They told me I’d never be the same

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


Remembering

Today marks the two year anniversary of Payton’s accident.  It marks the day that ushered in 5 days of hell for my family as we desperately prayed for a miracle and waited as doctors ran tests and tried to reduce the swelling in his brain.  Today I’m remembering the feelings–emotional and physical–I experienced from the moment I woke up in Cape Town to an in box full of “CALL HOME NOW!” e-mails to the time I made it home and was met at the hospital entrance by my parents and told Payton would be taken off life support in the morning.

Today I’m remembering the tragedy and grief my family has experienced but also remembering the joy that Payton brought.  His life, although so short, was vibrant and full.  Below I have reposted something I wrote last September. Please do remember my family this week–hold us in your prayers and send us peace, love, and joyful memories of our little man.
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Gratitude, Grief, and things that go Ba-Bump.

My cousin, Allie, is an actuaryI once asked her if she could figure out my chances of dying.  She smiled and told me not to worry about it (as it turns out there’s a 100% chance).  There are so many ways to die– disease, violence, and accidents– it seems like a miracle that any of us make it as far as we do.

From one cell we grow into these super complex beings. Each with the same basic anatomy but with completely different characteristics and personalities. I’m not even going to pretend to know how it all works but what I do know is that it is pretty miraculous that it all keeps doing its thing with little help from me.  I used to like to go under water in the bathtub and listen to my heart beat—it amazed me (still does) that this thing inside of me just kept ba-bumpin’ away to keep me alive.  I love to feel my heart beating faster while I’m running.  I also like to lie very still and see just how slow I can get it to go.  It’s really quite incredible.
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