Monday, April 23, 2012

Mommy Style Monday #28: Postpartum "Style" Week One and Two.

I placed a set of quotation marks around the word style because, in all honesty, the first two weeks of postpartum life are so flipping difficult that if you simply make it out of bed and into something other than a hospital gown, then you are doing great.  In fact, for the first four days of Angus's life, I was in the hospital bed, gown on, with only brief moments of moving to the bathroom and/or window (to remind me that, yes, there was a world left out there).  And bear in mind I only moved as long as my painkillers had kicked in.  (I am a big wimp when it comes to pain.  The pain, OMG, the pain.)

The very last day in the hospital, I attempted to dress myself and discovered that the blouse I had brought to wear (and it was maternity, I am not crazy enough to believe I could walk out of the hospital in normal clothing) was too small on my hips.  Wah!  I had worn it in my pregnancy and in no way, shape, or form was it too small on my hips.  I asked the nurse about this and she said that c-section mommas, because of all the fluids they give during surgery and thereafter, often keep the water weight in their legs, hips, and waists.  Well, yay for me.  No.

So thank goodness the shirt I had worn to the hospital still fit on the way out of the hospital.
5:15 AM, Sunday Morning, March 25, 2012.  Yeah we take photos before getting in the car to go the hospital to give birth.  Yeah, we sentimentally roll like that (even if Mr. Dina closes his eyes).  BTW, that bright yellow top saved me...I had nothing else to wear home from the hospital.  Take a look here to see it on me on the way home.

Once I got home, I spent all day Thursday in bed (Thursday was my first full day home).  I happily took my painkillers every four hours on the dot and slept as need be.

By Friday we needed to take Angus to the doctor, and I knew that it was really important for me to give it a go even if I may overdo it (and I did, btw, but I spent Saturday recovering, fwiw).

I still had a TON of water weight on my hips and legs, which meant that I still could only wear soft, comfy leggings (these are the Maternity Leggings from Boden) and super flowy, soft, soft, soft tops (this is an ancient J. Crew top made from a cotton jersey).  Since I was feeling a bit tired and ache-y, I limited my accessories to the J. Crew palm springs necklace and a pair of Missoni for Target flats.  I did manage a bit of makeup, but again, very subdued.

I absolutely love J. Crew's weekend wear, they do understand what "sort of stylish and comfy" can look like, and if you are in the throws of only being able to wear comfy clothes daily (for whatever reason), J. Crew's weekend wear is the place to go...especially on sale (which is the only way I will buy it, the pieces always seem to go on promo with an extra percentage off).

So since I still had a bit of water weight throughout my hips and thighs, I pulled out the Saturday pants in grey, added a pair of glitter flats, and put on my crewcuts star shirt (made from a super soft cotton).  My daughter asked me to...wouldn't have been my first choice but I felt bad that I couldn't spend a ton of time with her (constant feedings and sleeping prevented that) so I said sure.  I think I may have worn this outfit for a grand total of one hour that day, for dinner.  I figured it was better than nothing. :)

And here is where the true version of postpartum me comes out.  Because of the flowy nature of the first J. Crew top (the one in pink) and because the crewcuts top was black, I was able to really hide the effects of the water weight from the eyes around me (and your eyes, too).

However, on Monday (one week and one day after Gus was born), I heard we were going to Five Guys (mmm, Five Guys!), and I wanted to again just dress up a little.  So I pulled on the Boden Maternity Leggings, a Mossimo tank top (Target), the Paisley Gust Cardigan from Anthropologie, and my Cole Haan penny loafers.  I actually thought I looked halfway decent...until I saw the photos and realized you could for sure see all the excess poundage on my abdomen.

I could have changed, but in the end, I was all, "screw that."  I don't know.  Maybe I just felt good enough (thank you, Percocet), or maybe I was (and still am) proud that I carried a MASSIVE baby in my belly for ten months (well the massive part was only the last month or so) and was not afraid to show off the evidence of it, ESPECIALLY since I had just given birth.

I also felt proud that I was walking around, smiling, functioning, etc.  After my birth experience with both Rex and CW, to do so a mere week and one day is saying something.  (I had to use a cane after both of their births, for a couple of weeks, AND I was in far more pain with both of their births.)

Anyhow, I know that the above outfit is definitely a style "no," but because of the particular situation I was in, I actually believe it was a style "yes" because I had the exact right attitude to pull it off.  So there.  ;)

 Ah, Angus me boy.  (He looks so cute here.)

The top part of this outfit is actually salvageable, especially if I tuck the tank into a cute pair of jeans and add a statement necklace or a scarf.  BTW, we are at Five Guys.  My smile is directly related to my little cheeseburger I had just eaten.

(We go to Five Guys at least twice a month.  It is my local restaurant done good.  I grew up one block from the original in Arlington, so it definitely is important for me to see it succeed the way it has.)

Okay, so even though I owned my atrocious outfit (you go girl and all that jazz), I knew I had to learn from the next day I decided to wear my pink maternity shorts, my striped blue/white maternity top, J. Crew necklace, and trusty Cole Haan penny loafers.

I clearly do not hold weight in my upper torso, arms, and lower legs, but I still felt I needed to wear a maternity top because I needed to have the extra give for the hips.

By Thursday (one week and a few days after Gus's birth), I was seeing the pounds falling off and my hips going back to semi-normal (still larger, but I could feel the difference when I put on certain pants).  Instead of these J. Crew pepper pants sitting below my hips, I was actually able to pull them on to my waist and almost cinch the tie.  The material is very flexible and (say it again now) soft, so I spent the day in a cashmere/silk/terry cloth heaven.  Yum.  Gus was in heaven, too, in his adorable striped bodysuit.

Still showing my curves here, but it truly is amazing what a body can go through.  I know women are meant to be able to do this, but it still boggles my mind.  (If you are a doctor or nurse, I am sure it is old hat by now, but for a lay person like myself, I am stunned by the human body's flexibility.)

This was taken nearly two weeks after Gus was born.  Again, still wearing the leggings and a super stretchy tunic, but I could see and feel the difference in my body compared to the first few days out of the hospital.  I wear that smile honestly.  By this point I was off the hardcore painkillers (quickest yet, btw, with Rex and CW I needed them for nearly four weeks) and felt so excited to go out and get out.

I know some of you saw these two photos already (the tunic was part of last week's Boden Weekly Review Roundup), but I wanted those of you who didn't see that post to understand how nice it felt to have a wardrobe piece that could work so effortlessly with my changing figure.

So here are my thoughts on postpartum "style":

1. It is going to be hard.  REALLY REALLY HARD.  Even if you don't have a c-section or complicated normal birth, your body will be your enemy.  For some women it will be WEEKS before you feel even semi-normal (this was me with Rex and CW, but not Angus).  For other women, you'll pop back into normalcy mere days after giving birth (and trust me, I am in awe of you if you do that).  But for most of us, we will be somewhere in the middle, between two to four weeks.

2. Your body will not bear any resemblance to its pre-pregnancy shape for a long while, likely.  Even though I have lost almost 26 pounds of the 31 I gained (as of today's weigh in), I still have an extra three inches on my waist, and an extra inch at my high and low hip.  And thanks to Angus being hungry constantly, I am now one cup size bigger.  For some of you, your weight will hang out in your belly, for others, you will gain near porn star sized "girls," and for some of you, your feet will have increased in size.  With Rex, I never got back to my normal size...I instead got pregnant with CW.  After CW, I was SO SURE that I would always be a size 10-12 in pants, and a size 8-10 in tops that I overbought and now have a ton of clothes that only fit when I was postpartum with her.  (Most of these I have since sold.)  It took me a whole year after she was born to get back to normal, BUT I DID.  And when I did, I was all, "oh, postpartum period was just really long, and that's okay."  And now I tell everyone, DO. NOT. OVERBUY. CLOTHING. WHEN. POSTPARTUM.

3. Because your body feels so different and so painful and so bloated (likely), just accept that style in the first couple of weeks is a fairly fluid notion...leggings, casual wear, stretchy tunics and top are all great.  If your feet don't see the inside of heels until months later, so be it.  YOUR body will let YOU know what you need.  If style means you simply got up, put on something other than PJs, took a shower, and maybe put on some lip gloss, then that is what the style is for you.  If, however, you feel fantastic and want to wear real jeans (with buttons and zippers, no less), then you go on with your bad self.  ;)

4. You may be in your maternity clothing for a full three months after pregnancy, so don't be in a super rush to sell or donate it.  If you had a c-section, especially, since that scar can be sore and makes sense to use pants with a belly band top rather than traditional button/zip pants until your scar is completely healed.  (Likely completely healed by six weeks postpartum, usually coinciding with your checkup with your OB/GYN.)

5. Oh, and because I didn't realize this myself until it was too may need to bring more than one top and pants to go home from the hospital in...even what you are sure will fit you may not fit you.  Just bear that in mind when packing your hospital bag.

Anyone else have early postpartum style advice???

P.S. We'll talk  you all may have noticed, my blog writing is WAY down.  There are days where I am unable to get on the computer until way late at night, and because of my love for the vino, most of those nights I am just not really using the sharpest knife in my brain.  (Although I am sure my vino influenced posts could potentially be hilarious, depending on the amount of vino I have drunk.  Just kidding.  I only have one a night...I am way too lazy to pump and dump because I can't control my drinking habits.  Oh, to be 22 again.)