Oh the things you forget.
First up: babies? Messy. There’s cradle cap and baby acne and spit up and everything to do with diapers – not to mention whatever things exist in neck folds (seriously, don’t look in there). You think you remember diapers, at least, and how many of them can require changing in the space of, say, one hour. You are wrong.
Sleep dep: harsh. Again, you think you remember, and you think you can maybe do better this time. You are mistaken on both counts. (Fun fact: posting on Facebook about how tired you are at roughly three days post-partum does not elicit the expected sympathetic noises from other moms, but rather a stream of one-ups rendered even more bewildering by the fact that you are so tired you actually literally can’t see straight.)
It takes time for the belly to disappear. I mean, you knew this, but for some reason you also expect to fit into your pre-preg jeans at 2 weeks pp, which: no.
Nursing: hurts. You remember this. What you don’t remember is that, in the first few weeks, when the baby latches it feels EXACTLY like she is clamping down with a mouthful of needles.
The other thing you have forgotten, maybe: it’s totally worth it.
I’m almost 14 months post-partum, and I finally feel like I belong in my skin.
I was taking a bath the other night and noticed the way my belly fat jiggled. That wasn’t unusual, because, dude – the belly, it jiggles, much like a bowl full of jelly, were you to fill a bowl with jelly and then try and fit it into a pair of jeans. But instead of instantly flashing back to my pregnancy or thinking that’s what happens when you give birth, I just thought that’s my belly.
Yeah, some epiphany, right? But it really was, and here’s why: my body is mine again. It might be flabby and lumpy and unattractively coiffed, but sometime in the last couple of weeks I stopped feeling like a vehicle for the continued sustenance of my kid and started feeling like a person who is also a mom. I mean, yes, I’m still nursing, so it’s not like I can exist separately from the kid for more than a couple of hours at a time, but now that he’s snarfing down every solid he can find the nursing seems a bit more secondary…and the mom thing, oddly, seems more deliberate. My body isn’t what makes me a mom; being a mom is.
I still don’t fit into most of my pre-preg clothes, but at least now I feel like doing something to get into shape is less like auto maintenance and more like – well, exercising. That’s something, right? Especially since I don’t even own a car.
technorati tags:motherhood, body image