Out of Sorts/Quarter-OK-30ish-Life-Crisis-Maybe?

I realized a few weeks ago that I have spent years in the pursuit of conception, pregnancy, postpartum, or infancy survival. Literally YEARS. Surely that kind of uterus gazing cannot be healthy. So I tried to think about myself not as a proud owner/operator of a uterus or as a mother, but as an individual, and consider what I would list as a hobby or interest, if asked, (not that I have been asked, but conceivably there might be a situation in which I was asked such a question) and I could not think of a single thing.

Guys. Have I become a conservative’s dream woman, aka a walking uterus? (No, because: the gay. But still, moving dangerously into that territory.)

Maybe I’m feeling this acutely right now because I’ve been so heavily in toddler mode. (I typed out a whole breakdown of my day here but it was so boring I had to delete it.) Tammy’s working really hard on her master’s program right now, so the bulk of the childcare falls to me.

Maybe I’m having a some-time-in-life-crisis? Maybe it’s normal to feel this way as a mother?

It’s so incredibly frustrating, because I adore my daughter. She is funny, and smart, and of course stunningly, achingly adorable, and trust me when I tell you that I very clearly remember all of the blood, sweat, tears, and credit cards we went through to have her with us.

But is it so bad to want more from life? Is it so bad to want Ellie, but also want friends? Is it so bad to crave baby snuggles/board books/squeals of laughter with pretentious intellectual debates in coffee shops, hipster glasses optional? Is it so bad that I simultaneously love the expression on Ellie’s face when I go into her room in the morning, and desperately, achingly want to check into a hotel, eat and drink massively marked up room service and then sleep until noon? Is it so wrong that I love feeling her head heavily rest on my shoulder as I put her to bed at night, and feel, well, trapped by the schedule of naptime, bedtime, snack, bottle, etc., etc., etc.?

So speak to me, o wise women of the internet. How do you deal with the push and the pull of being both an individual person and a mother? Going guilt free? (how?!??) Medication? (Which one(s)??!) Occasional weekend babysitter?? (Not actually a bad idea…) School me in your ways.

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It Never Left

You know how when that Justin Timberlake song “Bringing Sexy Back” came out, and everyone went around saying “I wasn’t aware that it left”? No? Just me? Ok then.

Video break!

Well, that’s how I feel when people say things about getting their body “back” after having a baby. INCLUDING my Mother in Law who told me I really should be working on regaining my girlish figure.

Liz Lemon Eye Roll

I managed not to make this face. Barely.

Look, I, like most women in our patriarchal BULLSHIT society, have a complicated relationship with my body. Sometimes I think I look ok, good even! Other times I despair over this or that, and feel like I’m not fit for polite society. Then came infertility and a miscarriage, and I started to truly hate my body, because I felt like it had betrayed me and killed my child. Healthy, no?

Pregnancy was strange for me. I watched in a kind of fascinated horror like my body was an out of control science experiment. A Frankenstien, if you will. I gained weight, and that was OK because I was supposed to gain weight, for the first time in my life. All told, I gained about 40 pounds, a little more than the “recommended average,” but that was OK. Not only did I grow a baby bump (obviously), but I rounded out all over. My face filled out, my arms grew plump, and my ass curved and filled out my jeans in a way it never has before.

Once Ellie was born, I was pretty shocked with how I looked and felt. I was still plump and swollen, my boobs were rock hard and freakin’ HUGE and my stomach felt heavy and jiggled like I was pregnant with the world’s largest bowl of jello.

jello jiggling

It’s aliiiive!

I lost “the baby weight” pretty quickly. I felt enormous pressure to do so, mostly from family. And now I actually weigh 7 pounds less than I did before I was pregnant. But you know what? My body isn’t “back.” I feel deflated and soft. My stomach is a lot softer than it used to be, and my pants don’t really fit the same way. My breasts are softer, and after Ellie eats they sag. My nipples are bigger and darker. I have the dreaded “mom butt.” Stretch marks cover my stomach, hips, and breasts.

So will my body ever again look like it did before I was pregnant? Probably not. I would be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with that fact. I’m trying to work on making positive changes for my body – becoming stronger, building muscle, etc. – in the hopes that I’ll come to terms with my new body and learn to love it the way I never loved it pre-baby.