Where Did My Body Go?

I loved being pregnant. I had dreamt of bringing a pregnancy ever since I was a little girl. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to carry, hold, and nurse a newborn. So when the time came and I was pregnant I loved feeling curvy, feminine, and motherly.  I walked everywhere, I gardened, and I nurtured myself.  I enjoyed showing off my form and I dreamed of my birth. Everything I did was focused on the birth, from childbirth classes to prenatal yoga, and infant CPR.  Everything was roses and perfection.

However once my baby was born, I was empty and felt like an empty suitcase after vacation tossed in the corner.  Everyone was focusing on the baby.  Counting fingers and toes, holding and rocking him, and taking photographs.

My body was no longer curvy and pregnant. I had a swollen bottom, saggy belly, milk swollen breasts, and bags under my eyes from nights up with my precious baby. It took weeks for my body to return and to feel normal. I felt cheated and unprepared for my postpartum body. It took me a long time to realize, that only on reality TV do the women look ‘normal’ right after birth.

As my body healed and my milk supply regulated, I was able to get outside start exercising and experience life outside of the four walls of my house. It can be physically challenging to get motivated when you are tired, but getting out and about was critical to my mental health, as many women will agree.  Visiting other new moms helped me to master parenting skills like packing a diaper bag and loading up kids in the car. Spending time with other women helped me to normalize the changes to my body and appreciate its strength. Going to the park with the kids, walking together, and sending time together helped me to understand how powerful my body really was.

photo credit: imgur.com