Thursday, 2 September 2010
The post-baby body - more than I bargained for
I got pregnant with Nugget in July 2004. He was born in April 2005 and was breastfed for 13 months, until May 2006. I got pregnant with Doo Dah in March 2006. He was born in December, 2006 and was breasfed for 15 months (March 2008). I lost a baby in February 2008 (10 weeks) and got pregnant with the twins in April 2008. They were born in December 2008 and I weaned them 3 weeks ago (19.5 months).
Six years of breastfeeding or pregnancy (sometimes both at the same time).
My body is still adjusting to being on its own again. No dependents. No parasites. Just me again.
I weigh the same now that I did when I first got pregnant. I am still the same height too, but otherwise my body is no longer recognisable to me. I have three distinct areas of my body that paint me as a mother. They give away my new life-role without me having to say a word.
Firstly, there is my Caesarian scar, just above the underpant line. It is barely noticable and sometimes I marvel at the fact that 4 human beings made their way into the world via what is essentially a very small incision. "The sun roof" as I call it when I joke that I was "too posh to push". Oh I tried to push all right, I just wasn't built right for a baby's head. I thank my stars that I had my babies in the 21st Century, in Australia. I may have died without modern medicine.
Then there is my stomach. It was previously my 'best bit'. I was the type who wore midriff tops (when it was fashionable) because I had a flat tummy with a six pack. I always had a big bum, but my tum was coverted by many. Not too many would be lining up for it now! It is hard to descibe just how awful it now is.
It is not just the "twin skin" that bothers me. What is it you may ask? "Twin skin" is the unofficial term for the saggy, droopy, stretch-marked skin which some twin-Mums find themselves faced with after the delivery. If you hear of any cure short of plastic surgery, let me know!! ;-) Not all twin-Mums get it of course, and I had hoped it wouldn't happen to me, but unfortunately, I do sport my own version of it. For me though, it is my umbilical hernia that causes me more grief.
My twins were both normal size babies when they were born (3.24kg and 3.365kg, or 7'1" and 7'4"). I was huge when I was carrying them and my stomach muscles separated down the middle. I had a bit of an abdominal separation after Doo Dah was born, but it was nothing in comparison to the chasm I had after the twins (more than 10cm wide). I had to wear a stretchy brace for about 8 weeks because I literally could not sit up without it on.
More than 20 months on, my stomach muscles still do not function properly and I have a gaping hole around my belly-button.
All of this means that my stomach sticks out a lot (especially if I have had a big meal). It is my new problem zone*.
My final 'Mummy' body part is my breasts. I was never a perky breasted arrangement, but I did have a 'fine rack' (as my husband put it). My cleavage was decent and I wasn't afraid to display my assets when I was out on the town. Nowadays, after all those years of breastfeeding, my breasts practically sag to my knees and resemble something out of a National Geographic magazine.
All of this does little for a girl's confidence.
On a good day, I wear this body, with all of its changes and flaws, as a badge of honour. Four beautiful, healthy children. It is worth it, right? I worked bloody hard for this body.
On a bad day, it makes me cry.
* I will be seeing a surgeon again in the new year to try to sort out my hernia/separation.