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Pregnancy and Firefighting (Heather)

March 23, 2010

24 years old
1 pregnancy & 1 birth
6 weeks PP

I am 24 years old and am very short and not proportional. I have always had large thighs, large boobs (36DD), and wide hips for only being 5 foot tall (size 9). I have never really had any big problems with my body. My stomach was somewhat flat (never picture perfect) but I was fine with it. I am a firefighter and EMT and in order for me to go back to that, I will have to do a lot of work to get my body back in shape. I gained about 35lbs during the pregnancy and at 6 weeks PP I have lost about 20 of that but I know that I have a lot of months of hard work to get my body toned enough to be able to do the strenuous work of a firefighter. I know that I want at least 1 more child. I don’t know if it will be worth all of the hard work if I choose to have a child again in a couple years. This is my question to all of you experienced women, should I go ahead and get pregnant again in the next year and have my other child before I go through all of that trouble? I’m afraid that as soon as I get my body back (if I’m able to), we’ll be ready for another 1 and all of that work will be wasted.

I really hate how my body looks right now. None of my clothes fit and I was sooo looking forward to being able to wear all of my old clothes once I had my baby. My bras don’t even fit. I know I should be proud of my body but I’m actually ashamed. I hate going around my friends because I don’t want them to see how my stomach now hangs over my pants and how I now have a huge muffin top. I feel like they are judging me. Most of my friends are guys and they don’t understand how much your body is still changed after pregnancy. My fiance is constantly making comments about my weight but swears up and down that he didn’t call me fat. He is also a firefighter and constantly tells me how lazy I am and tells me I need to get up and go exercise. My chief expects me to go get bigger gear and start firefighting again because my midwife cleared me to go back to work. He doesn’t understand that my abs haven’t grown back together or that the ligaments in my back are healing from being stretched out. It’s been such a struggle to be a woman in a male dominated profession. I have had to train really hard to be able to even partially keep up and I feel just about worthless now. It is going to take a lot of dedication to get back to where I was. Have any of you been able to do it?

The pics are me 6 weeks PP and my perfect little boy, Charlie.

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13 Responses to “Pregnancy and Firefighting (Heather)”

  1. Nicole Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Personally, I think you are beautiful, and I’ll be honest, I think your husband is being ridiculous, and he needs to stop putting unnecessary and unrealistic pressure on you. You had a baby, a live human being, less than two months ago. Don’t feel terrible about the fact that you are not at your pre-pregnancy weight. Your body is doing amazing, and wonderful things. Your muffin top and extra pounds are battle scars, and proof that your body just did something miraculous.

  2. Jessica Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I think you are perfectly normal for a 6 week PP woman. A doctor would just now be clearing you for a return to working out so there is no reason you need to feel like you aren’t doing enough. It took nine months to get this way, it doesn’t take six weeks to go back to normal. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad. This is natural! Give your body time to heal and choose sleeping and being with your baby over hitting the gym.

  3. Amy Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I recommend getting back in shape before your next pregnancy. The hard work will NOT be wasted! Starting your pregnancy in a healthy state can prevent all sorts of pregnancy-related problems. Also, I think that if you get fit before #2, then you will have an easier time getting fit again after #2.

  4. JUlie Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    YOur son is adorable, andjust keep at it. I know how hard it can be. I gained 52 pounds with my pregnancy and have been stuck at the same weight for weeks. I am hoping that with alot of hard work it will go away with time..

  5. Kerry Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Wow it sounds like you have a lot of stress to deal with! I am almost 1 year postpartum and my husband has just finally switched his views of my body to appreciating and admiring it for what it has done. I know what it can be like to feel like you are disappointing your significant other (even though its nothing you can control) Dont let it get to you, you are 6 weeks postpartum!!!! Your body will go through a HUGE transformation in the next year! Your stretch marks are already so faded, just try to keep your chin up. If you dont see your beauty now, you wont see it even if you are a size 0.

    I am scared to get pregnant anytime soon cause of how “damaged” my body became after the first pregnancy. So I as well am very eager to read all these other moms responses.

  6. nico Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Aw, look at your cute little man!

    Your body is so so so SO normal for just 6 weeks PP. Don’t forget – 9 months on, 9 months off – give yourself time! The fat you put on during pregnancy has a wonderful purpose in helping you to make enough milk to feed your baby, so first let me encourage you to breastfeed as long as you can. Second, I definitely think it’s worth the ‘hard work’ of getting back in to shape. Even gentle exercise like a daily walk with baby in the pram or sling will really help your mood and how you feel about yourself. And your body will fare much better in a second pregnancy if you are at a healthy weight and have fit muscles ready to go.

    But please don’t think about it in terms of ‘getting your body back’. Your body changes over time and is just different now. Please love the body you have and look after it whatever stage you are at. You wouldn’t tell your child you loved him better a year ago, don’t tell yourself that! :)

    As far as your boss goes, please remember that the relaxin hormone which softens your ligaments in pregnancy is still present for 4-5 months after the birth so even if you’ve been cleared to return to work you need to be careful when it comes to lifting, impact etc. Relaxin makes your joints are very soft and they can be damaged irreparably if you are not careful. Sounds to me like you have a great opportunity to teach all those men in your life about the wonderful realities of the female body and motherhood – you are so much more than just ‘one of the boys’ and I hope they can learn to respect your differences.

    Good luck! xo

  7. chelsea Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I think you should get in shape before number 2. I have had three and I’ve done both ways (not working out in fear for the next and working out for the next) It works 100% better to get in shape before. Plus when you do all that work it’s easier not to indulge as much as you did your prior pregnancy. Good luck :) you look beautiful by the way!!

  8. Amy Says:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I think you should get fit prior to having another (and see a maternity physio to see if your proposed workout plan will suit a pp woman), i think you should take extra time off work now, and i think you should get some more female influences in your life because the men you’re surrounded with either don’t know the extent of what your body has gone through or they don’t care. This last part really matters, this is not a time to try and be ‘one of the boys’.

  9. TracyKM Says:
    March 24th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I’m not a firefighter, but I’ve had 3 kids. I have a few thoughts.
    Time will pass whether you ‘get your body back’ or not. Why not use that time to just be healthy?
    What if another pregnancy doesn’t happen on your timeline? THat happened to me!
    A second pregnancy will be much easier next time if you are in good health. I can understand not being able to be an active firefighter during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should ‘let your body go’. Just be healthy!
    Then, it will be much easier to really get fit, if you’re starting from a place of good health, regardless of how many babies you have :)
    I found babywearing to be an awesome way to stay fit (and weight is not an indication of fitness). With baby strapped to you in a mei tai or wrap, your body thinks it weighs more and thus burns more calories. So wear your baby as much as possible (Snugli and Bjorns do not hold baby the same way, and stroller pushing works only the shoulders). It also encourages good posture to work your core muscles, and you can add in some hill walking or stair climbing for the legs/butt. As you improve, your baby grows too, so it’s a constant increase in workout. You can do shopping, go to the library, do housecleaning, etc–all the time you’re exercising and bonding with baby!

  10. Heather Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 4:47 am

    I think you look great for being 6 wks pp. I would definitely agree that you should get in shape before having another baby, especially if your back has stretched out ligaments. If you start a pregnancy in shape you will feel better throughout the whole thing, as well as have an easier time getting back in shape. Good luck!

  11. Sonia Says:
    April 5th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    The pressures society and sometimes unfortunatley our loved ones puts on us are unrealistic! You need to stand your ground with the men in your life and the physical work you do with your job. Having a baby is the most tasking thing your body will go through. The men in your life need lessons in the realities for women who just gave birth. I think they all need a little power point presentation and if that doesn’t work, a big kick in the ass. Do not push your body to do things that it is not capable of doing. The fatigue factor also plays a big part in physical injury. I am sure you are tired right now with being a new mom. As for your concerns with your body, it will return to normal weight. You are an active person. Your job tells me that. Give yourself time to adjust to your new role in life, fatigue factor and the constant needs of your beautiful boy. Soon, you will find your new rhythem to life, and be able to incorportate increased activity again. Thank you for serving as a FF, but please don’t push yourself. Now, it is yourself and your son you need to serve first before anyone or thing eles. Give yourself major credit for what you produced and be kind to your current body. Stand up for yourself with these non educated men who need a lesson or two. I am sure they get a cold and they are out for a week. It sounds like you live in the States because where I live mothers are given a year off after having a baby. 6 weeks is crazy to me. I wish they respected woman more where you live. You really need at least a year before heading back to work. Hopefully that will change one day for you guys. Keep your chin up and never mind what they say.

  12. Tiphanie Says:
    August 13th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I think you are doing quite well for six wks pp. But I do not think that getting in shape now,, then getting pregnant a year after would be a waste at all.. think of how much healthier you would be for that pregnancy and how much easier it would be to get back into shape after the second one!! And as for the men i say “No Vagina, No opinion!” Best wishes to you and your adorable son!

  13. Carolyn Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I totally get it. I’m a firefighter/EMT too. I just found out I’m pregnant. My department says I have to do light duty (clerical) til the baby comes then they want me to take a leave of absenece for 1 year. I’m on a non-paid department and I’m the only female so I supose they can make-up what ever rules they feel like.

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