My pre-pregnancy jeans fit me again. But not, as you may think, because I have got my body back. You can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, you can just never get your body “back”. Your body is irreparably changed by pregnancy. No, sadly, my jeans fit again because my bottom has sagged!
The information websites and books tell you that your breasts will enlarge…”they” fail to mention however, that they (your breasts, that is) never actually diminish in size again. Sure, they have the illusion of shrinking, simply because they succumb to gravity. And round two is even worse…they get even bigger and off course gravity then gets that much stronger a hold on them!
In addition to my saggy bottom and droopy boobs, there is an unwholesome squelchy quality to my midriff. And this bothers me, despite the fact that I’m not usually particularly body-conscious. It doesn’t seem to make any difference how many sit-ups, planks or crunches I do, it seems that my stomach muscles have just stretched beyond repair!
The books and the websites tell you many things. The problem is that “they” tell you the basic facts and skip many of the gory details. But the truth is, if they did, many of the squeamish among us may not have been able to look past those details and gone on to have children. Even as I sit here and write, I have to contemplate exactly how much sharing is “too much information”?
Stop reading right now if you are not into oversharing….
Because it’s not just the stomach muscles that stretch! You are told that your chances of incontinence will increase. “They” make it seem like it may be some day; when you’re old and infirm. It is not! In fact, despite dutifully doing kegel exercises for months prior, for the first few days (and even weeks) after birth, your plumbing just doesn’t work. You can’t laugh, cough, sneeze or even get up quickly without wetting your pants. And that is just the beginning. Doing number 2 closely resembles giving birth all over again, except, this time, it feels like you are trying to pass shards of broken glass. Told you not to read this if you were squeamish!
And you have no guarantee that it will ever get better! And if you’re thinking: “C-section” right now, do not be fooled. I was told (afterwards!) that it has very little to do with your mode of delivery and it’s simply the weight of the baby on your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy that causes this to happen.
“They” inform you that day three is post-birth is the worst. They do try to tell you that your hormones will be raging, milk will be coming in and you will by then be thouroughly sleep-deprived. “They” don’t explain that your breasts are hurting so much you can hardly bear the touch of clothes on your chest. They don’t tell you that every time the baby cries, wakes up or even moves you want to melt into a little puddle on the floor. At the same time, you feel like you are the only person that can take care of that little squirming, crying non-sleeping being. They don’t explain to your partner that he is not allowed to look at you, speak to you, and he is definitely not allowed to offer any kind of help. But God help him if he doesn’t offer any! No, instead of giving you this information when you innocently ask what the big deal about “day three” is, people just give you a wry smile and say: ‘you’ll see’.
Well done for bearing with me this far. Because it’s not all bad! And this I find the most amazing…no-one tells you that the really bad part only lasts a few weeks! By week three you have (mostly) figured out baby’s different cries. By six weeks, they start smiling reactively and by three months (which fly by like a hurricane) the breastfeeding sessions already shorten from 30 minutes to ten, and you can go out again; start doing normal-person-things again. And from that first smile onwards, watching them grow and explore is like living life all over again, but more fun!
By the time the first birthday rolls around, that child is so damn cute, and the memories of those first few dreadful weeks are so faded that you start to think: “I think I want another one…”