I’m 11 months postpartum and I’ll be honest with you, the only thing I really thought would change after having a baby was the appearance of my body. I expected that I would have to work my butt off to lose extra weight or that my boobs would look different (RIP btw), but that was all. I suspected postpartum depression could also happen, but that was all that I was expecting after all the stories and testimonials I read and heard from other mamas. What I didn’t know was that your entire body could change inside, not just the outside.
Before I got pregnant I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I didn’t have any flare ups and I was actually convinced I didn’t even have it at all. I thought it was probably just IBS. During my pregnancy my G.I issues got worse in the beginning, then better in the last trimester and I didn’t think twice about it and just thought it was a pregnancy thing. After Oakley was born, my symptoms seemed to go away and I was feeling good for a few months. Then, my symptoms came back, but 10 times worse. I had zero energy, I was extremely anemic and my hair was falling out. I had the worst stomach aches and I felt nauseous and it was miserable. It lasted about a month before I started feeling better, but then it came back again a couple months later.
When it came back I actually had to go to the ER and had to get a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin levels were SO low. This was my second time getting a blood transfusion in a year. The first time was after I delivered Oakley. I learned that after you give birth, you can develop food sensitivities that you didn’t have before and your hormones are all over the place, that your body and reject certain things. That totally made sense to me and I decided to cut out all added sugar, processed food, gluten, grains and dairy (except for some hard cheeses) and I feel so much better. I still haven’t done a food allergy test, but I do know I am still very anemic (although I have a lot of energy for someone who is anemic) and that’s what I’m trying to focus on right now. I started taking a liquid iron supplement and a probiotic to help with my gut issues. I recently had a colonoscopy which indicated that I do not have Crohn’s disease, but I instead had Ulcerative Colitis which is similar, but easier to manage. Right now I am managing it with my diet and so far it’s working. I’m not against medication when it’s absolutely necessary, but since I’m feeling okay, I will hold off on taking them.
This summer, when I had my first big flare up, I lost a lot of weight due to malnourishment and not being able to keep anything in. I also had a little appetite and couldn’t eat very much at one time. It felt good to be in smaller sizes again, but to be honest, I didn’t feel sexy or confident despite being “skinny”, because that’s all it was…skinny. I have no muscle and I looked like I was wilting away and my boobs looked like sad deflated balloons. Oh and my butt is also non existent. I couldn’t workout during a flare up because I had no energy for that, so my body suffered from lack of physical exercise and being able to retain nutrients. During my second big flare up, I was feeling depressed because I was so exhausted, I was losing hair, my body resembled a little boys and I just didn’t feel happy. Smiling took effort and I wasn’t my normal peppy self and I noticed that. I would make an effort each day to act silly and fun with Oakley and even that took a lot of energy form me. It was sad and I hated that I had to deal with an auto-immune disease. I guess I had it coming because I literally drank 1-2 Red Bulls a day before I got pregnant and I drank lots of soda and chocolate and take-out. It’s gross thinking back on it now because I wouldn’t want to eat that way ever again now that I know I can feel better eating healthier foods that still taste good. I haven’t had soda for 8 months now and I never miss it. I actually much rather have Kombucha instead.
Now, I am starting to workout again and I have so much energy to keep up with Oakley and house chores. It feels amazing! I’ve gained some weight back and I’ve noticed some of it has gone to my boobs! I’m so excited about that one haha. I just need to grow my butt now. I’m no longer feeling sad or down and overall I feel really good! I will say, I’m still losing hair and that part really sucks. It isn’t coming out in clumps or anything, but I have some bald spots in the front of my scalp and it really bothers me. I’ve gone back and forth between getting clip-in extensions or not, but I haven’t made a decision yet. They are pricey and I don’t know if I’ll wear them as much as I think depending on how long it takes for me to put them in. I just started using a progesterone cream and taking Vitamin C and Iron supplements again. I’m terrible at taking supplements, but I need to in order to get the nutrients I’m laking and hopefully that makes my hair grow back! I will keep you updated on my hair-loss journey because I know so many people struggle with this. I may just cave and get extensions anyway even if the supplements work because hair can take forever to grow haha. I’m also trying a few products to help grow my hair and I will discuss those if they worked for me!
Besides all of that, being a mom really is the best and I would do this all over again if it meant being blessed with a child. I love waking up each day to Oakley’s cute little face and get to do life with him. Postpartum isn’t pretty, but it’s a reminder of the life you brought into this world.