December 5, 2014

Why I’m not trying to lose the baby weight – Embracing the Roundness

The theme of my pregnancy with Elle was “embracing the roundness”.  But, first, a little background info.  I grew up very involved in all sorts activities…gymnastics, dance, horseback riding…you name it, I probably did it.  As an adult I continued on with ballet and picked up a love for running (miles on end).  I’ve always been fit and in shape…and conscious of my size.  So pregnancy weight gain was not fun. My pregnancy with Jay, I chose to not even look at the scale (seriously, I faced the other way at every appointment), because I didn’t want to know how much I’d gained.

At some point in my pregnancy with Elle, however, I had a change of heart.  I was reading a blog written by a pregnant mom who exercised several hours a day.  At the end of her pregnancy, she was lamenting having gained 11 pounds.  ELEVEN POUNDS.  Some babies come out almost that big!  Her baby, however, came out really small, even though she was full term, and her doctor said that it was due to her extreme physical activity.  Reading this made me sad for the mama and sad for the baby. I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s unhealthy to birth a low-weight baby because of excessive exercising.  At that point, it really hit me….weight gain during pregnancy is not only necessary, it’s GOOD!  Now, I’m not saying I gave myself a free pass to be lazy and eat garbage..I still tried to eat healthy and stay fit.  I did, however, decide to stop worrying about what the scale said and “embrace the roundness”.  My cheeks filled out, my abs pulled a Houdini, and my thighs….well let’s not even talk about my thighs.

And you know what?  I was totally ok with it.  My body and my baby both needed me to gain weight, and I was happy to do it.

Now that I’ve given birth, I’ve bounced right back to my dancer self.

Ta da!

Photo credit: mkd. / Foter / CC BY

Just kidding!  I don’t know who that is, but that’s definitely NOT me! (She’s a beautiful dancer though, isn’t she?)

The real me?  Well, how about I give you a view from the top:


No, that’s not my 5 month pregnant shot.  That’s all postpartum flub….but hey, this is all about embracing, right?  And I’ve definitely had to continue to embrace the roundness. (I actually had someone ask me if I’d gained weight since the last time he saw me…which was after I gave birth.  Things not to say to a woman.  Ever.)  I could wax poetic about how my postpartum body is beautiful and every stretch mark, dimple, and squishy spot is a special souvenir from the precious life I grew, but that’s not my style.  Yes, yes, it’s all true, but really for me, it’s about one thing:



Photo credit: koeb / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

(Yes, it’s that magical looking) With Jay, I lost most of the weight pretty quickly, but that was mainly a byproduct of being knocked on my behind by motherhood….I just didn’t have the mental wherewithal to eat like I needed to. Through that though, I learned that my milk supply greatly depends on my consumption of calories. Simply put, if I don’t eat enough, my supply suffers.

With Elle, I know better.  I’m making sure I get the calories I need so I can produce the milk she needs.  And because of this…I’m still nice and round.  I’ll admit, embracing this roundness has been a lot more difficult than it was during pregnancy.  Because people expect you to be round during pregnancy, you know?  But after having the baby, there’s just this assumption that you’re going to lose weight.

But what if I don’t really want to lose weight?  I mean, of course I WANT to lose weight, but you know what I want even more?  For my baby to gain weight.  Exclusively on my breast milk if I can help it.  And in order for that to happen, I’m going to put the dieting and running (because I can’t stop at just a few miles) on hold…I’m going to embrace the roundness.

And because I can already mentally hear some dissension…for the record, I still intend to eat healthy and be active.  I just don’t intend to actively TRY and lose weight (but if it happens on its own, I won’t protest).


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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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    Reply Mary Hill December 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I support your decision. I think it is great that you are doing this for your child. I think if you exercise, walk, and a eat the amount of calories you need to produce the milk for you baby, you will be healthier too. I walked a lot and ate, but had other health issues and thus my weight. But you are young and half lots of time to loose your weight. Just eat sensibly and remain moderately active. I really enjoyed your article; so if I sound preachy. Thanks for linking up with the Weekend Wind-Down Party. 🙂

    Reply The Life Of Faith December 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I was the same way when I was pregnant and then I kind of had a reality check that I was more worried about my weight and body image than the health of my baby which is WAY more important! My body obviously looks much different than it did before I was pregnant, but the joy and love that comes from my daughter is totally worth a flabby belly 🙂 Keep up the good work mama!

    Reply Andrea Mitchael December 8, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    What a wonderful and honest post, Iulia! I am right there with you — so much easier to be round when you’re pregnant! But even still — it is strange changing so dramatically … and weird not recognizing your own self in the mirror. I’ve never liked that my back gets wider when I’m pregnant. It is so amazing to have my encouraging and loyal husband to speak towards those insecurities. I am way less insecure this pregnancy — owning it! Breastfeeding brought me back to my “normal” weight, but the pounds stuck around longer than I would have wanted.

    Who in the world made a comment about you gaining weight… dumb.
    <3 ya! Thanks for being a real-life mama!

    Reply Iulia Gulia December 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one that feels this way! And good for you ladies for realizing that it’s easier just to “own it” (as Andrea put it)…especially when it’s for such a good reason!

    Reply Danielle Wells December 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Hi there! I totally agree with you! I hated being big during pregnancy and since baby was born 3 months ago my size has still bothered me. Thanks for your honesty – this post was exactly what i needed to read!

    Reply Karissa Ancell December 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I agree so much better to be a little rounder than not give your baby what needs so you can stay thin, that is sad. What a great post. Thank you for linking up with A Fresh Start’s Motivational Monday linkup, join us again

    Reply Megan Sinclair January 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Great post!

    Reply Estella April 30, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Vanessa, after yesterday, I'm wearing summer clothes – I had to go do something in town and walked around for an hour and came home completely wet (thanks to the sun and my body's rep)onses.And I started wearing my tuberoses which I'm taking as a good sign.

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