In my Metamorphosis post, I shared the changes of my body during pregnancy. Some I welcomed with open arms, others, not so much. In my readings, I came across a lot of opinions on the hype of the post-baby body. Some posted pics of their “snapback”, resembling nothing of what would be expected of a woman who carried a human being for 9-10 months; others posted pictures of their unedited, uncensored post-baby bodies proclaiming that’s what a “real” post-baby body was supposed to look like. As I viewed my post-baby body, I wondered where I fit on the spectrum.
As breastfeeding had graduated to a healthy schedule, my breasts, which I raved about in Metamorphosis, were living up to their expectations not only as a milk supply but they also filled a bra pretty nicely.
Shallow, I know.
About three weeks into active breastfeeding, however, I noticed some discomfort in my left breast. It literally felt like a lit match was being held under the nipple as Liam fed. No joke. Although an ultrasound revealed no blocked milk ducts, the pain had become unbearable and so I found myself feeding mainly on my right breast.
I neglected my left breast so, in turn, my left breast neglected me. Yes, you read that correctly. Although the discomfort in my left breast subsided enough to continue regular feedings, it no longer swelled with milk like the right one leaving me with morbidly uneven breasts. Even though they both look evenly gracious in my bra and clothing, I know the real truth.
And now so do all of you.
I am proud to say that “nose” in this post is not regarded with the same contempt as in Metamorphosis. I wish I could disclose when exactly my nose returned to its regular size but I’m afraid I can’t. It happened that fast.
About three weeks post-partum, my baby mask had began to clear up and my natural skin tone was returning. On my neck and under my arms, the mask had cleared up even before this time. However, at 8 weeks postpartum I began to use Bio-Oil to speed up the process but by this time I was looking less like a panda. So far, so good.
Having been sort of obsessed with keeping trim, fit and healthy before I became pregnant, I was super anxious to get back to working out. Although I knew that it was best to wait the six weeks postnatal before attempting any strenuous workout, once my stitches had “healed up”, I was ready to go. I say “healed up”because although the surface stitches had dissolved, physically (and internally), the effects of the cut were still kicking my ass.
Spare you the gory details?
Allow me to take you to class for a second. I apologise in advance if the images I present to you now plague your mind forever. The vagina is a muscular structure. It is also elastic allowing it to widen and contract. Imagine the vagina as two elastic bands stitched together at one end and then either ends stretched out to their maximum and affixed to two rotating posts. Let the stitches represent my perineal stitches and the stretched out elastic bands represent my postnatal vag. The rotating posts represent my body as it heals over time. As the two posts rotate, the elastic bands, still held together by the stitched ends, are gradually wound around them becoming taut. That’s basically what was happening to my vag and unfortunately everything attached along that muscle. As the stitches healed and became tighter and my body re-tightened itself, it created a tug-o-war effect on my vag muscles. I would soon learn, much to my horror, the effect this would have on my pelvic floor, my clitoris and my urethral (pee) hole. For starters, peeing felt like a cardinal sin, as that too involved some form of muscle contraction. Cross my legs and sit like a lady? Ha! Fat chance. My affected pelvic floor granted me to be anything but prim and proper while engaging in any leisure activities which required sitting.
TMI? Again, I apologise.
Despite my disabilities, once I received the all clear at my six week checkup, I decided I was going to attempt a workout. You know, just take it easy. I decided to tackle one on my Skimble app; a 16 minute full body workout called “Killer Bod, Brah!”, which was one of my personal favourites. The first thing I noticed was how out of breath I had become. And all I did was 60 seconds of mountain climbers. While its a more strenuous rep, I couldn’t help begin to feel resigned. By the time I got to the squat jacks, I was all about ready to give up and pass out and I completely dismissed flutter kicks.
Flutter what? Pfft.
I knew I would have a long way to go before my body allowed me my full range of motion but I was determined to continue at a gradual pace. Even when an attempt at a full plank with rotation sent me crashing to my yoga mat as my pelvis cried, “Nope” and the pain seared through my pelvic region, the thought of having my pre-baby body back kept me going. Cautiously.
I still don’t know where on the spectrum of post-baby bodies I would fit. I often wonder if I hadn’t been so health-and- fit-conscious before I became pregnant if I’d even give a toss about what my body looked like post baby. And even as I type this after my brutal workout this morning, I still don’t think I can honestly say I care greatly if I ever get my body back exactly how it was.
A quote attributed to Nikki Dalton says, “Feeling fat lasts for nine months, but the joy of becoming a mother lasts forever.”
I couldn’t agree more… But I still feel fat.