MOTHERHOOD brings about many changes in a woman's life. Whether it's her living arrangements, spending patterns, diet, or daily routine, one area that definitely changes, and usually not for the better in the eyes of many mothers, is her body.
Many cover up their bodies, embracing and accepting the changes as labour for love, but others, like attorney-at-law Lecia-Gaye Taylor, fight to regain their body confidence.
“I think every woman has insecurities about her body. I am no different,” she shared with All Woman ahead of Mother's Day. “Prior to having Jordan, I was very happy with my body. I hovered between 125 and 130 pounds, which is normal for my BMI (body mass index). I had a flat tummy, and perky, no-need-for-bra breasts. What more could a girl ask for?”
When Taylor became pregnant in 2016, she was determined to be a fit mom. She worked out throughout most of the pregnancy, but about seven months in, she had to stop because she was overexerting herself. She also suffered from Bell's palsy in her third trimester, which caused temporary paralysis on the left side of her face.
“I continued to do light exercises, but nothing like the boot camp, Pilates, etc that I was doing before,” she recounted. “I went up to about 175 pounds by the time I was ready to give birth. After having Jordan, at my six-week check-up, I was down to 147 pounds. I was ecstatic that I had lost so much of the baby weight in so little time. My belly was still big, but I wasn't too worried as I bought and was wearing my post-partum girdle (what we now call waist trainer). I was also very happy that there were no visible stretch marks on my tummy, and I thought it would be a breeze to lose the extra 20 pounds,” she recounted.
“But man, was I wrong!” she continued.
After giving birth to her daughter in July, it took Taylor a while before she started feeling normal enough to get back into her exercise routine. She tried working out from home but was not motivated enough to keep going on her own.
“I went back to the gym with my personal trainer, but carving out the time with a baby is challenging, so I slacked off until I just stopped,” she admitted. “In fact, I committed to jumping carnival just so I would be forced to stick to an exercise routine. That worked out, and leading up to carnival, I was on a great momentum, but as soon as carnival ended, I fell into a rut and I stopped.”
Additionally, Taylor shared she had some lingering effects from pregnancy, which required physiotherapy, so for awhile, her focus shifted to resolving those issues. After languishing because of how difficult it was to schedule time for exercise, with a job and a new baby, Taylor decided to get back into shape.
“I didn't give up because the benefits of exercise are obvious,” she said. “You look better, you feel better and you are healthier.”
Taylor confessed that before having a baby, she was judgemental of women who seemingly gave up on their bodies after giving birth.
“Now that I am a mother, I completely get it. As a mom in my 30s, it's even harder. Your metabolism slows down and, on top of that, you are dealing with an entirely new life experience. Your usual routine is disrupted and every single activity has to be carefully planned. With all the things now demanding my attention, unfortunately, exercising often gets placed on the back burner,” she explained.
With a renewed commitment to getting and staying in shape, it is not for a lack of motivation, but a lack of time, why the attorney sometimes absconds the gym. Mornings are her best workout times, she said, but her soon-to-be two-year-old daughter wakes up crying as soon as she senses that her mother has left her side. In the evenings after work were also good workout slots pre-baby, but they, too, no longer work, as Taylor is oftentimes catching up on work or rushing home to relieve her nanny.
The unwavering support of her husband Garfield, however, has helped her to stay on track.
“He fully supports me going to the gym and working out. At the same time, he has been very understanding of my struggles, and so he is not pressuring or overbearing,” she said. “Once I am in the gym, we actually have a routine where he either goes first then comes home and takes care of Jordan so I can go, or I go in the morning and he goes in the evening.”
Taylor's diet has also had some positive changes recently, of which she is very proud.
“Earlier this year I discovered intermittent fasting and it's the best thing ever!” she exclaimed. “My first meal is not before 12 noon, and I have my last meal by 8:00 pm. I haven't lost a ton of weight, but the great part is that I haven't gained a pound either. I find that this is much easier to do than trying to count calories.”
Taylor is encouraging women who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth to not be discouraged by the changes in their bodies.
“You are not alone. There is a lot of pressure to 'snap back' and celebrities and social media make it seem so easy. I console myself with the knowledge that celebrities have a full team of nutritionists, chefs, nannies, and a glam squad so they can get back into shape and look great within three months. We normal people need to take our time,” she said.
“When I kept complaining about those parts of my body that I am not so in love with, a friend once responded:
'Fix it or fall in love with it'. Right now I can't afford to fix it, so I am falling in love with the slightly loose skin/pouch on my belly, and my not so perky breasts, while appreciating that I am part of life's miracle. I gave birth to a human being — which is one of the greatest honours any woman can have,” she said.
Taylor now weighs 136 pounds.