My pregnancy wasn’t a particularly difficult one, not by any means. Sure, I had intense nausea for the first 5 months or so, the first three of which I couldn’t even get out of bed for, but Diclectin helped with that for the most part. I wasn’t one of those insanely fit pregnant ladies either. I didn’t work out, because I don’t typically work out seeing as I’m both lazy in that regard and I’ve never had a good workout experience that didn’t trigger some form of anxiety (yoga excluded), but I definitely wasn’t a sit on the couch kind of pregnant lady either. Nesting was REAL, like we’re talking 36 weeks pregnant, up on a ladder drilling curtain rods into the wall and hanging curtains, nesting. That may very well be what sent me into labour at 37 weeks.
37 weeks pregnant to the day, my contractions started. 52 hours later, accidentally overdosed Oxytocin (induction drug) to speed up the process, and 8 cm dilated, my epidural decided to fall out – oh the joy of one long endless contraction. Needless to say there was a lot of screaming, possibly some swearing, and I may have almost bitten a few of my husband’s fingers off, but these are just the few acid flash backs that I can remember.
It ended up a c-section deliver. Funny story – I had not in any way prepared myself for labour. I didn’t go to any of the recommended classes, I didn’t read any stories or watch any videos, or prepare myself psychologically in any way whatsoever (I guess I figured the less I knew the less I would freak myself the fuck out in advance… probably not the best tactic), but the singular rule I had as part of my non-existent birth plan was that my husband stay above waist height at ALL times, no matter what. He ended up having to watch my uterus out on the table because our anesthesiologist literally grabbed him by the back of the shirt, lifted him like a misbehaving puppy, and said in his thick Russian accent “watch your son being born!”. So much for birth plans, am I right?
As per usual, I digress. Fast forward past the c-section, I’m up and about an hour after surgery because my kid is in the NICU (for more on that see THIS post). My lack of research, not so ironically, did not prepare me for a c-section either. Turns out what I didn’t know (and frankly in pain with a never-ending contraction due to the Oxytocin overdose, didn’t care) is that they cut through a lot of crap to get to your baby during a C-Section. For fear of TMI –let’s just say we’ve got layers upon layers people, and baby is all snug inside them. So, it was ever so slightly painful to be out and about right away, but being a new mom and having all those wonderful hormones coursing through me I didn’t particularly care. It wouldn’t be until 5 days later, when we were finally home, and I was still running around like a crazy person, nesting, cleaning, taking care of my newborn, and fielding visitors, that the entire ordeal really hit me. My feet swelled up to the size of two blimps, my abdomen was in a lot of pain because I kept forgetting to take my pain killers, and I was an emotional wreck (as women usually are postpartum, hormones remember).
I’m not a person who knows how to take it easy – hence the anxiety disorder. I’m always moving, I’m always trying to be productive, and tasks left undone will bother me endlessly until I’ve completed them (and properly, none of this half-ass shit). Its obsessive, I know, but it’s me – and it’s a characteristic that, however exhausting at times, also allows me to be a very driven individual. Postpartum, I physically had to force myself to sit the hell down and lift my feet. It was a challenge in patience mentally, but for the first time in a long time I had to start listening to my body instead of my mind. I had to start to really learn how to take it slow. It’s something I still struggle with today, but I really did take that lesson to heart, and today I’m able to better negotiate between my head and my body.
Fast forward a few months after delivery, I started thinking about my health in more general terms – like the state my body was in. Breastfeeding and Yoga really helped me shed a good portion of the baby weight, but if I’m being honest with myself and with you – working out isn’t really truly what got me back to almost regular size. No, my inability to properly manage my time to include regular meals, and my son’s incessant need to be carried around like a 20 lbs weight instead of learning to crawl and/or walk, really did the trick. He was like a built-in Zumba class that would never end. (DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a healthy way to lose weight – and I don’t recommend it, it is so bad for your body, and it’s exhausting mentally and physically. You absolutely MUST have regular meals, so shame on me for insanely poor habits).
Since my son’s birth I keep telling myself that I need to make time to go back to yoga classes, that I need to eat better, that I need to set a good example for my kid… but every time I start, I end up having a million other things to do, and a billion other excuses like the one I just gave you. It’s something I need to work on. However, the inability to model proper fitness and eating habits aside, I have come a long way mentally. I have come to love the subtle curves (and rolls, yes, I have some of those too) left over from my pregnancy. They make me look womanlier in a way my stick figure harsh edges never did before I became a mom. And sure, I have a nasty keloid scar left over from my c-section – it’s a bitch, it still hurts sometimes but it’s my badge of honour, my battle scar. 52 hours of labour, and I bounced back and kept on punching (or in my husband’s case, biting).
My body isn’t perfect, my habits aren’t perfect, but I’m finally falling in love with me the way that I am. Most importantly, I’m woman enough to acknowledge that I still need work – but there’s nothing wrong with loving myself while I work on being a better version of me.