Because I was too busy planning for the baby’s arrival and learning about labor and delivery, I failed to prepare myself for what’s to happen to my body after baby was out of my belly. I only started to learn about these things as I was experiencing each and every surprising post-partum fact. Nobody told me…
…that my body was going to be confused after baby is out. My hormones went haywire, especially during the first two hours post-partum -- I had hot flashes and chills back-to-back, I thought I was losing my mind. I guess my body was trying to figure itself out.
…that this state of my body figuring itself out was going to take way longer than two hours.
…that I was going to swell worse than when I was pregnant. I was so shocked to see myself in the mirror for the first time after I gave birth. My face was so puffy, I seriously wondered how people recognized me -- I could hardly recognize myself!
…that my belly was going to look like floppy bread dough. And that I wasn’t going to look anywhere near NOT pregnant after giving birth. Now, almost 3 months later, I still look 3 months pregnant, even after losing 28 of the 35 lbs I gained over the pregnancy.
…that the last 7 lbs will so stubbornly stick to me.
…that I was going to keep wearing my maternity pants for about a month after giving birth.
…that this mommy fluff doesn’t just take two months to lose (darn Heidi Klum). I read it can take up to a year, by which time I plan to be pregnant again. When I will lose this muffin top, I have no idea.
…that my body’s shape is going to drastically change. My pre-pregnancy tops fit differently in a bad way. At least my breast-milk-enlarged boobs can now give the illusion that my tummy looks just a little flatter than it really is (and that I can suck it in – but even that I can only hold for a short while).
…that it may take up to 6 months to a year for the linea negra (the vertical line across the belly that appeared during the last month of my pregnancy) to disappear. There goes any hope for wearing a bikini this summer.
…that like the linea negra, my darkened underarms will plan to stay like that for a while. Did I say goodbye, bikini?
…that my self esteem was going to reach its all-time low. I felt like a mass of blob and just hated looking at the mirror. I had nothing to wear, because nothing looked decent on me. I felt so unattractive, no matter how many compliments I got from my darling hubby and dear friends. Those unpleasant thoughts sure got a good hold of me. It could well have been the baby blues (or the mommy fluff).
I wish I knew about these, so I wasn’t caught off-guard by all those ugly, self-worth-eating monsters in my head. I did get rid of them eventually, even with that lovely mommy fluff still hanging on top of my pre-pregnancy pants I now fit back into. I told myself that nothing is permanent, and that it will all get better, even if it will never be the same.
I tried to focus on the positive: having nice toned arms from carrying baby around and firm legs from going up and down the stairs with baby’s 12 lbs. Or having more reason to buy nice new clothes and a swanky new one-piece swimsuit. Or that I can see my feet, reach my toes and wear my heels!
Plus, I now know how to cheat into fitting into some of my older clothes. But even if that doesn’t work, I have every right to look the way I do, because I JUST had a baby – a beautiful, healthy baby with yummy little toes.