Vaginas are rad. I've always been pretty obsessed with them, especially mine. I've even named her: Vanessa. (It's an intensely vaginal and very lovely name, if you ask me.) There are lots of times when I appreciate Vanessa, but never have I appreciated her more than during and after the birth of my daughter, who was delivered vaginally after a previous cesarean (VBAC). This gratitude goes along with several apologies I owe my postpartum vagina, but have never formally made because, you know, vaginas don't have ears. But still.
I feel like my postpartum period (for my vaginal birth, as the the c-section postpartum experience was a whole different animal) was a contradiction. I was simultaneously shocked by how much I could do and how good I felt, and how much everything hurt. Having had a c-section, and having dealt with that (comparatively lengthy) recovery period, it was incredible to feel like, "Oh, I can sit up without any help at all! And look at that! My movement is pretty much completely unrestricted. This is fabulous!"
However, having prepped (extensively) mentally and physically for a VBAC, I think there was some degree of (perhaps necessary) fetishizing of vaginal delivery. I had read so often, for example, that recovery was so much easier and completely skipped (or was never exposed to) the materials that essentially tell you, "By the way, you did push a baby out of your nethers and that sh*t doesn't tickle, girl. Oh, and they don't give you any of the good drugs after this rodeo, like they did last time. You only have the Ibuprofen you buy yourself. And two words: ice pack." I was so focused on birth that I hadn't done much prep for recovery, and for that, I owe my vagina a love letter/mea culpa. And so, without further ado: