The birth of my son, while one of the greatest gifts ever, was not kind to my stomach. A c-section plus a challenging recovery made my stomach a prime target of many of my postpartum frustrations. What was once a happy focal point during pregnancy became the superficial bane of my existence. I hated my stomach, and I was unforgiving of it and cruel. However, now that I've had space from it, I realize that I was way out of line. So, at long last, these are the apologies I definitely owe my postpartum stomach.
The other piece here, is that I've spent years taking good care of my stomach. I do a lot of acrobatic type of exercise that builds my muscles and sets my core on fire. Childbirth seemed to have reversed a lot of that hard work, and I found myself back at square one, especially with my abs. Whereas pre-baby I could do a sit up while hanging upside down from my ankles, I couldn't even get my shoulders off the floor by engaging my core. It was hard to not feel resentment towards this part of my body which seemed to have betrayed me.
Long since the postpartum days, my stomach and I have made peace. It was a journey to find ourselves back to one another, and I think that it has finally forgiven me for all the ways in which I kind of behaved like a Grade A jerk. At least, I hope so?
I'm Sorry For All The Frankenstein Analogies
When I first got out of the hospital from my c-section recovery, it was really hard to not look at my stomach with its mess of dark black stitches and not think, "It's alive!" every single time. The tissue around the surgery site was red and angry-looking, and overall was just a big pile of hot mess. Even though my doctor is a skilled surgeon and expert in her field, I worried that during my surgery she had suffered some kind of temporary fugue state and botched up everything, because my stomach looked like something a toddler would have done a better job with after being handed the right tools.
I'm Sorry For The References To Wide-Mouth Bass
The raised skin around my surgery site only seemed to get more pronounced as time went by after I got home from the hospital, lending my stomach with its big swooping scar a large, smiley face feature when gazing at it straight on in the mirror. I started to imagine that my stomach was a wide-mouth bass, and made up a funny voice to go along with my new appendage every time I was confronted with it in the mirror.
At the time I thought I was funny (laughing through the pain) but now I realize how damaging this must have been to my postpartum stomach's self-esteem.
I'm Sorry For Not Giving You Much Privacy
I was so perplexed by my postpartum stomach and the fact that it seemed to defy logic and maintain its pre-birth fullness for quite some time, that I spent as many hours as possible lifting up my shirt and gazing at it in wonder. How was it that I had successfully rid my body of an eight pound human, yet my stomach still looked as if I was carrying him in what appeared to be an eight month pregnant belly?
Maybe if I had given my stomach some solitude and darkness it would have done the thing that postpartum stomachs are supposed to do, which is shrink. Maybe all that peeking slowed down what was supposed to be a natural process.
I'm Sorry For Picking And Poking At You So Much
Give me something to pick and I'll pick it. Stitches? You bet I'm gonna pick at those mofos. A puffy stomach? I'm gonna poke that ish. I can't help it! But still, I'm sorry if it made you feel really uncomfortable.
I'm Sorry For Talking About You To All Of My Friends
Anyone who was willing to listen, or pretend to listen while thinking about what they were going to eat for lunch, heard my never ending saga about my postpartum stomach. "Why is everything taking so long?" I would wonder to my non-mom friends, like my stomach was a balloon from a birthday party over two months ago that refused to pop, bobbing up every now and then around the apartment floor to say, "Hey, remember me?'"
I think there was a period, in between complaining about my colicky baby and how little it was that he slept, that it was literally all I talked about.
I'm Sorry For Saying Some Nasty Things About You Online
I wrote some really raw stuff about my postpartum stomach online. And, you know, those ditties stay there for like, ever. I doubt my stomach can read, but if I could take some of it back I would, just on principal.
I'm Sorry I Didn't Give You The Time You Needed To Heal
I admit, I tried to rush things. I didn't want to wait the number of weeks it would take to be able to wear regular underwear and jeans again as opposed to special underwear made for c-section scars and high-waist stretch pants. I didn't want to not be able to lift things around the house and have to wait for someone else to do it for me (because how '50s housewife is that?) So yeah, I decided to speed up the rules about the healing process on c-sections, and, looking back, it was not the best idea because, newsflash: I am not a doctor.
I'm Sorry I Put So Much Pressure On You (I'm Talking About Those Belly Binders)
A few weeks after a c-section is just not the right time to introduce shape-training accessories, especially as they pertain to the stomach. I tried some kind of bamboo stomach wrap with like a million hook and eye closures that reminded me of my wedding night (strange-sounding I know) and wore it around the house (and even on errands) for hours at a time. The box specifically warned against using while breastfeeding, but I decided that was just a note of caution for all the other ladies whose stomachs didn't look like they had been thrown in a meat grinder, and then plumped with a mix of animal feed and drugs.