I guarantee I’m not the only woman out there who has looked in the mirror at my post-partum body and despaired. Gone is the smooth firm tummy – replaced with a wobbly stomach streaked with stretch-marks or a C-section scar.
I naively thought that the 21 kilograms I packed on while blissfully pregnant with my first son would magically ‘melt away’ after his birth. I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that breastfeeding was equivalent to running a marathon everyday.
Unfortunately, after becoming acutely unwell after my son’s birth, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and put onto heavy doses of anti-psychotics and mood-stabilisers.
When I finally came home from hospital six weeks later, I curiously stepped on the scales and was devastated to find myself only 2 kilos lighter than when I was 9 months pregnant. And my son had weighed 3.7 kilos!
Six years and two more babies later, I finally lost the last of all that ‘baby weight’ (although I’m not sure I can blame it on the baby….)
As a woman with bipolar disorder, losing weight has never been easy for me. Staying well has always been my priority, so I’ve had to put up with the weight gain which is a side effect of the anti-psychotic and mood stabilizing medications I take.
To successfully lose 21 kilograms, while remaining on my medication, took me six years of healthy eating and exercise.
After what my body and mind had been through, I was determined not to go on the latest ‘milkshake’ diet and starve it of nutrients – but to nourish it with fresh, nutritious food.
With three preschoolers around, it became even more important to me that they see their mum exercising and eating healthily. I didn’t have the option of going to a gym during the day, but discovered I loved exercising with the kids outdoors.
An exercise class for mums got me running for the first time since high school – with my two and four year olds in the pram acting as my coaches, urging me to ‘keep running mummy – don’t stop!’
I still struggle with my eating habits (especially when I’m around chips…), but I’ve learnt that it is possible to be on medication and lose weight….slowly, but surely.
Has motherhood or medication caused you to struggle with your weight? I’d love to hear your comments or stories.