Body After Baby - My Journey into Motherhood: Part 4

Isn't giving birth what women's bodies are made to do? That's what I heard time and time again. I figured if we are made to do it, then we are surely made to recover from it. The magic 6 week postpartum appointment is always much anticipated! How does it look? Can I be intimate again? Can I exercise? Well, call me naive, (because lets be honest, in the pregnancy, birth and mothering department I totally was) I thought after 6 weeks I would be pain free, getting fit and ready to mingle with my hubby.

My appointment was a breeze and I was ready to get on with my life. Then I find out the truth, and not from my doctor but from other women... It takes roughly a year to recover from childbirth! WHAT!?

I am currently 4 months postpartum and still feel like there is no end in sight. I have a prolapsed bladder, also called cystocele. Getting back into the gym is not that easy when you are basically incontinent. I can handle the weight gain, the stretch marks and the wider hips. What I wasn't prepared for was peeing myself on a regular basis. Having pain and pressure all the time. Being more aware of my lady bits than I ever wanted to be! This truly is impacting my life is such a negative way. I can't exercise the way I would like. Lifting weights is my true passion in fitness, but I am stuck with cardio because lifting heavy weights can worsen the cystocele. I can't be intimate with my husband without feeling like I have given birth all over again. I can't even use the restroom comfortably. The best way to describe it is a never ending bladder infection. And quite frankly, it friggin' sucks!

Then there is the body image issues. I said before I could deal with the weight gain, stretch marks and wider hips. Well, I can... but it still messes with my self esteem. I gained around 55 pounds and even though I am only 12 pounds away from my pregnancy weight I am still in maternity clothing. I am confined to leggings, stretchy tank-tops and sweaters. When I got pregnant, (not to toot my own horn) I was in phenomenal shape. Fitness and healthy living was (and is) very important to me. I didn't realize how much I did focus on the superficial side of that until it was gone. People tell me I look great but I don't feel great. I know my husband loves me and thinks I'm beautiful, but he doesn't look at me quite the same way. I don't look at me quite the same way. I don't feel attractive, or sexy. I feel flabby, stretched out, blown up and deflated.

I do respect my body for what it accomplished. Hosting and nourishing a growing child for 9 full months is indeed a miracle. The female body is miraculous. As mothers we do need to be patient with ourselves and our recovery. I am trying to be patient. I am trying to love my new body. If you are struggling with your new body, and not recovering like you had hoped, you are not alone. I try to remember this myself. My pregnancy and birth could have been a lot worse. I could be recovering from much more right now. I am grateful for the experience because I was blessed with my baby boy. 

Ladies, we grew tiny humans and gave birth to them, that is pretty radical. As I try to be patient with myself and my body, I challenge you to do the same.