The Ups and Downs of Postpartum Life

My baby is 11 weeks and 1 day old.
My postpartum body is 11 weeks and 1 day old.

Never in my life did I think I could love someone as deeply as I love my son. Never did I think I would be willing do do absolutely anything for another human, but I know now that I would do absolutely anything for my son, James.

Yet, despite this, despite my unconditional, absolute love for my perfect son, my postpartum experience hasn’t been exactly what I thought. As far as postpartum life goes, I’ve had it relatively easy. I haven’t dealt with any noticeable depression. My son sleeps well, so I haven’t been as sleep deprived as a lot of mommies and daddies. I have a husband who’s willing to work two jobs so that I can stay home with our baby during these first, most important months. But my body…my body is foreign to me.

I thought, since I would be breastfeeding (or exclusively pumping, in my case) my baby weight would fall away. I knew it wouldn’t happen right away, but I thought surely by the two month mark, I wouldn’t still look pregnant. I would be able to wear some of my more normal clothes. I wouldn’t have to wear maternity and oversized clothes. But that hasn’t happened. I’m pushing three months postpartum and, though I haven’t weighed myself, I know I haven’t lost an ounce.

This new body is a miracle. It nourished and grew a healthy baby, and now it carries and nourishes that same baby as he grows. My arms and legs are strong enough to hold him and walk with him, to rock him to sleep. My back is strong enough to carry his weight as he grows and grows. I produce enough milk, even though we haven’t learned to latch, that he’s a big, healthy boy. This new body is a miracle. And yet…

And yet, I resent my body. I resent the stretch marks that are etched around my belly button and on my sides. I resent my belly, the way it sticks out, as if there were a baby in there still. I resent the fact that my old clothes, my pre-baby clothes, don’t fit anymore. I look back on pictures of myself, pictures where I thought I was fat, but now I see a healthy-looking body. I resent this weight that I’ve gained and now carry. Weight that I don’t need to nourish and care for my baby.

Everyone tells me that these marks are battle scars. And they’re right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me to look at those scars. It doesn’t mean I want my body to look like this forever.

I may always have stretch marks, and that’s OK with me. But I won’t always carry this weight. I will get control of my body back. I knew my body would change forever, and I was ready for that, but now I’m ready to begin shaping my new body into something I can love.

I’m thankful that my postpartum journey has been as easy as it has. I’m thankful for my big, healthy boy. I’m thankful for the sleep I get (even if I’d like more) and for having such an easy baby. I’m thankful that my body did and is doing what it needs to do to care for this perfect child. But I’m ready to start a new journey, one that allows me to regain the part of my old life, the part where I’m in a body that allows me to move and bend and be me again. I want to be 100% James’s mommy, but I also want to still be me. 

James and Mommy