Dear Young Mothers…

You get a lot of advice– most of it unasked for, I’m sure.  Well, that’s how it was back when I was a new mother.  From how often to say, “I love you,” to how often to bathe the kid in winter, I had advice coming out my ears.  I knew that I was supposed to take time to spend in the Word, don’t forget to pray, and be consistent in everything so that I didn’t confuse the kid with my inconstancy.  I knew that “breast is best” and that I should read to my baby often.
One thing no one told me was the one thing I wish someone had really impressed on me.  Lose the after baby weight.  It isn’t unimportant.  It can’t wait until the baby is older.  I really wish someone had said, “Lose it as soon as it’s safe.  Make it a priority.”
By the time someone did say that to me, I was older and had half a dozen kids.  Additionally, I had ten pounds per kid to prove it hanging about my gut and my hips.  Even then, I’d heard about how my body was a sacrifice to the Lord and I needed to accept that it’d never be the same.  You know what?  That is true.  However, I needed to hear the rest of it– that just because my body will never be the same does not mean that it should be allowed to wither and become unhealthy.  I needed to hear that at forty or fifty I’d be struggling to lose every pound and that my health would dictate it.  Yes, I knew that being overweight was unhealthy.  I knew it led to lots of unhealthy conditions, but let’s face it.  I was either pregnant or nursing for the first fifteen years of our marriage.  FIFTEEN YEARS of nearly always pregnant or nursing full time.  Sleep deprivation, busyness, time constraints… it just didn’t seem that important.  I had more important things– eternal things–to do.  Rear children, be a helper for my husband, grow in Christ.  I did not have time for physical exercise.
Sigh.  You know what?  I should have made the time.  After every baby, part of my responsibility TO MY FAMILY should have been working to increase my metabolism, to paying attention to what I ate and WHEN, and to work off those pounds.  I know my body doesn’t work the same as a lot of people’s.  You see, where most people limit calories to lose weight, I lose when I eat more.  I know CALORIE consumption is not the problem.  I need more exercise and probably certain supplements and/or foods.  I’ve learned this in the past five to ten years.  I needed to learn this (or do things to prevent it) way back after the first baby when the weight didn’t come off.
If I had it to do over again, and I DO remember what life was like back then, I’d make me do things that would promote a healthy weight and health in general.  You always think you can start tomorrow.  Songs and poems remind us– tomorrow never comes.  Annie lied.  It’s not “only a day away.”  Tomorrow is ALWAYS a day away.  Do it today.
I picture my life as a new young mom very different now than I did back when I was one.  Now I see myself with a toddler and an infant, and I make myself walk every evening just as the sun goes down regardless of the heat, wind, or cold.  If it was at dinner time, dinner time would change.  If I had to take the kids with me, they’d come.  If I needed to put on a video the minute they went to bed, then so be it.  I’d read fewer books, sew fewer outfits, make fewer dolls, attend fewer craft fairs, and quit trying to add a few dollars to our coffers and instead, I’d work harder at how I didn’t spend the dollars we have frivolously and work on tending my children, my home, my husband, my spiritual life– and my health.  I’d pay very close attention to my health.  It’s a kindness to your family.
Young mothers, it’s not too late.  Even if you have twenty, forty, a hundred, two hundred pounds to lose, get help that FITS YOU and do it.  Do it safely, do it wisely, but do it.  You will not regret it.  Don’t look back and realize that your family is suffering today for the choices you made ten years ago.
I’m begging you.

9 thoughts on “Dear Young Mothers…

  1. Yes, yes and yes! I wish someone had told me. Truth is, people probably did tell me and I did not listen to them because “they just did not understand.” Oh, the foolishness of youth.

  2. And it’s not just about weight either. I wish I would have listened to people that told me to walk and exercise and take care of myself. I never had the weight issue until now, but because I have lingering bad habits it hit fast and hard and is affecting my health. It is also terribly hard to change. I’ve always been “one of those people” who could eat anything and not exercise and stay very thin. I wish someone had told me that wouldn’t last forever. And like Susan said, someone probably did try to tell me and I was too foolish to listen.

  3. Umm. . . wow. I am one of those young mothers and I’ve got 3 kids under the age of four. This hit me where it hurts. Thank you for being transparent enough to post this. I have hypothyroidism on top of the baby weight and it’s truly a crazy battle for me to lose weight. So I stopped worrying about it. I think you just gave me a shove in the right direction! Thanks!

  4. Very wise counsel, Chautona! And I agree with Anita. It isn’t just a weight issue. It is your health! I don’t struggle with pounds but I do struggle with eating healthy and being active. So very important.

  5. It’s not too late to start though. After 7 kids I felt the same way as you did Chautona..really I thought it wouldn’t matter but it does. I started doing something about it last year and it’s taken me 18mths to drop 50lb ..I still have 25lbs to go but my quality of life is infinitely better at 41 than all the years of early parenting were. You can do it..It’s tough and it doesn’t come off easy when you’re older that’s for sure but keep going and it will!!!

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