Love, Joleen: Guest Blogger: Carmen of The Blue Swallow | Postpartum Style

Friday, September 13, 2013

Guest Blogger: Carmen of The Blue Swallow | Postpartum Style

Happy Friday, friends! Please help me to welcome today's guest blogger, Carmen, of The Blue Swallow. She is here to talk about postpartum style and I'm so happy to share this after receiving so much feedback on my post about postpartum hair loss. Sometimes it's nice to stand arm in arm and skip down the street together, doesn't it?
Ever put on a maternity shirt after you finally start "showing" and think you look great? Ever put that same maternity shirt on after baby and think "this still fits?" Yeah me neither...okay I'm lying. I wasn't always into fashion or style, until I met my hubby (who is a walking GQ poster...seriously). Before I was pregnant though, I gained a sense of what I felt cute and comfortable in. Prior to then I used to wear men shorts and t-shirts or baggy pants, with the occasional skirt or dress depending on what holiday it was. Please understand though that I am 5'4'' and quite petite, so those clothes really weren't the best fit for my body. However, after enjoying my abrupt introduction into fashion from hubs and our own version of "What Not to Wear," I learned how to dress my body and even more so enjoyed dressing myself while expecting! From umpire waist dresses and skirts to maternity cigarette pants with wedges, I was quite the fashionista! It was AFTER pregnancy I encountered the problem. Maybe you can relate.
Before - During - After
I ended up having an emergency c-section with our son, Kai, and though I healed quickly and my stomach seemed to creep back to normal slowly but surely, I couldn't fit into normal jeans or pants anymore. My c-section incision caused all my pants to feel uncomfortable, so I wore maternity pants for some time. This is quite normal when transitioning back into your pre-prego size (so don't feel too bad first time mom). But, I felt so frumpy wearing my maternity pants 6 even 7 months later (none of those clothes fit me in the last picture... I tried). I'm not a huge advocate of keeping the same size clothes as motivation for getting back to that size. I've always fluctuated in weight, so I have a wide range of clothes from 8 - 12/14 in my closet (I've never seen a size 2 or 4 and I'm okay with that). Looking at that last picture though caused me to realize the drastic change in not only my clothes, but my body. As much as I had hoped, I didn't bounce back like I wanted to and this small pouch doesn't help either. My body had and has completely repositioned itself. My chest is larger from nursing, my hips are wider, but my butt is flatter (how that happened I don't know). Lastly, my tummy is now a small pouch of fat/skin that only can be covered with loose fitting shirts or high-waist pants. How do you work with that?

Well with some intervention and many days waking up before work and crying because I couldn't find anything to wear, I realized several things. For some it is easier than others to recover from having a baby, but for those that may be like me here are a few things that have helped me through this transition:

1. ACCEPTANCE: Sure it's easier said than done, but the truth is your body has changed! Whether you're able to get back into your skinny jeans or had to move up a size or two, your body is not the same. Accepting that takes time. Our son is going on 13 months and I'm just getting to a place of being okay with my incision and extra flab of skin. With any transition, acceptance is key and will help you dress yourself better and with a style you love!

2. BE HEALTHY: When I entered into the world of nursing I ate ridiculously for the sake of nursing. Then my body adjusted and I realized that I couldn't continue eating like a starving animal and I had to step into healthier habits and even exercise (say what?). Though I accepted the things I could not change like stretch marks and saggy skin, I knew that I would easily be 10-15lbs heavier if I didn't take care of this new body of mine. Even if you're taking a hike with baby strapped to your chest or a stroll around the neighborhood; once you're able to...get active. Enjoy your snacks and cheat days, but you only have ONE BODY, so be good to it.

3. WEAR WHAT FITS: My chest from nursing did NOT fit my medium shirts, and there was absolutely no getting by that. My hips have become much wider, but my waist is still small so I had that weird gap in the back of my pants. So in the interim I had to purchase clothes that fit my body. Yes some of them were my husband's white t's, but if this is your temporary size then find some items on consignment or at thrift stores!  Don't resort to sweat pants and velor jumpsuits (are those still in?). Also don't beat yourself up at the size on the tag! The number on the tag is between you and the tag. If you can fit into it then wear it! The worst thing you can do is be uncomfortable AND look uncomfortable.

4. BE REALISTIC & LOVE YOU: You made a baby for Pete sake! That takes a lot of love, blood, sweat, and tears...literally! Don't forget that you did this as a labor of love and no scar, stretch mark, or sag can say otherwise. Even if this was an unexpected labor of love like our son was, remember your sacrifice was and will always be worth it. Yes I look at myself and wish my tummy was back to "pre-baby," but I wouldn't trade my sweet boy for any flat abs! So I say take in to account all change takes time, loving the new you takes give it the time it needs. I've learned to not just love the body I have, but more so love the person and mother I've become.

Take that new style and wear it proud! Love your new body and it will most certainly love you back.
Carmen Galeano works in the field of Social Work by day and sows her roots in the world of crafting later in the evenings...after bedtime of course. With a deep appreciation for D.I.Y.'s, fabric, felt, and creativity, she has embarked on her own journey of blogging and starting up her own small business The Blue Swallow. Her heart is stolen by two boys, her husband Maycol and their son Makai (13 months). Between running after her son, partnering with her husband who is a youth pastor, and making new memories with family and friends, she is soaking up all that life has to offer. 

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