As some of you who read my blog may know, one of the triggers of my postpartum depression was the weight that I gained during my prenatal depression. Seeing myself in that new body was hard. It was a huge source of anxiety for me while going through my postpartum depression. When I saw my psychiatrist in August to adjust my medication, one of the things that I told her was that she had to put me on medication that wouldn’t inhibit me from losing weight.
Some might say that weight loss shouldn’t be a priority when going through severe postpartum depression. To those men and women, I would gently point out that weight gain can be extremely traumatic or a psychological block. My psychiatrist completely understood this and worked with me to develop a treatment plan that was compatible with my goals.
Yes, we can have these conversations about how we shouldn’t worry about our stretch marks or our extra “mom” weight, but that mindfulness doesn’t work for everyone. For our family, my health was a huge priority. My husband understood that being healthy and fit was a huge component in my well-being and my recovery. He knew that the disappointment that I felt when looking at my body wasn’t just “body issues”. He knew that it was a trigger of the darkest times of my life. He knew it was a physical sign of the despair that I felt as I struggled to find my identity as a mother after my recovery from postpartum depression.
But he also knew that a healthy body and lifestyle was critical for good mood balance. While I do take antidepressants since I’m still in an extended postpartum period, I still manage my moods by using several holistic methods. I’ve talked before about how we made a family budget decision to invest money into a trainer to help get me back on track. As part of that training program, I participated in a fitness challenge.
The fitness challenge was a great option for me. It provided structure and gave me constraints to execute specific goals. Discipline and finding the time had been of great frustration to me now that I am a new mother. To address that angst, we used talk therapy to come to terms with who I am as a person and what I can handle vice other moms or even my husband.
I’m a low energy person. I always have been. My husband is a higher energy person. Always has been. We came up with a plan to lose the weight that incorporated both of our personalities. My husband has taken on the “default” parent role. He wakes up with the little guy three days a week so that I can get up and go to the gym for a workout session. While I workout, he gets the little guy fed, dressed and ready to go. I help out on Tuesdays and Thursdays and save the workouts on those days for the afternoon in between work or in the evenings after bedtime. When he’s pressed for time, I’ll take the baby out for long walks to give him some space. On Saturdays, we go for a long run with the baby together using our jog stroller. Then on Sundays, my husband gets the mornings off to go play pickup hockey while I go run sprints with the stroller and then meetup for a coffee date with a friend.
My husband isn’t even the default parent with just our fitness schedule. He vacuums the house, does all the laundry and is responsible for pick-up and drop-off at daycare. I clean the kitchen, do our finances and help parent.
But this arrangement works for us. We’ve both communicated clearly on our parenting abilities, what things stress us out and where we need the other to step in. My husband has been incredibly supportive of my journey to wellness and is adamant about working things out so that I don’t have to miss an exercise opportunity or a training session because he sees the benefits of my moods when I’m active. Of course, he’s got a hectic travel schedule at times, so we both try to stay flexible. If it means that I miss a workout one week than that’s fine.
Tomorrow I have my weigh-out scheduled. While I don’t think I’ll win the grand prize, the competition served as a tangible goal to strive towards while also helping give me the discipline that I needed to push through and lose the weight after I had hit my plateau.
Today I can say that after 15 months of fighting hard, I’ve lost a total of 60 pounds.
My stretch marks bother me less and I feel a sense of confidence. I’ve lost my doubt. My weight loss journey will continue, but it’s no longer tied to the darkness of postpartum depression. Now it’s simply a sunny journey to lose the next 10 pounds…just because. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Not because it reminds me of that terrible time, but because it’s a nice goal to have.