Letter to Postpartum Me
You did it. Do you realize what you’ve accomplished? You have grown a human being, pushed her out, and now you’re nourishing her with your body. That is an incredible achievement that is often overlooked because it happens every day all over the world. However, that doesn’t diminish its significance to you.
Remember what you’ve accomplished and what a beautiful miracle it is to have a baby. You’re going to forget that in the next few weeks simply because your body is doing some crazy things right now. I mean, you just grew a human being and then pushed it out soooo that’s going to shake things up a bit.
You’re feeling anything but miraculous. You can poke your finger through your stomach to shake hands with your spine, freakish not miraculous. You’re leaking fluids from everywhere. You’re still crying at Hallmark commercials. You keep forgetting to shower and so far you’re not remembering to eat unless someone tells you too. Face it you’re a mess right now.
Oh, surprise! You still look pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, really pregnant.
Do not try on pre-pregnancy clothes. In fact, you may want to throw those things away because even if you do fit in them again, they aren’t going to feel the same. You’re going to get frustrated because postpartum bodies feel strange, look strange, and smell strange. Remember that part where you just grew a human being?
Go easy on yourself. It took nine long months for you to grow that baby. Your body did exactly what it was supposed to do. Give your body time; time to heal, time to rest, time to relax, time to feel like a normal human being again.
Please, for the love all that is decent and holy, do not compare yourself to other postpartum women. You are not them and they are not you. We’re all women but our bodies work differently. Just because six weeks postpartum Susie-Next-Door looks like she’s never even thought of having a baby doesn’t mean you have to or that you’re doing anything wrong.
There are going to be people who ask when your baby is due or be shocked that you still look pregnant. Don’t hit them. It probably wouldn’t hurt anyway because you’re using all your strength to feed, carry, and generally keep yourself and your baby alive. Plus, it would make you look like a crazy postpartum mom, which you are, but you don’t have to let people know that.
Surround yourself with people who tell you you’re beautiful even though you didn’t brush your hair, teeth, or remember to put on deodorant. Surround yourself with family and friends that love your baby so much they will hold her even though she cries 95% of the time.
Go easy on yourself; you’ve done well. Give it time, like a year, maybe two or three, and your body will snap back. You’ll never feel like the person you were before because you’re a mother now. Being a mother changes everything. Eventually you’ll find a new normal and it’s going to be better than you know.