Loving your post-natal body
"I mourned for the time when I thought I was fat."
Babies; made with love, lust, passion and sweat, conceived in a magical moment of ordinary time, and then the wait, growing, throwing up, expanding, watching, coping, crying, thrilling to the beat of a new life.
And then the birth; a delicate interplay of hormones bring the meeting of your baby closer, opening your body wide, painfully, wondrously, orgasmically, inexorably moving, nudging your baby closer, one way or another born from above or below leaving you exhausted, proud, sad, terrified, amazed. There aren't words enough to describe the feelings of mammas new and old when they meet their babes, gathering them up in their arms to stare into eyes deeper than deep to begin their journey together.
And then you're left spent, empty, half of what you were as two. Left to feed, sustain, love, nurture and bring up your child. The story of your baby is written on your soul and your body. The poetry of pregnancy and childbirth having wrought their passage through your heart leave their marks on your skin in soft silvery lines, new folds and softer rolls.
I thought it would be easy to conceive, I thought it would be a simple matter of doing something I loved with someone I loved but without the inconvenience of contraception. It took a lot longer than I imagined. And then I gave up trying, my husband and I went on holiday and I came back pregnant.
We'd been to Spain so we nicknamed our baby 'Chorizo' for some reason. The first scan though made it clear I was carrying a kidney bean so we called our baby The Bean. A nickname which still sticks today. Born at Darley Dale birthing centre I had came away from the birth feeling exhausted but positive about it all.
Pregnancy number two was never meant to be.
I did the positive test and a little voice in the back of my mind just said, “not this time.” I've learnt to listen to that little voice more and more. Each of the 10 weeks crept by until finally the last confirmation that I was no longer pregnant. Even as I lay waiting in Jessops for the operation which would clear away the rest of the pregnancy, alone and crying on a bed in pre-op I was terrified they'd made a mistake and there was still a life within me.
Time passed and healing was done and I became pregnant again. A hesitant start with numerous negative tests, indications that I wasn't pregnant and a waning sense of hope until that voice again whispered, “you are pregnant.” I tested again and watched as the oh so feint line developed.
An early scan confirmed the baby had a heartbeat.
But my tummy didn't grow, my pregnancy didn't feel real. I struggled to bond with the life inside me. I took steps to resolve this feeling of unease. I joined an antenatal class doing The Daisy Foundation active birth preparation, read acres of birth related blog posts and research papers on home water birth and blossomed with my baby as the pregnancy took its toll on my body and bones.
By the end I was in so much pain I could hardly walk but I was proud, big and round, and ready to meet my baby. I listened to that voice as I went into labour and birthed my baby boy at home in what was a truly empowering and positive birth.
It's been 4 years since I had my first baby, I had my second 8 months ago. I realise now, looking at my body, that the story of my babies, my 3 pregnancies and 2 births is written indelibly on my body. I'll never have a decent belly button, my right breast may always be bigger than the left and my eyes will never be wrinkle free but you know what? Babies did this to me and I wouldn't change it for the world. Love your birth, love your baby, love your body.
Because of my life-changing experience in bringing two people into the world I now want to do everything I can to help other women have the birth that they want.
As a result I set up Bumps And Births which is now a specialist pregnancy massage service. If you or someone you know could benefit from my services I would love to help. You can contact me on the number below.