Life post-baby: style crisis

I’m not one to be overly dramatic. Wait, that came out wrong. I love drama. I don’t like causing drama, but in my opinion, people who “hate drama” are usually in the middle of something. I’m over on the sidelines just watching. Waiting. Eating snacks.

This is a story that I have felt compelled to share so many times, and it’s going to sound a bit dramatic but hang in there, I promise it will be worth the read. (If that doesn’t inspire confidence, I’m just not sure what will.)

I have always loved fashion. Clothes are fun. Whether or not you like it, whether or not you choose to believe it, how you dress directly represents the image you choose to give to people. That’s how you view yourself. This is something people rebel against, but your style is your calling card. People will sum you up by how you look. I choose to give them a lot to look at! I love colors, I love great prints, and I love bold, sparkly pieces and accessories.

Being pregnant was so much fun. You can wear anything! No need to suck it in, no need for spanx, maternity leggings and jeans are amazing – I loved my pregnancy style. If you put in minimal effort and throw on some booties and a great scarf, you’re up there with pregnant-Blake Lively. High-praise.

Then all of a sudden, you’re home. Newborn baby. Trying to breastfeed. Pumping when you’re not breastfeeding. Stuck in bed all day. Loving it, but consumed. Finally, you’re a bit more mobile. You’ve recovered. Your body’s probably still a mess (can I get an amen?) but you’re up.

Suddenly, it’s four months after my son is born and I wake up and realize that I’ve been wearing the same. three. shirts. You know the ones. Comfy. Oversized. Long-sleeve. Pockets in the front. (POCKETS. WHY DO I NEED A POCKET ON MY SHIRT.) Dark blue. Dark red. Grey. Yoga pants that don’t fit.

Listen. I love being a mom. I’ve found a love I never knew I had or could have or would have, etc. (Sorry, husband. Love you too but come on, have you seen our kid? He’s amazing!) I didn’t feel like I “lost” myself, but all of a sudden, the one thing I had always loved – getting dressed, picking out stuff to wear – that feeling was gone.

No one talks about that. (Here’s the dramatic part!) Thankfully, we’ve gotten SO much better as a society about talking about the BIG issues. Post-partum depression. Mental health. Removing stigmas. I was very aware of those things. Making sure I ate, felt “good”, but no one prepared me for that feeling of losing my “style”. I felt confident but I looked in my closet and wondered who “new-mom-Kelly” was. Where was she?

It was a huge shock to my system. I count my lucky stars that this was my big shock, it could have been so much worse. I just wish someone would have prepared me to feel that way, as silly as it may seem. Your world does change when you have a kid (obviously) but there really are things I wasn’t expecting. Cue: Good friends.

I’ve always been an advocate for strong female friendships, for buying local, supporting other women, etc. My friend started selling LulaRoe so I took some of my birthday money, my Old Navy oversized shirt and my 4-month-old and scooted over to a party at her house. That small interaction, that tiny shopping experience, that little bit of social fun was just the thing. I was excited about getting dressed. I put away the maternity leggings (so sad!) and bought some structured jeans (still from Old Navy but old habits die hard!). That experience helped me find myself.

A few months later, I started the Atkins diet with the help and guidance of my dad, an expert on the subject, and lost some weight. Now, I’m feeling strong, empowered and ready for baby #2! Kidding. Not really. What was the question?

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for sharing this journey. I just realized there were so many topics people don’t talk about, because we are all focused on the really big issues. That’s great! It’s so amazing to see that we are finally breaking barriers and talking about things that matter. I guess my whole point is this – if you know of a new momma, check on her. Don’t just ask how she’s doing, ask how she’s feeling. Ask if she wants to go shopping, if someone can take the precious babe. Maybe pick something up for her, like a fun top or some amazingly comfy (but stylish) sandals (I have these and I SWEAR they are amazing). Grab a lightweight scarf or a fashionable teething necklace.

And moms – be kind to yourself. Don’t hate your new body (been there, it doesn’t help!). Look at what you did! You’re amazing! Take your time. Eat. Enjoy life. Rest. Snuggle that baby. The dishes can wait. Heal. Don’t rush yourself to work out, make ten smoothies and meal prep. Love on that baby. Take care of yourself and that amazing miracle, do what makes you feel good. When you’re ready, that diet will be there. The gym will still be there. (I choose to ignore the gym, but you know – to each her own!)

We have to be better about sharing our stories and our experiences, so that when they happen to other people, we’re not left feeling so alone.

My friend asked me to model some clothes for her online boutique and I did it. It felt so empowering. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in a year – my son is thriving (and walking!), my husband is working on starting his own business, and I feel like a whole new me, thanks to great friends and people who weren’t afraid of answering my weird questions, even if they were really late at night with the sounds of a breast pump in the background.

To my tribe – thank you. It takes a village. It takes a fierce, female, empowered tribe.

Let’s be besties & connect!
Kelly Strausbaugh
Let’s be Besties blog
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4 thoughts on “Life post-baby: style crisis

  1. I’m so glad I’m not alone in rotating the same few wardrobe choices! I am really impressed that you recognised, and acted upon, feelings of dissatifaction and ‘found’ youtself again! It’s so easy (and tempting) to ignore everything that isn’t about just functioning from one day to another with a baby. I would love to wear pretty things again, but I keep telling myself what’s the point when I never go anywhere, I’m still hoping that my hips will shrink back to their pre-baby size (I fear they won’t), and planning to have more babies, and not fitting into new clothes in any case. Hmmm, perhaps I should just take a leaf from your book and splurge a little, in the name of FUN!! Great post, thanks 🙂

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    1. YES!! That honestly has been one of my biggest recommendations for women post-baby. Get to a point where you are READY and then take 50 – 100 (or even just $20) and go buy something PRETTY. Something you don’t really need. I know money is tight after having a kid but just a little splurge can lift your spirits SO MUCH! It was a huge thing for me! Now, I have a goal where I take one night every two weeks or a few times a month and I make sure I do have lunch. Something cheap and easy, but FUN! Even if the babe has to come along! It’s ok to take his nap time and do your makeup. It’s ok to put him down for bed, leave the dishes and take a long bath. We co-slept, but I would take time to do something fun when I could!! Your comment was so sweet, thank you for reading and sharing your story with me!! I feel like if we share and we are real with expecting and new mommas we will build a stronger society of women. You can’t do it all. And even if you could, why would you want to?! That’s why God gives us other fierce women! Building a strong network is key, and it helped me SO much in finding myself – I should say, discovering my new, improved self!! That’s why I think no matter what weight a woman is at, get something pretty and ROCK IT! And for people who can’t go all out, get some girls and shop each other’s closets!! 😘😘keep me posted on your journey!!

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      1. You are completely right! Not feeling ready or able to go shopping (I have problems with staying pregnant but keep trying for another baby all the same) I started my blog in order to feel human again and to have a lovely, anonymous outlet for frustration! Since I am too serious in real life I don’t write about anything serious, like you, but it is enough to make me feel grounded. Only by supporting each other, expectant, new and existing mother’s, will we be able to stay strong and confident and positive, so thank you for your fabulous personal pep talk! It made me smile on the inside 🙂

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      2. You are an inspiration. We are also in the process of #2 so we will see… but it’s been such an eye-opening experience, being pregnant and giving birth. Again, I know that sounds obvious (lol) BUT I feel more empowered as a woman, my faith was strengthened… and I feel like a whole new person. I’ve faced way more trials in the last two years than I ever did which thankfully has made me stronger but that was only through faith and my fam & friends. When it’s hard, and I want to withdraw, that’s when I literally force myself to get out. Interact. Call. Video chat. I’m a horrible liar; when I’m sad or “off” it’s easy to tell. So when I’m feeling sad or off, I call someone. It lifts me up instantly. And I repay that favor whenever I can! This has been such a positive outlet and I’m definitely checking your blog out!! You sound amazing, my awesome soul-sister!!! What a beautiful spirit you have!!!!

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