Warning. This post may contain too much information for some readers!
8 months ago I had a baby.
Today I finally feel like my body belongs to me again. It was lost there for a while.
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Why is it that unless you go searching for the information, details on what happens to our bodies through pregnancy and beyond is barely spoken or written about.
Let’s face it. There are no two ways about it. It IS FULL ON.
Up until I was 8 months pregnant I had it pretty easy. Apart from being so exhausted some days I could barely drag myself off the couch, and having insomnia, I had only put on 6 kilos and was happily waddling around day to day. But that last month as many will relate, can be a shocker. As my weight gain doubled, so did the discomfort.
I vividly remember complaining that I was struggling to a girlfriend (who has not had children) and that so much of what was happening I did not expect. “Like what?” she asked. “Trust me, you don’t want to know”. “Yes I do, tell me”. Well….as I began to describe the thrush from hell, not being able to sit down from haemorrhoids caused by a head pushing on my butt, having to get my husband to tie my shoes up and not being able to see my lady bits anymore, she began to get the idea and told me she had heard enough. Just imagine how she would have coped with the birth and post birth details!
Another friend whose first baby arrived 4 months before mine, has been the only friend who I have the kind of relationship with where nothing is off limits. After birth, her advice to me was simply “Joey (my nickname), it’s fucked”…long pause….”just don’t look down afterwards. It ends up looking like sloppy lasagne”.
Now I will spare you the details of my post birth experience, but let’s just say sitting down did hurt for a number of weeks, there were forceps involved and stitches were present. I told my husband I didn’t want to have another baby after “that”.
Apart from lasagna sheet girlfriend, only one other friend (mother to 3 boys) asked me how my body was doing after labour (and let’s just say she was quite specific).
We then become so focused on looking after a baby, that it’s hard to find time to take care of yourself.
As my boobs grew to mammoth proportions, I resigned myself to wearing comfy clothes that wouldn’t show the thick straps of a maternity bra. My nails started to break and I would simply tear off any straggly bits with no time to search for a nail file. My hairdryer gathered dust, I cut off my long locks in favour of an easier “mum-do” (despite vowing beforehand this would never be me!) and I opted for a splash of tinted moisturiser instead of makeup. I also invested in a one piece swimsuit, thinking no one need be subjected to the sight of me in a bikini.
I was lucky to lose my baby weight pretty quickly, but when I stopped breast feeding last month I got worried. My tummy ballooned to the size it was when I was five months pregnant. Even my mum was worried. A trip to the doctor and a pregnancy test confirmed it was likely to be the return of a period.
My doctor gave me a wry smile and said “well if this is the first one you’ve had after 7 months of breast feeding, aren’t you in for a whopper”.
Two weeks. That’s how long it lasted. WTF!!!
My boobs have now deflated back to almost their pre-pregnancy size meaning I can finally wear nice tops and dresses again. I am dusting of the bikini and contemplating growing my hair just a little.
My body feels like it belongs to me and not Baby T anymore.
Everything is back to “normal”.
Would I do it again. In a heartbeat.
Maybe we suppress the bad bits in our post baby euphoria and that’s why it’s not spoken about.
I think for first time mums, it’s reassuring to be prepared for the physical changes and to understand that most of it is not forever.
What do you think? Did you go in blind? Did you talk about this with friends?