six month review

Dear body,

Has it been six months already? Close enough! I don’t think another week is going to make much of a difference, to be quite honest.

Right before giving birth, we were so in tune, body. I don’t think I had ever felt so connected, so solidly grounded in you before. Sure I had all of those comedic aches and pains, but I was hyperaware of you in a fascinating way. I was conscious of every movement and every sensation. I was, very simply, at home with my appearance and my physicality.

Immediately after the baby was born, I was left in this flabby, deflated meat sack devoid of a wriggling little body to make the extra weight worthwhile. I felt like an alien in my  own skin, uncomfortable and unattractive.

I’m relieved to say I’ve come out of that feeling, and my body somewhat feels like my own again. Let’s take a look at where we are now!

You’ve bounced back better than expected, weight-wise. You’ve lost over thirty pounds since returning from the hospital. Fifty pounds, if you count the act of childbirth itself! Technically you are back at your starting weight, though it’s been redistributed slightly. You’ve got a bit of a pooch where… well, there wasn’t no pooch, but there was less of one. We’ll keep working on it.

You’ve got some rad tiger stripes on your belly and hips now. I actually have nothing bad to say about that, they’re like battle scars.

But speaking of battle scars: eugh. Let’s take a moment to talk about the psychology of childbirth. I was pretty doped up, but not completely numb, and even being able to feel a bit of what was going on down there convinced me most heartily that I never want to feel the whole thing.

Let’s just say I had a couple of nightmares in the weeks after our return home. The kind of nightmares in which you’ve got a gory gaping wound between your thighs and not much else. When the doctor says that you’ll be healed by your six-week follow-up appointment, they mean in the most technical physiological sense that your flesh has closed and is no longer at risk of infection. It took closer to five months for me to feel normal. So two thumbs up to that!!

In other news, breastfeeding is simultaneously the best and the worst.

Because when I say my body is my own again, I only mean that in a conceptual sense. Really body, you are enslaved to the baby for now. After some burst blood vessels and a bout of mastitis, breastfeeding has long since ceased to hurt, but producing milk is still your primary function.

Reason it is the best: mostly the bonding. The baby looks to me for comfort. We smell the same–a fact which at first contributed to my feeling like an alien, but which I am now so used to that I’m going to have a whole different identity crisis when it goes away. And it is so cute when he nuzzles up and dozes off.

Reason it is the worst: mostly the shenanigans necessary to maintain milk supply while working part-time. I’m glued to the dang pump both at work and on my days off in order to build up enough backstock for babysitters. I have to carefully plan how long I’ll be away from the house. When I am home I have to do every single feeding myself rather than waste precious, precious bottles. And I require… so much gear.

My actual purse vs. my accouterments.

My actual purse vs. my accouterments.

All in all, I think we are doing okay, body. We’re on track to being trim and healthy, the baby is thriving on your flesh, and we are very nearly sleeping at night. I suppose I’ll keep you around… for now.

Talk to you again soon!