I wrote this on August 15, 2015. My son was 5 days short of being 1 month old. It's a little glimpse into my postpartum journey.
*I will warn you readers now, if you are easily offended, don't like gross bodily things, or have never had a baby, tread forward with caution.*
Can we talk a moment about our bodies as women? And how magical and amazing and absolutely gross we are?
I've seen a lot of controversy on the interwebs about the "How I got my body back after baby" idea. It is extremely irksome to many that a woman should be ashamed of their post-baby body and that they should want to go back to the way it was before said baby took over.
But that is just the thing, the baby does take over. When I became pregnant I didn't choose for my entire right arm to painfully numb and slightly swollen every morning. That is just one of the side effects of being pregnant. I also was quite pleased with the size and shape of my breasts pre-pregnancy, I didn't need them to get bigger. But baby did and still does.
And speaking of breasts, just one of the many places that leak. Gross. Yes, it's lovely and oh so special that I can feed my child on demand and yes, breast milk is the liquid gold of good food for baby, but all that aside, they still aren't within my control. They are huge, like cantaloupe huge. They get hard, painfully hard. And when that happens I don't care who is around, I will massage and hold them in my own hands for some sense of relief. And at 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm feeding on one side and I can feel the other side drip milk from itself, another thing outside of my control. Gross.
Get my body back? Yeah right.
When I went into labor, my water didn't break like most think it would; in a gush, all at once and in some embarrassing public place. Mine trickled out, so slowly that at first I was wondering if I was occasionally peeing my pants. Gross. And once we finally decided to go to the hospital after several hours of active labor, we were moving me from the check-in room to the delivery room, I stood up and lord have mercy. The amount of fluid that came out of me was one of the most shocking disgusting things that I had experienced. And completely out of my control. It just kept flowing, so much fluid. So gross.
I know that is beyond the notion of "too much information" but I'm now postpartum and am dealing with a whole new set of body issues that are out of my control. My uterus went through hell after delivery and it's still recovering. I joke with my sweet baby that when I change his diaper, I should change mine as well. And I thought my monthly period was bad. Gross.
I am also taking iron supplements to help get my energy back, which in turn makes me constipated, which means I need to take a stool softener, which again is something that I'd rather not do, but my body is saying otherwise. Gross.
The small fact that my belly is still moving back to some sort of resemblance of pre-baby, is so far from my concern. With all the other crap that my body is doing, my belly doesn't matter. It will never be the same, I carried my son for 9 months in that belly. The small valley of stretch marks below my belly button, I need to get used to them, appreciate them as battle scars and be proud of what they represent.
All of this foreign activity in my body is just par for the course, I'm not the only woman going through all of this. I do not have it the easiest but certainly not the worst either. If there has every been a time to sit and value all I have been through and appreciate how powerful and yes, gross my body is, it is now. And again, like labor, this gross-ness will not last forever.
I'll have my body back, in it's new glorious mama form soon enough. And with much less leaking.
Sarah: Birth doula, wife, mother, coffee and wine drinker, lover of beer, books and tattoos.