They told me I’d never be the same

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As I watched my belly grow and stretch in ways I never dreamed possible last year, I was told over and over that my body would never be the same.  I figured these loving and wise women were referring to the outer appearance of my tummy.  ha. Little did I know.

Last February!  What a different a year makes

Last February! What a different a year makes

celebrating my belly, full of love

celebrating my belly, full of love

I think they might have actually been alluding to the fact that my pelvic floor, no matter how many kegels I do, will never feel as strong and tight as it did pre baby.  I didn’t realize how strong it was pre-baby because why would I think about such a thing?  But now, 10 months after spending 22 hours in labor and 6.5 hours pushing a baby out while I could actually feel my muscles tearing open, I still get sore down yonder after a long walk/run/day.  Maybe they were referring to the lack of bladder control I would have for quite some time. Yep. I’ve totally peed my pants on multiple occasions post pregnancy (and I’m not counting the times I coughed and a little came out).  Or maybe, just maybe, some of them were speaking of the poop.  While I was pushing, I remember hearing over and over–“push just like you’re pooping, just like you’re pooping!”  Well, it seems that all that “pushing like you’re pooping” did something to my pooping mechanisms, as now, when I get the urge to poop, there had better be a bathroom within about half a second of me or I’m in trouble.

I write this because I had a particularly embarrassing moment today involving poop–embarrassing not because anyone knew (accept for all the people I shamefully walked by on the way home that could probably smell me) but embarrassing because I felt like all my dignity was stripped away and running down the back of my legs and onto the socks that I had to throw away at the park. Yes. I apologize if you are adverse to speaking about poop but this is really something I wish someone would have shared with me before it started happening for me.  Like, “oh by the way, you might crap yourself after you deliver a child”.

Pregnancy and child birth changes things.  My midwife comforted me afterwards by saying, “Well, the good news is you’re body will never be the same” referring to the fact that my tight runners pelvic muscles were now nice and stretched out and future babies should not be as tough. “Dignity” really goes out the window with all the crazy things that happen in pregnancy.  And thats before you’re naked, moaning and panting, grunting and heaving, sweating, vomiting, pooping, bleeding and tearing as you bring a new life into the world.  Any dignity you have after that, well, that goes out the window when you shit your pants on a walk 30 minutes from home with a baby strapped to your belly.

Thank heavens for compassionate, wise midwives

Thank heavens for compassionate, wise midwives

The moment I knew nothing would be the same

The moment I knew nothing would be the same

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My right leg is covered in scars from epic adventures–a mishap trekking in the jungle in Thailand, a burn from a motorcycle exhaust in India, and some narly zigzags from rusty barbed wire on a trail run in South Africa.  I wear those scars with pride.  Why then, has my culture taught me to feel shameful about my mama scars?  Why do I look in shame at the tummy’s of my friends who have not had babies and feel inadequate because mine is no longer as flat or because I have what I like to refer to as “maternal fat stores” on my hips for nursing.  Why am I not taught to love these changes to my body–they are a reminder of the greatest gift.  They are a reminder of how my body lovingly grew my son and the connection that only I share with him–that for a while, we were one.  That his heart beat inside of me.  That alone makes a crapping my pants worth it.

This is something I need to work on.  I need to work on rejecting the notion that my body should look and behave exactly as it did pre-Leif.  How could it?  The moment he entered the world I felt a surge of life and love rush through me and I knew that nothing could ever be the same.  I instantly understood more clearly my own mothers love.  I knew that the 9 months of pregnancy and 22 hours of believing I was dying (from pain and exhaustion) was worth it.  I’d do it again right then if I had to!  Babies change your body.  But they also change your heart.  May I stop picking the image I see in the mirror apart and start celebrating my mama scars (and planning better routes so as always be be near a toilet or a bush).

So.Worth.It

So.Worth.It

10 responses »

  1. Sweetie…those “mama scars” are badges of honor (well…except for the pooping). Wear them proudly! And anyhow, most women would kill for you body! Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    • Yes, I think I may set up an appointment with my midwife concerning the pooping to see if maybe there is something I could do to but an end to that. Its really a problem!

  2. i love it…i love you. i’ve been thinking about this too lately, and hoping to practice some self-compassion…and, i’m not sure if it would have been better or worse for you if i were there, but i would have gladly given you my socks!

    • It’s mutual Heidi! I would have called a friend to come help me with new clothes in the park restroom but I had to hurry home so I could teach! I crossed the street every time I saw someone coming so they couldn’t smell me. Ha. I need a Heidi date soon!!!!

  3. Melissa, you are wonderful!!!

    The pooping issue might be accentuated by the current high fiber diet. You might want to try to find some food that will add a little density and then go book an appointment at the Korean Spa on South Tacoma Way. Make sure you get the full body scrub; it’s the ultimate panacea for all mother annoyances.

    You will find your new balance.

    Huge Hugs!!

    Julie

    • Yes, I do consume a whole lot of fiber…This is not new thought! But you are right, maybe I should add a few more binding foods to the diet and see if that helps with the poop situation! And I for sure need to go get a scrub down!

  4. I love this one!!! After 3 kiddos I can assure you it doesn’t get any better haha. I have peed my pants. . . or squatted in so many placed I shouldn’t lol! One thing that really helped me with my momma body was something Adam said. . . He said that through his time (almost 3 years total) in Afghanistan and Iraq he saw women who had little food beyond what they grew, and yet the women who had children all were a little thicker around the middle. Our bodies weren’t made to look like we never had a baby!! We were made to bear children and have the proof! I am not saying that it isn’t wise to eat healthy and exercise, but this U.S. obsession with looking like we never had kiddos goes against our design and is frankly kinda dumb! On a side note, Roman who is now almost 6 makes fun of me for peeing in random places all the time, and told his teacher a “funny” story about how I one time peed in one of paces diapers LOL!

    • Oh man! I seriously have considered diapers for myself! That is so funny that Roman told his teacher that story! I’ve squatted in some funny places too!

      Why oh why have we let our culture slip so far away from what is normal and natural and beautiful? There are places in the world where a woman’s curves (and I’m not just talking about her breasts) are celebrated! Of course I believe in eating and exercising for health but you are so right that the focus on a body that really isn’t even possible (no matter your diet or exercise routine) for 98% of the population is mind blowing!

    • Cristina! I just listened to a TED talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability. She talks about how our greatest desire is to hear “me too”! When we express our most vulnerable areas. I think more women should talk about these things! And fight back against the status quo culture that says have a baby and then get your ass/tummy/hips back in shape! Instead of embracing the changes that mother hood brings! Thanks for sharing!!!

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