I’ve noticed that I’ve lost my blogging dignity. Almost every post seems to contain some reference to nipples or nethers or some other unseemly part of my being. This is most unlike me. That’s what giving birth does to you, I’m afraid. I can distinctly remember thinking during the last bit of the birth “everyone in this room can see my whole bum”, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. And worse, I didn’t really care (on account of the sizeable head making its way- oh, there I go again).
Perhaps it’s because I feel I’ve lost ownership of my body. Not in a dramatic THE-BABY-IS-A-TRIFFID sort of way. I don’t begrudge Leila the manner of her entrance, or her regular nosebags. Mi cuerpo es su cuerpo, baby. I say it because my body doesn’t look or feel like it used to. I think the word I would use is ravaged. There, I’ve said it.
There are websites where women post pictures of their post-partum bodies. I think the idea is to make mothers feel better about themselves. I will not be posting a picture here or on any of those sites, because first of all, ew. Why make it easier for the pervs? Secondly, I can’t help but think that the women that do whip out their mummy tummies for such websites might generally fall into two camps: either they’re earthy yoghurt-knitting I-am-mother-hear-me-roar types; otherwise, they are totally skinny and want to show off.
I’m not quite the former, and I’m certainly not the latter. Though I’m technically thinner than I was before Leila- the skinny jeans get ever looser thanks to breastfeeding- weight is not the issue. The thing is, I feel jumbled up. My waist is in a different place. my bum is flatter (?!), my posture has changed. And of course, there is the Mummy Tummy. Therein lies the worst of it.
G says kindly that all of us in our little family have our “Leila-marks”. He banged his head (in excitement, probably) when he was cleaning the car to bring Leila home from hospital, and still bears the scar; Leila has her strawberry (which, can I just say, I no longer give a monkeys about); and I have been attacked by the stretchmarkasaurus, which clawed its way across my lower abdomen despite diligent Bio-Oiling. Ruddy Bio Oil, bah, what a waste of money. I try to look at them lovingly as Leila-marks. But it’s difficult.
And I suppose I knew that, having been stretched to 40 inches plus, my abs would not immediately regain their former firmness, or my stomach its normal shape. But I didn’t quite figure that my tummy would end up looking like, well, exactly like it has recently contained a 7lb baby plus trimmings.
I can’t quite see how I am going to snap it all back into shape, and I am at a total loss as to how celebs do it.
Quite conveniently, this is all sort of a moot point at the moment. My iron levels are still pretty low, or so it feels, so beyond my daily hikes with the pram (so hey! My legs are fairly toned- small blessings, and all), strenuous exercise is out of the question. And the breastfeeding diet is not just enjoyable but also necessary- so no cutting back on calories for me. In fact, have decided that the only thing to do is to become a wet nurse and lactate for the rest of my life, to enable me to keep mainlining cake in this fashion. Ergo, the huge challenge of getting back in shape lies somewhere in the not-too-distant future and not, thankfully, in the here and now.
All of this doesn’t so much upset me as perplex me. I certainly don’t feel that, as a mother, I’ve lost my identity. In fact I feel more myself than ever before. I just don’t look it.