I had my first baby in August of 2008. A beautiful baby girl!
My husband and I were so excited! And… I was clueless about what to expect when I was discharged from the hospital… and I didn’t even know it.
So clueless in fact, that I packed pre-pregnancy clothes in my hospital bag. As if delivering an 8-pound baby would magically make me lose the 60 pounds I gained. Yes, 60. I’m being real, y’all. (Not sure what I was thinking there…)
Fast forward 13 years. I now have delivered a total of six babies and am pretty dang familiar with how the postpartum process will go. At least here is how it goes for me, starting with that last agonizing week before delivery and ending with baby’s first birthday.
One week before the due date
I start the day like a turtle on my back, getting a rolling start to sitting up. I rub my gigantic belly and look at the raven claw landing pad that is my belly. It’s striped with bright white and red stretch marks. I am ready to have this baby in my arms! I decide that I am going to kick myself into labor today. I will bounce on my birthing ball, I will go for a long walk, I will do all the things!
Fast forward 8 hours: I went for a walk, I bounced on the ball, I did all the things. I gave up around lunch. I am still pregnant.
I am bigger than I ever thought possible. I eat watermelon and fresh spring rolls daily because what baby wants baby gets. My pelvis feels like it is in literal pieces and with every step I take, I feel clicks and pops. I am exhausted beyond all comprehension because while being a walking whale lady, I am also a mother of five girls. They need clean clothes and meals, and while my husband is amazing and helpful, I still try to do as much of the housework as I can.
I waited it out until my due date. I wave my white flag at my OB and agree to be induced next week sometime.
I have been teased by everyone who meets me that being this is baby number six, surely he will just fall out.
As lovely and stereotypical as that sounds, unfortunately for me, I walked around until 40.5 days approximately ZERO cm dilated.
Yippee! Today is the day! Baby will be here sometime today! I am admitted for my induction!
After 12 hours, it all ends with my beautiful baby boy on my chest. Our first boy! I’m in love! He is so precious, I can’t see straight.
One Week-ish Postpartum
I am nursing and snuggling and cuddling my baby boy all the livelong day. I rub my round 6-month pregnant-looking belly and I am just so proud of this body! I gave birth a week ago and I am an Earth goddess. I am literally Mother Earth. I need some flowers in my hair or something.
Six Weeks to Four Months Postpartum
Who is this swamp monster I see before me? I don’t know what happens other than a chaotic hormone crash but something goes bananas and I have completely lost the flower child milk mama that I was so proud of a few weeks ago. All I can see are my flaws, bulges, chins, gigantic boobs, breakouts, and hair falling out so much that unclogging the shower every other day has become a thing. And this belly? LOL my belly button pokes out like a turkey baster when I laugh!
Some of you know it as The Four Month Dump.
Maternity clothes are too big and pre-pregnancy clothes are too small. I live in gym shorts and my husband’s t-shirts.
I AM HERE TO HELP YOU SO LISTEN CLOSELY: Get yourself some “in-between clothes.” You will feel SO MUCH better if you have cute clothes that fit you when you are leaving your house. You will feel SO MUCH worse if you torment yourself by squeezing into uncomfortable clothes. You don’t deserve that. You had a baby. Be nice to yourself. You are still Mother Earth Flower Goddess.
If you are one of the lucky ones who are already in your pre-pregnancy clothes by this point, YAY YOU!
But if you are not, it’s ok. The scale will probably sit at the same spot for a while and maybe inch down here and there. We are not going by the scale. We are going by how we feel. Dress your precious self in cute comfortable clothes.
Eight Months to One Year
For the first year after baby, it is ESSENTIAL to give yourself TIME. Time to recover, time to heal, time to get used to the way you look.
Your hips are probably a little wider and your arms and thighs might be thicker. Everything is soft. It is ok.
Do your very best to take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, but don’t forget to treat yo’self from time to time. Go for walks, stay hydrated and active but also REST! BE NICE to yourself.
Snuggle and love your baby. Also, take breaks from your baby. Go get your hair done, or hand baby to their daddy and go take a nap. Recharge.
Around a year, all those hormones level off and slowly but surely, I feel like myself again. And then one day, I look in the mirror, and… wait, there she is! I look
rested a little less tired! Out of nowhere those skinny jeans kinda fit! Although, I do have a halo around my head of baby hairs that have grown in after The Great Hair Loss. But it’s fine, I’ll take it.
After all that I have put this body through, I’m pretty dang proud of what it has accomplished. And I can look back and see the soft mama here, who can love and cuddle and squeeze six babies, and say: hang on mamas, it’s just a season, and it goes by so, so fast.