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Some body parts don’t bounce back after 4 babies, they just bounce

“You don’t look like you’ve had four kids!”

Well there are some unseen lady parts that don’t bounce back, they just bounce, like boobs that have breastfed four babies. They bounce haphazardly all over the place like a toddler on a trampoline. If you have found a magic sports bra that can tame milk boobs when running, do share!

My pregnant belly was never very big for a few reasons. I had four tiny babies, all around 6 pounds except the fourth (and my smallest belly oddly enough) who was closer to 7 pounds. I was sick for all of them and lost at least 5 pounds in the beginning as a result, but I was deathly ill for the fourth. My parents and sister had to fly across the country to help. I was hospitalized twice for dehydration and spent over 2 months in bed throwing up everything and nothing. I couldn’t really eat properly til I was almost 5 months. Aurora made sure she would be the last child made in this body. So no, I didn’t look like I was on my fourth pregnancy, because I spent months feeling like this was how I was going to die. I dubbed her the vampire baby because she sucked the life out of me.

I also exercised in all four pregnancies. With my first I was on the elliptical almost daily. With my second I was walking on an incline and on the elliptical. With my third I was a little more brave and jogged in the beginning of the pregnancy and then went into low impact cardio. I gained the most with my third because I just didn’t have time for exercise like I did before. I bounced back from the first because I was young and it was my first. I lost too much weight after my second because of special breastfeeding diets for her comfort and stress from her health situation. My third was a covid quarantine baby born in March 2020, so losing baby weight during the insanity of that first long quarantine with a 4 and 2 year old was extra challenging.

I thought running and breastfeeding would be enough to get me back in shape after #3, like it had for the other two, but after three months I realized that wasn’t my uterus belly sticking out, that squish was my nightly dessert and my wavering willpower. I needed to do more to get my strength back. I needed to be like my sister. No one is tougher than she is. She came through thyroid cancer, no longer has a thyroid, takes some gnarly pills, deals with it, and has to forever struggle with weight gain. Does she sit around feeling sorry for herself or give up because she has to try harder than the next lady? Nope. She wakes up at 4:30am to be at the gym at 5am and works out like a beast 6 days a week. She could go at 6am, but she wakes in the dark so she can have quiet time with the Lord after her workout. She only eats dessert on weekends. She eats 5 very healthy meals a day and at least one of those is salad. The way she works out I would be STARVING, but she has willpower I don’t posses. After my third I looked to her for inspiration, exercised 5-6 days a week (before that I exercised every other day, never consecutively), had dessert only on weekends and added more strength training. After a couple months I was in the best shape of my life. I had never been stronger.

I’m still trying to get back to that now that I’ve had my fourth. Getting my body back is harder after each child. I think a lot of that has to do with lack of time as a result of more and more needy, sticky people. And it is hard to keep the wine and dessert to weekends only after some of the days I have with four minions. For the time being I think I’ll keep my midweek wine and nightly dessert because I need it more than abs at this stage of motherhood.

I do workout 5-6 days a week and I alternate cardio (running or bike) with strength or HIIT (Heather Robertson YouTube videos usually). I use weights, I sweat and stink like a dude, and I average just 30 minutes, sometimes 45 if it’s cardio. Sometimes I run with the toddler in the stroller, a kid on a bike, and a second kid who was too slow so she got thrown in the front of the one seater Bob because I wait for no one! Or I entertain the baby while I do HIIT, because she woke up before I was done exercising. I make it work even though 90% of the time I’m too tired and don’t wanna, but 100% of the time I’m so glad I did. So that’s my big secret- do the work. And then eat chocolate.

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