How do you feel about your postpartum body?
Quite possibly a lot like I feel about mine.
It’s overweight. And stretched out, lumpy, sore, scarred, stretch marked, emotional and hormone ravaged. And hungry. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s hungry. Oh, and not as functional as normal. Your low back and hips still hurt, ache and make it difficult to bend – a cruel joke considering you thought (and kept being told) that if you hung in there, it’d improve after giving birth. It’s been 5 months. No improvements.
And the hair. Who knew you had this much hair on your head?! (God. God knew. He actually NUMBERED those suckers.) With as much as has come off in the last 3 months, you could’ve clothed Lady Gaga, hey, and actually covered EVERYTHING. 😛 Everyday it’s a surprise you still have hair on your head, though the thinness of it is a little unnerving. Will it ever come back? Or heck, at least stop falling out? *sob*
It’s easy for me to think all of the above every time I see myself in the mirror, try to fit into a pre-pregnancy outfit, or sit down and realize I’m wearing those muffins I ate too many of when I was with child, on my belly and hips.
But… is that all there is to our bodies? The shattered remains of something that once was attractive, healthy and whole? Really, think about it.
We just spent the last 10 months of our lives growing, feeding, sheltering and nurturing another totally unique human being. In. Our. Bodies. People. Then we completed the 5,000K marathon of labor and delivery to bring that sweet child into this world. Then we took care of, fed and loved on that little one whilst in the angry throes of recovering from said marathon. Now we’re relearning life and schedules and routines and how to keep everyone alive along with our first or second or 12th tiny human, which changes the dynamics of everything thirty five thousand fold.
We’re up so many times at night, we don’t quite remember what a pillow under our heads feels like and often find ourselves daydreaming about what it might. We wash so much laundry, and never get around to folding it, that we can’t recall the color of our loveseat anymore. We’ve wiped up so much spit up and poop with such limited amounts of wipes, burp cloths and Kleenex, we feel pretty confident that we could clean up a mud slide, by ourselves, with a mop and a bucket. We somehow keep all the kids and husband in one piece and clothed, with food in the house and their bellies. (There may have been some intermittent starving in between, but hey, fasting is good for you.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a ‘woman worshiping’ post. Women are not goddesses. (There is no such thing.) I have an attitude with the best (worst?) of them. I can see everything in a negative light without even trying. I can cry and be scared and freak out with the craziest of them. I’m no saint, and I think I can say with certainty that you aren’t either. 😉 Even if you did push a tiny human out.
However, we DO need to recognize what we’ve accomplished, the place our bodies are in currently, and give them a break. Yes, do everything you should to get it back to the condition and health that you desire, eat real foods, but don’t push it and put unnecessary expectations on yourself too soon. Take it a day at a time. And enjoy those sweet babies. Remember, they were so, so worth this present condition. 😉
So Mama, take heart, every one of us postpartum women knows what post-baby belly jelly is. 😉 And it CAN go away. In time, with effort, so don’t give up. I’m right here in the middle of it with you. Stop beating yourself up in the interim.
Hugs, from one stretched out Mama to another,