If you thought the questions you had to field when you were pregnant were bad, just wait until you're postpartum. Oh, you thought the fun would end once the baby came? Ha. You wish, new mom. People will want to know all about how your precious babe's entrance into this fine planet has properly effed up your body, including the details. In fact, there are more than a few infuriating questions people will ask about your postpartum body, and the more intimate and gory your answers, the happier your audience will be. For some reason, people are not satisfied to just let a new mom figure out her feelings about her postpartum body without inserting judgment under the veil of seemingly benign questions.
Some of the questions you find yourself fielding when you're postpartum can feel like they're being asked for the sole purpose of entertaining the person who is inquiring. I can't help but feel like the person who asked "whether or not my vagina felt like it did before" I had a kid, was hoping for some gruesome answer like, "It's a black hole into an endless abyss!" to satisfy their curiosity at the time. (Truth: no, no changes to report. Also, I had c-sections.)
If the questions come from a good place, or from the mouth of a good friend who is truly interested or concerned about your wellbeing, that's one thing. However, when it is some random person, like your mom's neighbor or your partner's coworker, are you really required to go there? Ugh. These kinds of questions make a new mom want to cover her body in a heap of nursing blankets and never leave the house.
"Can We Talk About The Tearing?"
Whoa! Way to just go there, guy. People love to head straight to what is most likely the worst part of your labor and delivery experience, firing away with questions about what parts of it required stitches. Crowds love a good vaginal tearing story.
I'm extremely lucky in that I didn't have to suffer any scars on my vag. Instead, the scars were on my abdomen. I do, however, have friends with horror stories of having to have had multiple doctors come in to perform various patch up jobs on their genitals because of all the bleeding, or stories of almost bleeding out on the table because of tearing. None of these experiences are the kind of thing that they'd be comfortable just casually sharing with an acquaintance or the new friend. Trust.
"Have You Found That Things Have Shifted?"
Yes, people may be curious to know if, postpartum, your butt got flatter but your thighs got a little heavier. I guess most people assume that after a woman has a baby, some things shift around the body, weight-wise. But what business is it of anyone else to know, and since when is someone's weight a subject of polite conversation?
After someone asked me if my weight had shifted, it made me think, merely by the question having been posed, that things actually had. I couldn't stop replaying the line every time I stepped in front of a mirror with some pre-pregnancy clothes that still "fit" technically, but not exactly the way that they used to. I wish I hadn't been so sensitive, but then again, I also wish I could erase my whole history of an eating disorder so that random people's innocent questions wouldn't be so triggering to me.
"Is Everything The Same, 'Down There?'"
I often wondered why other people were so invested in the state of my vagina when I was postpartum. Up until this point in my life — as in, anytime preceding when I had had a baby — I can't recall having a conversation about my vagina with anyone except very close girlfriends or my doctor. So why did people think it was suddenly on the table to discuss now?
"Do You Think You'll Ever Wear A Bikini Again?"
Short answer: Yes. Also, Ew. Thanks a lot for that low blow to my self esteem.
Oh, and one more thing: Why can't I wear a bikini whenever I damn well please?
"How Long Did It Take You To Look Like You Do Now?"
People started asking me this particular question after a good amount of time had passed and my body started to look more like it did before I was pregnant. Still, I didn't like the question and I think it is kind of dangerous for everyone involved. It gives the person asking it some kind of marker of "how much time is reasonable for a woman's body to look like a certain way postpartum" and, honestly, everyone is different.
For me, it is not comfortable because the disordered part of me wants to know, "But how do I look, really? Do I look kind of like before? Worse? Better? Skinnier? Bigger?" Since a "fun" addition of my eating disorder is big slice of body dysmorphia, I never truly know what my body looks like and I have to take all my cues from how other people seem to perceive my body.
"Do You Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin Yet?"
Baby or no baby, I think this questions is ridiculous for anyone to ask another person. Most people don't feel 100 percent comfortable in their own skin. When directed at your postpartum body, the person asking you is also throwing some seriously shade at your physical appearance. They are letting you know that you do not look like the "old you," and if they were in your shoes, they wouldn't be feeling so comfortable. As a result, and apparently in their opinion, neither should you. Hence, the leading question.
"How Bad Is Your Scar?"
If you are a c-section mama, like me, people tend to ask about your scar. Apparently the "nastier" the scar, the better.
"Do You Pee When You Sneeze?"
Oh man, you have to lie when you answer this one because everyone just wants the answer to be something along the lines of,"Hell yes." The world would like to imagine all the postpartum ladies just urinating themselves silly while sitting on the couch nursing babies and sneezing. It is the perfect picture of maternal bliss, don't you think?
To me, this question is also kind of similar to your friend in middle school who had never been kissed wanting to hear about how disgusting it was when it happened to you for the first time. "Did you feel tongue? Ew! Was it gross?"