Women’s Only: (Postpartum) Confessions of an Ordinary CrossFit Momma

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by JESSICA MALONE LATHAM

Women's Only: (Postpartum) Confessions of an Ordinary CrossFit Momma
I recently posted a status on Facebook writing a semi-sarcastic, semi-serious letter to the ten lingering pounds of unwanted fat on my postpartum body:

Dear ten extra pounds on my body,

I’d love for you to go away as soon as possible. I’m trying to be patient, and I’m working out as hard as I can with about 2 hour chunks of sleep at a time each night, and packing for a move, so please cut me some slack. I promise I’m not comparing myself to my friends that have lost their weight already (maybe a little) because I know my body is on its own plan. I’ve also put aside the cheat-meals I allowed myself when I was pregnant and am eating clean again, so maybe that would also show you how hard I’m trying…

Humbly yours,
momma of 4 month Isaac

I was surprisingly bombarded with supportive comments from friends. While I was warmed by their sympathy, I sat with their words and thought a bit more about my wish to shed the final ten pounds of unwanted fat that I knew I could lose. I was conflicted by their kindness. Part of me didn’t want to hear sweet words like, You’re beautiful, or Be gentle with yourself. Part of me wanted to hear this instead: Yes, you can do it; keep pushing yourself. I wanted to be surrounded by the attitude of CrossFit comrades who don’t say, Oh it’s ok if you don’t want to lift that heavy weight. Just be happy with yourself. They say, Pick the bar up! You can do it! And I want to say to my sweet friends, What if I want to complain? What if I want to feel sexy? What if I want to be selfish? But I keep these thoughts to myself, because I love my friends for loving me. This is the struggle of being a CrossFit momma – this tenderness and strength, humility and super-heroism.

“Is it wrong to want it now?”

"Is it wrong to want it now?"

We have the power to house, push and feed our babies. Can’t I have the body I work so hard for?
It’s not that I’m not yearning for the body I had when I was young – I’m simply yearning for the body I had a year ago. I know what I’m capable of. Our bodies are resilient. Our bodies are powerful. If they have the capacity to stretch and expand, then surely they can shrink and contract, tighten and recover. I’m not asking for my once “innie” belly button to depress itself once again. I’m accepting that I may die an “outie.” I’m not asking for my teenage hips. I’m ok wearing teeny tiny jeans with a little less space, now as a woman whose body opened for her son. All I’m saying is, Why is it so much harder than people make it seem? Why have others lost their weight much more quickly? We have the power to house, push and feed our babies. Can’t I have the body I work so hard for? Yes, it will come eventually, my husband kindly reminds me, but is it wrong to want it now?

I used to squeeze into an old pair of high school jeans; now I try to graciously take compliments from friends that think my new (larger) jeans look great. I used to be told how great the muscles underneath my shirt looked; now I stand in front of the mirror trying to find a bit of muscle left in the softer tone of my biceps. No, I wasn’t born with skinny genes. I’ve had to work at it. And work hard. At the height of my CrossFit calling – six years CrossFitting with my husband in garages and affiliate boxes in the US and around the globe – I felt beautiful, strong and indestructible. This confidence (along with other, more logical planning) led my husband and me to have a baby. I loved parts of pregnancy and was convinced I’d have a whole litter of children. I anticipated birth with joy, believing my strong mental attitude and physical strength would lead me to a successful home birth.

But during my third trimester, I secretly worried, knowing I’d completely fallen off the Paleo wagon. (Who can resist dairy when you’re pregnant?!) My weight kept increasing, but I overlooked the fact I ate a few too many Costco croissants and told myself it was the weight I needed to make my baby strong. I carried my baby so low, I was told during month five that I looked due any day (for the record, he was nine days past the expected due date). His position made it even more difficult to do many WODs.

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