Last we talked about body stuff I had just gotten Gabe home and was AMAZED by the magic of the body (and even rocked a photo of me in my underpants….).
For a recap, this was me the first full day back at home:
Wow it is bizarro to look at that now. That was my tummy without a baby in it… and I was like, “ROCK ON postpartum tummy! You are awesome!” Now I’m like, “Is that even real? It looks like I stuffed some paper towels in there or something, that was me?” It so totally was and I was A-Ok with it.
My tummy was definitely not the only thing that was bigger after I gave birth to Gabe. My butt, my thighs, my hips – they were all bigger. And the most shocking of all! For a few weeks after delivery I had a fair amount of extra skin on my back. I was like a rubber band that had been stretched stretchstretchstretched forward and then snapped back. I used to stand naked in the bathroom before my shower and marvel at my back skin. You spend your whole pregnancy looking in front of you and you don’t ever think about what’s happening behind you.
Anyways! That was then and this is now, 6 weeks postpartum:
This is definitely NOT to say, “oh my goodness, look at me! WHAT BABY?!” Because… my body is not the same body as it was before Gabe, but then again… should it be? After growing another being, I don’t think it should be exactly the same as before. This is to say: If you are scared (or curious) like I was about what the after looks like, this is my after. The thing that is the most stressful is the learning curve. What to wear? What fits and what doesn’t? What is my new size? But the way my body looks? Though I am still about 15 lbs from where I feel is manageable, I think my post baby body is kind of sexy. The softness, even the little tummy is pretty hot. And duh… the boobs. The cleavage to end all cleavage.
Last week I read this post by Eat The Damn Cake where she talks about how the “Get Your Body Back” craze is bullshit. I think her overall take was a little harsh. Obviously it is scary to both bring a new person into your family and also sacrifice everything you know to be true about how your body functions all at the same time. This is the only body I get, and with the current self-help trend of, “The only person you can control is you” (which is pretty spot on) it makes sense that with everything I can’t control with pregnancy, knowing that afterward I could at least push the stroller up some wicked hills and bring on the baby carrots is comforting. I believe it is human nature to have anxiety over change. I believe it is human nature to be anxious about the big unknown – especially when it involves a huge part of our identity.
One thing the post says that really rung true with me was this:
Well, I will have a different body then. After. The way we are always growing into new, different bodies, because that is the way that bodies work. That is the way it’s supposed to be. A body is a long story with twists and surprises and secret abilities almost like little superpowers.
And also this:
Stretch marks are not life-changing. She is life-changing. She is becoming a part of my story and the story of my body.
So what I’m saying here is my body changed. It is still changing, it will always be changing. But look! See! It is not bad, it is not scary. I have stretchmarks on my hips that are purple-y and they do make me feel a little self-conscious, self-conscious enough for me to not want to be in a bathing suit before they go away, but I know they will fade and I will be here waiting it out. I worried that I would not recognize me after Gabe came. But here I am! Getting stronger every day, regaining my core strength because it was awesome to be able to walk a few miles every day and never feel worn out by it. I want that back.
Some other things not at all weight related with my postpartum body:
- I have carpal tunnel in both my wrists, causing numbness and tingling in my fingertips. The doctor gave me two braces to wear and she also told me that it will go away and that when I have another baby it will for sure come back again. Oh well. Also, my knuckles swell at night and it is difficult to straighten my fingers all the way in the morning. I’ve read that it is fluid build up from pregnancy and will eventually fade too.
- I magically have way less armpit hair. Hormones are weird and magical. And by less I mean a LOT less… barely visible.
- The first few weeks after birth I smelled like a man who never showered. Even though I showered every day and truly never had BO (unless following or big workout or if I didn’t shower for a few days) before pregnancy/birth I SMELLED. I mean, I never even wear deodorant… that is how much I do not sweat or smell in my armpits. But postpartum? Smelly armpits. Weird.
I still am not back to my usual size 8 pants. I don’t actually know what size I am right now, but I know that my pre pregnancy clothes don’t fit my hips/butt zone. And when I went shopping last weekend I didn’t even approach pants, but some fitted skirts were not happening in the size 8. It has only been 6 weeks, and I’m really giving myself until 3 months until I purchase non-maternity pants. Beyond that I don’t expect to be fitting into my old jeans until Christmas, and honestly I might never fit into them. Things have changed, I don’t know what is permanent yet and what isn’t, but what I do know (to my relief) is that it isn’t bad. Inconvenient, yes at times, but also kind of sexy and powerful.