My youngest, Hannah, was born 2 years ago on the 18th. I decided to document my journey with getting back into pre-pregnancy shape/size (HERE). I thought I'd share where I am at in my journey, even 2 years later, mainly because I never read other people's postpartum journey passed 6 months. So hopefully if you're a mom, this will encourage you.
Although I went down to pre-pregnancy weight fairly quickly, my body has taken time to move, re-shape, tighten, flatten, lift, etc (you moms understand all those things!). My clothes did not fit the same for a while. The biggest change for my body was my stomach. I have a little part of wrinkly skin right above my belly button that does not want to go away, and it has bothered me. Plus, my tummy was just loose in general. My stomach did NOT like being stretched so far. Ha.
Hormones are also in play for a long time after giving birth, add on taking care of bigger kids, you've got a whole pile of struggles. But once the beginning subsides, your body starts returning to normal, your love for all your kids grows, and your hormones level out (good DIET and regular exercise do the work!).
I think that the journey of becoming a mom does A LOT to you. It refines you. It challenges your priorities, your relationships, your habits. Finding your identity is crucial. If it was built on the way your body looks, or your career, your relationship with your husband, or whatever else, it can come crumbling down. Your relationship with your spouse is important but he can't be the rock that Jesus is. He can't fix your emotional problems, the longing to find fulfillment when you once worked full time to now at home all day. Your body changes and some things are permanent. It's life. Things fade away...except for the love God has for us. Laying down your expectations and just finding joy in the fact that you are a Child of God is the most rewarding thing you can do.
Since I am a Child of God, I can let go of others that wrong me. I can give up my bad habits and let Him change them. I can stop nagging my husband about things I would like to change and let the Holy Spirit do His work inside him. I can have grace with my kids and myself when we mess up (we all mess up!). Because of my identity in Him I can stop obsessing over having the perfect body and just rest in the process of the work He is doing in me, while I continue to eat and exercise how He wants me to. God has been working on my heart in all these areas.
Anyways, with lifting weights, increasing my flexibility, and working on plyometrics (bodyweight exercises), my body continues to improve. So the moms out there that have been trying for a year...keep trying! Don't give up! There is hope. I think there is so much pressure to be "back" by the one year mark. Who made that up? Seriously. When did that become the rule of thumb? If you're like me, I breastfed for a year so your appetite is crazy, hormones are still up and down, your menstrual cycle is not regulated, sleep is not always consistent, man, there are so many factors.
Entering year 2 feels like I'm entering my prime. I am so excited about what's ahead. When you're on a journey, there's different phases. It has so many highs and lows, it sees different things, and it moves at different speeds. So after having a baby, it's just a different point in your journey of being healthy. The first year postpartum not the entire journey. I think the first year was just the benchmark in regaining my strength and my body returning to normal. But the longer time passes, the flatter your stomach gets, the more your body tightens, your flexibility increases, things get lifted, incontenince goes away, but it takes consistency and time.
Year 2 also brings something new for me. I felt God calling me to start pursuing my training business again. The last 2 years it was on the shelf so I could completely focus on being a wife and mom. But recently I saw a door open so I stepped through it and I am so thankful. After I walked through, I saw all the pieces God put together for me to start doing this again. Now God is using my passion in people's lives a couple mornings a week, again. What a fun journey. And I have peace. I know this is where He wants me and I blessed to be His hands and feet in other people's lives. I have the luxury of being home all day with my girls and when I train I don't feel like I am working, it's just fun. I am blessed beyond words.
To the new mom, to the mom with 4 kids, to the pregnant mom.....keep up the good fight, stay on the journey. Learn to actually enjoy it. Forgive yourself a lot. Try new workouts. Stretch. Involve your friends and family. Find a workout buddy. Seek God and He will give you the desires of your heart.