“Excuse me, let me just adjust my girdle.”
“Have you seen my nipple pad?”
“Yay, my stretch mark cream arrived!”
No, these aren’t lines from an episode of The Golden Girls. These are actual things I’ve said over the last six weeks as I get used to my new normal – my new, postpartum normal.
Life on the other side of pregnancy is sweet for so many reasons, but adjusting to my postpartum self can be challenging. Don’t get me wrong. My body produced a baby, and that’s pretty incredible. It would be absurd for me to think I would return to my pre-baby state in a matter of weeks – or maybe ever. But as impressive as I find the human body and as over-the-moon in love I am with our son, there are moments when I struggle to not feel like a deflated, leaky balloon.
The postpartum body is a tricky subject. For starters, there is so much pressure to lose the baby weight as quickly as possible. Just as I’m congratulating myself for reaching my shoelaces once again, there’s a celeb that dropped all 15 of her pregnancy pounds before leaving the hospital.
Even worse is the shaming that comes with acknowledging that your body no longer resembles your body, and you’d like to do something about it. Not a fan of loose skin and stretch marks? Clearly, you’re a vain, selfish mommy who doesn’t value the miracle of life and the sacrifice that comes with it.
You just can’t win.
For the last six weeks, I have basked in the glow of motherhood. Every day, I spend hours oohing and ahhing over our baby and every perfect inch of him. I’m so elated that he’s here and healthy and ours. There’s no greater gift in this world.
I also rock about four different pairs of sweatpants in rotation. Nothing seems to fit right. My belly has gone down some, but I still look about five months pregnant. Wearing maternity gear feels depressing post-pregnancy, but “anything goes” is the dominant theme of my wardrobe at the moment.
And don’t get me started on nursing bras. Let’s just say that the support you need during this special time will not come in the form of your undergarments. Between belly wraps, breast pads, granny panties and the like, it takes a host of hooks and pulleys to put myself back together again.
So am I vain for mourning my pre-baby body just a little bit? Maybe. But I think postpartum body blues stem from a desire to feel like one’s self again. Everything changes when you have a baby so it’s only natural to want a semblance of your former identity. Instead, my belly feels like a bowl of mashed potatoes, my breasts are ginormous,unpredictable milk bombs, and I’m still hauling around a whole lot of extra me at the moment. I know time will help, but it’s tough to not feel a little out of sorts.
When I start to feel bummed about my postpartum body, my husband likes to remind me that this is the house that built our baby. I’m beyond grateful that this house weathered nine months of pregnancy and was able to bring life into this world. I just wouldn’t mind a little drywall repair.
Jillian Gordon is the Managing Editor of Mamapedia.com. A Los Angeles-based lifestyle writer and editor, her work has appeared in Beauty Launchpad, Nailpro Magazine, Saturday Night Magazine and Westside Today. She is also the former Content Manager of Mom.me. Jillian welcomed her son Flynn in November, 2016.