Emily is asleep under her gym.
My daughter prefers to power nap during the day, so I am not sure how long I will have to write.
Her teeth are taking their sweet time to arrive, which is not much fun for anyone.
However, thank God for exercise.
This week is the first time since having Little, my body has felt unfit, as opposed to damaged.
Now that rest and recovery are over, the fun can begin.
Yes, I am one of those nut-bags who likes the feeling of pushing my body to its limit. The pain is exciting, while the after effect is exquisite.
Obviously, I will still have to take it easy in order to circumvent the potential for injury, but at least now, I can push a bit harder, and work on building myself back up again.
I like the feeling of being strong and flexible.
Before I fell pregnant, I was in fantastic shape.
I felt good in my body, as compact as it was.
I felt clean, light, and upright.
Let me say, after having little squiggle pants, my core is shredded, and not in the good way.
Nope, there is no six-pack here. Just beautiful soft curves courtesy of my baby girl.
It is so interesting to note how I view my body as a mother, compared to a maiden.
Before having Emily, I used to give myself such a hard time about how I looked.
The judgements were almost relentless in their nag nag-nagging, finger waving wagging.
But these days? These days I have an entirely new appreciation of where I am, and what my body is able to accomplish.
However, what they do not tell you, is how sometimes it can take an age to recover from the birthing process.
In my ignorance as a first timer, I assumed I would bounce back the way I had watched all my girlfriends do.
Nobody really explained the pain, the weakness, or the possibility of a slow slow slow return to my equilibrium.
Sure, I knew it was major surgery, but what did that actually mean?
Nobody else I knew who had given birth via caesarean had taken as long as I had to find their feet.
There was no mention in any of the scientific articles, mama blogs, opinion forums, or medical based essays I read which suggested it would be anything but smooth sailing.
My research suggested, as mothers we are expected to have the baby, and after the day three blues or whatever, everything will return to something resembling one’s pre-pregnant self.
Unless of course you are one of the unlucky souls to suffer from post-natal depression.
Certainly, there is a lot of emphasis on our mental health, as there ought to be. My God, I could imagine nothing worse than not being able to connect with my child. Moreover, my heart goes out to anyone who is or has ever experienced that sense of sadness and isolation.
Words do not begin to do justice to how much I feel for anyone stuck in that awful place.
I am so so sorry.
I was lucky, in that the moment I heard her, I was smitten. Smitten smitten smitten smitten smitten. Head over heels, my life will never be the same again, big love smitten.
However, I am talking about our physical wellbeing.
Of course, I understand the focus needs to be on the baby. I mean how can it not. They are just so cute. And they need so many things.
Before having her, I used to worry, that looking after her would be a chore, and somehow take away from me, and my needs.
However, since her arrival, I have barely thought about myself.
Moreover, the best part is, I do not even care.
Nothing is too much trouble for my baby girl. In fact, I enjoy serving her.
Thank you evolution, you have done a fine job in that area.
However, some sort of heads-up would have been nice.
Because maybe if I had known something, read something, or heard something, I would have been prepared for the onslaught of incapacity, which gripped my body.
Oh God, and nobody ever told me about that first post-partum pooh, let alone the sixteen following.
Nobody told me my entire body would literally shake with toxicity, and the effort of attempting to expel my waste.
nobody told me the pain medication one is so thoughtfully provided after a caesarean, makes a girl so blocked, that I would secretly spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom attempting to give myself a homemade colonic irrigation of sorts; courtesy of a plastic syringe and bucket of warm water, in order to somehow relieve the tension and build-up of hard rotting excrement trapped inside my body.
Seriously, I have never been so constipated in my entire life.
Nobody told me every time I urinated, it would feel like I had the worst urinary tract infection in the entire world.
Moreover, nobody told me about the excruciating pain I would experience in my nipples because the poor little cutie cute cute cute could not latch properly. Let alone the guilt and terror I would feel for not being able to feed her.
Nor did they talk about the fear, the cringing, the overwhelm, or the acute worry and sense of foreboding. Moreover, if they did, they did not explain it well enough for an expectant mama to understand.
I wonder, if we did understand, truly understand I mean, would we put ourselves through it?
Perhaps this is a case of ignorance really is bliss.
I was afraid, no, I am still afraid, every breath she takes, every gurgle, rattle, rasp, or silent intake will be her last.
I lay awake at night, keeping guard. Because what if?
Oh God! What if…
I cannot bear to think about it for too long, because it is just too terrible.
Unfortunately those first weeks of motherhood cannot be theorised about in order to be understood. They have to be lived.
For weeks, Michael would have to hand me the baby, because lifting her was not possible.
For weeks, Michael would have to help me out of bed, into a chair, up and down the stairs, along the path, and with any number of everyday tasks, I had previously taken for granted, as my body simply could not function.
I felt like an eighty-year-old woman.
I had never known such incapacitation.
Absolutely I would do the pregnancy thing again in a Heartbeat. I loved loved loved loved loved being pregnant.
I loved the gradual swell of my belly, the restriction of my movements, the companionship of the baby, and even the morning sickness.
However, the one thing, which will stop me from having another, apart from Michael’s wish of course, is that I cannot go through the recovery again.
John, my osteopath says my caesarean was complicated, and he is not surprised at how difficult it has been for me to bounce back.
He has come to my house practically every week or so to give Emily and me a treatment as required.
I swear to god, who does that? I am beyond words lucky and grateful for his generosity, expertise, and understanding.
He has rubbed my back, released the tension from my scar cracked my toes, held my head, drained my breasts of inflammation, adjusted my neck, treated my exhaustion, and most most most of all, helped Little adjust to being in the world.
Thank you John, words do not begin to explain how we feel about you.
I used to see it as any imperfection in my physicality was a personal betrayal. A betrayal against what, I do not know. But a betrayal, and a personal one at that.
Who knew pregnancy would be the permission I needed in order to liberate myself from the shackles and chains of self-loathing, inner torment, and harsh criticisms regarding my body.
Too bad, they have been replaced with a new set of taunts.
Taunts which cut far more deeply than any sticks and stones remark about my appearance ever could.
These are far more personal, and have far greater ramifications. Because now it is not simply about me, but my abilities as Emily’s mother.
Phrases such as “bad mummy”, “not good enough”, and “you should be better at this” have taken residency in my mind.
Sometimes they escape my mouth, and I could slap them.
I would never call baby girl a bad girl, so why do I let her hear me say those things about myself?
How can I teach her to be kind and gentle with herself, if I am the epitome of self-cruelty?
The question is, what kind of example am I setting, and how can I be different.
Because Emily deserves better than to inherit my dysfunction, low self-esteem, poor body image, shame, insecurities, and so the story goes.
I love you Little.