighing less than I did when the little pee stick revealed its fateful two pink lines.

So now here I am. In better shape and weighing less than I have ever weighed. And this is following 5 months of bedrest and otherwise sedentary ways. Thanks, Zachary!

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