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I had Stella by c-section at the end of February, but it’s taken me a long time to heal, including a second surgery, a post-op infection, etc, etc and finally, this week I was all cleared after the last round of antibiotics.

I AM HEALED!

It just took me 9 months to do it.

I stepped on the scale today and I weigh 30 lbs more than I did when I was nine months pregnant.

30 lbs… more… then when I has hugely and heavily and impossibly pregnant and thought I was gigantic.

Here is the thing, I am deeply ashamed of this. I am horrified at myself, as if I ate donuts and cheesecake by the pound for the last nine months and gluttoned my way to this weight. I know I didn’t do that, but it doesn’t matter — that’s what I think everything else who sees me thinks. I am embarrassed of myself. I feel this so deeply that I don’t want to meet new people until I lose some weight, like I want as few people as possible to ever see me like this, and if you’re in my circle now, that’s fine, but that’s it – no new friends.

I mean it bothered me when I didn’t lose the weight from being pregnant with Cole, but there’s a certain number on the scale where you’re just like: wow, this is not humanly possible. We all have our number and I sailed past mine. Now I just step on the scale and think, “Really, this is happening, okay. I mean where’s the limit? If I can weigh this much, what is stopping me from just weighing like 500 lbs? Time? A sprained ankle? Where does it end? How far can this actually go, because at this point, I don’t even believe this is possible, so certainly I have no clue.”

It took all my will to run a workshop in September, to meet all these bloggers while still wearing a back brace and maternity clothes, unable to walk more than three blocks to find a restaurant and having to admit, “Hey guys, can we turn back?”

Yet, I want to write about this, because what is that? If I had any other kind of surgery that required nine-freaking-months to recover from, especially the kind of complications that I have had, would I feel this guilt? Would a guy? Have I internalized some rule that I am supposed to have babies and bounce back right away? Am I really like this? Aren’t I smart, funny, awesome, nice and worthy of making new friends, even though I am carrying this extra weight? I mean it’s one thing to want to be healthier, but when you start thinking that maybe you could just become a hermit, isn’t that something else?

I feel like to move forward I have to carve this self-shaming out of my psyche and almost shove it away so I can move forward. Clean slate. No looking back. It’s not easy.

So this morning, I put on my tennis shoes, took two advils, and after an hour and half of combined effort with Drew we got the kids fed, dressed and teeth brushed, and I didn’t even shower, I just pulled my hair back into a ponytail and we went to the beach, to walk. After the first five minutes, every step was painful, but I pushed on.

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The ocean makes me happy. I carried Stella in a sling and Cole ran circles around us. We made it 15 minutes down the beach until the pain in my lower back stopped me. I kept bending over to try to stretch the muscle because it felt like a spasm, but as soon as I started walking again, the pain returned. We stopped at the closest cafe and Cole was like, “That’s it?”

That’s it.

I have a long way to go. It makes me mad and frustrated but I have to let go. I have to just embrace it. Somewhere in there, there’s a lesson about body image, but the fact is, I can’t just positive-mindset myself out of this. I will get up and spend 90 minutes wrangling my children to walk 15 minutes on the beach every day for weeks, and it will suck. It will hurt. Eventually I’ll be able to walk more. Then a little more. But it’s not going to be easy. There’s a certain kindness I have to learn through this, I think, an appreciation of how lucky I am to have my health, even though it’s not on my terms. I should be less hard on myself, but honestly, truly, that’s difficult too. Little steps, salty air, the beautiful Banderas Bay stretching out to my left and my family rooting me on — those things help. For someone who always wants to dive in and do it all, and do it now, maybe I needed to learn this lesson. Be thankful, be happy, go slow, relax.

Of course, I would have much rather learned this lesson from an extremely moving TED talk or Brene Brown’s latest book, but we don’t always get what we want. You know, just let me download this knowledge and acceptance into my brain somehow like in the Matrix. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and feel differently, but right now this feels complicated, it’s not just physical therapy, it’s all mixed up in the way I feel about myself, with a dash of panic over not having any control. Little steps are so much harder for me than giant leaps. Giant leaps I can do. Being patient takes skill.