It’s Saturday and already I am thinking about the “start” of this postpartum journey.
The start, on Monday – of course – because what other day do you “officially” start something. It would be weird to start on a Friday, knowing full well that there are going to be about a hundred and two things that are going to pop-up during the weekend that would surly derail your progress. A Monday, which – for most of the normal world – is the beginning of a new work week *ugg* but in mom land, is just another day in the land of groundhogs.
** if you don’t get my attempt at being clever, it’s a nod to Groundhog Day, otherwise known as a phenomena where everyday is the same, you go through it, wake up and start again … aka MOTHERHOOD! They weren’t lying when they said that each day lasts forever but the years fly by **
Anyway, I am sitting here, after having inhaled about half a family-sized bag of Lays BBQ Chips and a 1L bottle of grapefruit Perrier, and I am already thinking of what my Monday will look like.
My Monday morning that is.
The “first day” of the rest of my life.
The first day I set off with all the excitement of a child making their way into their kindergarten class for the first time, ready for whatever will come, pumped for the journey and full of energy because this will change everything.
^^ who am I kidding though?
I will probably sleep in a bit because my husband is amazing and knows that our little miss likes to have momma snuggles and periods of being WIDE AWAKE at 11-12 and 4-5 every night. So, he will let me sleep, and if Monday is anything like today, I will wake up to a beautiful blue sky outside my window (it’s winter, you KNOW you aren’t seeing the blue sky unless it’s AT LEAST past 8 in the morning which, in this house, means I’ve already slept two hours longer than my crew.)
I digress, because our sleep patterns and my rolling out of bed with matted hair, slobber on my cheek and spit up milk all over my top is not what I wanted to talk about. Though I know you are nodding as you remember this sorry state of affairs when your little one was brand new.
I will wake up, let’s say that, and I will head on over to the bathroom which houses the dreaded SCALE. The device, I will remind myself, that only tells you the effect of gravity against this mom bod you have developed over the last half decade. This device, I will tell myself, will not tell you your worth, your value, it will not remind you of how much your body has done as it built this mom bod. It is just a number …
And I will walk to the bathroom to step on the scale.
But, before I do, I will need to go through the pre-scale ritual.
You know what I am talking about.
The things you do before you step on the scale *especially at the beginning of this journey, or even when you have hit the dreaded “plateau”*.
I will have made sure to have fed my young lady, both breasts because milk adds weight. I want those not so fun bags EMPTY for my weigh in.
And then *TMI* I will use the bathroom.
I will strip down to my birthday suit, the birthday suit that looks nothing like I remember, the birthday suit that I avoid direct contact with at all times, the birthday suit that my husband assures me is all he wants for his birthday (we have five kids y’all) but the birthday suit that I have to get reacquainted with. I will strip down, I will probably remove my pony tail and I will take a breath.
This is it.
This is the start, and the start is never good. The start is always somewhere we want to get away from.
I will try to remind myself that the WORSE the start is, the better the transformation is and, while I will avoid the temptation right now to head on over to the cupboard so that I can polish off that bag-o-chips *obviously so that they won’t tempt me when it’s game on*, the start is exactly that.
And you have to start somewhere.
And so, as I consider what Monday will feel like and how I will prepare this week and every week until I finally find out what MY body looks like, feels like, acts like when it is no long a baby or milk factory, I will remind myself that we must start before we can see progress.
From the bottom, from this point at which we have decided that enough is enough, that something has to change or that we just want improvement so much more than we value staying the same.
The bottom stinks, I don’t know of many a description out there that would describe the bottom as being the place where you want be. We all know that the bottom of the mountain makes it seem insurmountable, the bottom of the sink when it’s been filled with dishes for the past week and enough water that it is threatening to leak onto the counter or the floor … no one wants to reach in, the bottom of your journey stinks. It’s the low, it’s that place where you doubts and your fears speak the loudest *they are practically shouting* and, as you walk up to the scale so that you can at least identify what this bottom is, you KNOW it’s not going to be good.
But there is hope, you know that the bottom – so long as you are committed to climbing – is only the beginning of something that will be so worth it.
I don’t think I have ever heard a mountain climber *I hope that is what they call themselves* say that the started at the bottom, stared up at the insurmountable, climbed it, got to the top and thought “meh” or #notworthit.
We only step on that scale at the bottom once, we only need to “start” officially ONCE, because once we start, even if the number on the scale gets “worse” than the bottom, even if we fall off the wagon thirteen times, it doesn’t matter so long as we never stop.
We never give up on this journey, on this climb *or decent in the world of weight*. We focus on the goals and the victories that happen outside of the number on the scale, on the being able to sing that country song at the top of your lungs without getting winded, on the feeling of washing your dishes without having to bend over because your stomach is impeding your ability to reach the faucet (this was one of the things that drove me INSANE with my big ol’ baby bump), the laughter as you crawl your hands and knees with your children without wondering how on earth you will hoist yourself back off the floor or if you will remain stranded until your husband gets home.
We must never give up. Because the hard $#!+ today makes tomorrow easier.
And so, Saturday evening as I now enjoy a fresh glass of well water *PS I love well water!* and prepare for bed before my daughters night life takes over, I will remind myself that the scale is only a number, that number is only the beginning, and this next few months, next few years … this next HOWEVER LONG IT’S GOING TO TAKE, will be a journey of discovering MY body, MY energy, MY joy in motherhood.
So, if you are anything like me, and you are “starting” Monday, because that’s when all new things start, let’s begin today with the reminder that this journey is GOING to be worth it and that the numbers we record for the sake of identifying whether we need to make adjustments or tweaks in our methods are just that, numbers, markers, indicators of gravity’s effect on our mom bodies, and they do not – and will never – tell us the whole story.
Let’s start today by claiming victory over the scale, committing to use it as a tool for tracking progress and making changes when needed and not as a defining value of our journey and success.
Are you willing to strip down to your birthday suit Monday (or whenever) and just appreciate that this may be the bottom, this may be a climb that feels like standing at the base of fricken’ Everest, but this body – no matter how misshapen, how stretched, how saggy or awkward it may be, brought you to this amazing place of motherhood, of purpose, of passion, and THIS BODY can do great things.
Just be willing to climb everyday, even if you have to crawl, even if you need oxygen and a rest. Show up for this body everyday because you need it.