A Love Letter To My Postpartum Body
Hey body: thank you. Thank you for carrying our newest buddy for 37 or so weeks within you, without complaint or disaster. Thank you for producing the perfect cocktail of hormones that didn’t result in a repeat performance of gestational diabetes. Thank you for responding well to our diet, despite our penchant for sweets and caramel frapps. Thank you for deeming our meager exercise regimen of leisurely biking a short distance to a thrice-per-week yoga class an acceptable gateway to a healthy pregnancy, and for not minding when I pretty much stopped doing all of it for the entire duration. Most important of all, I want you to know that I freaking love you, postpartum body.
I love your hair that’s been greasy for three days because we didn’t have time for a shower, and when we finally found a 5-minute window to do so, you didn’t even get a shampoo in because the newborn started wailing for mommy. I love your faint blond streaks — it is a reminder of our last hair appointment, which happened just a few days before finding out we were with child. Today, several months later, seeing them in the mirror is a cause for excitement for our next salon visit (maybe in a couple of months) and it will be well deserved and definitely more enjoyable.
I love your sturdy shoulders that smell of burped out breast milk. You literally have a couple of shoulders to cry on, a place for our baby to rest his head. And because you’ve endured many three-hour marathons of calming our gassy baby over them, they may be achy for a long time, but they will be strong. You will feel like there is no burden that you cannot carry.
I love your life-giving breasts that are now three times their usual size. Even when they become hard as rocks at the mere sight of your children and become utterly painful; even when they are literally bursting with milk that they start to leak and soak one bra after another; even when your nipples are raw and cracked and bleeding, I love them because they give you an opportunity to feed our newborn son with nourishment and undying, motherly love. The fact that they give you a pretty sexy cleavage that’ll empower you to hang on till the next night feeding is an added bonus.
I now know the truth…CHILDBIRTH IS FREAKING PAINFUL!
I love your belly, with its squishy muffin top bulges and intricate web of stretch marks in certain places. It is like a visual map of our journey to new motherhood, a wonderful and inspiring reminder of your ability to expand and accommodate a growing human being inside of you. You are our baby’s first home.
Thank you for providing him with shelter and for not falling apart no matter how hard he kicked and punched all throughout our third trimester. I hope the binder that I am wearing is helping your insides reorganize back to their usual spots.
I love your c-section scar. Even though our OB tells me it’s a bit longer than most scars she has seen, I love it because this one is yours. You wear it like a badge of honor, a badge that says, “I am a badass mom. I have been through a lot but I persevered like a freaking champ.” Thank you for healing nicely... it made the constant itchiness of the scab and the pain I felt from any slight twisting or bending worth it.
I love your legs that are still riddled with varicose veins. I love them because no matter how tired they are, they still have the will to get up at midnight to get the baby out of the crib and feed him, and then again at 3 a.m., and then again at 6 a.m.
What more can I say? I love every part of you. Exclamation point, no erasures.
Body, I know this wasn’t the first time you’ve gone through childbirth, and maybe it won’t be your last. Given how eventful my firstborn’s first week of life was, I know I wasn’t able to pay your healing enough attention, and for that I am truly sorry. If I took your strength and perseverance for granted before, I now know the truth…CHILDBIRTH IS FREAKING PAINFUL! And recovery from it — a c-section, a major surgery no less! — is no joke and is probably one of the hardest things any mom can go through, and you helped me do it by being so incredibly resilient. With your strength, you enabled me to see the struggle through depression-free lenses.
Lastly, you gave me a healthy new baby to love and cherish forever. You. Did. That.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.