You have this big, shiny flag at the end of your 40-week pregnancy – you have a baby! You read books, you take a class, all prepping you to have a baby. And that’s it, but what about the conversations for after you have the baby. The fourth trimester. Long days, sleepless nights, hours spent wondering if the baby is okay, if you’re doing the right thing, second-guessing yourself. Hours spent staring at your precious babe, watching them sleep, listening to them coo. It’s a wonderfully blissful, magical, emotional time.
Then after a couple of weeks, you start to get into a routine. You start to become a little more familiar with how the days and nights go. Your body begins to adjust to your new sleep routine – or lack thereof. The postpartum contractions are gone. The swelling is gone. Things are starting to get back to your new “normal.”
That’s when you look in the mirror. Woah. My body seemed SO far from the normal I was used to seeing. My boobs were huge and I still had a little baby belly bump even though that little baby wasn’t in my belly anymore. I had a new c-section scar that sucks my skin in super tight that it almost gives me a permanent little pooch. This body didn’t look like the body I was used to.
A couple months went by and I didn’t understand why I didn’t “bounce back” like my mom or other friends did. I was breastfeeding, drinking the water, going for walks, doing the things, but nothing changed. I recognized that I was starting to resent my body. I resented the fact that I had to buy new, bigger clothes that would fit me and my body. I didn’t like that I couldn’t even get my old shirts on over my shoulders and chest. I was frustrated that I had to buy a new, larger dress for a funeral because all of my usual black, funeral-type clothes were too small.
I was in the dressing room, trying on a larger, black dress feeling sorry for myself and that’s when it hit me. Here I am feeling sorry for myself about a clothing size and my father-in-law had lost his girlfriend, his best friend to metastatic breast cancer.
Suddenly my body insecurities seemed so small and insignificant. That’s when I knew I needed to start showing gratitude for my body. I am grateful for carrying our baby to past full-term, to late-term with little discomfort. I am grateful I can get out of bed (I had a c-section – this was HARD at first!). I am grateful I can lift our baby out of the crib (again, this is hard after you have a c-section and our son was over 9lbs at birth). I am grateful my body provides comfort and a safe space for our son. I am grateful for my body feeding our baby.
Wow! Our bodies are amazing and do so much throughout pregnancy, delivery, postpartum and that 4th trimester. My son doesn’t care what size clothes I wear. He doesn’t care about the pooch. He doesn’t care about the wider hips. He feels comforted and safe in my arms, wrapped up on my body. This crazy, different, altered body is his home.