Postpartum with my second baby
In the last three years, I’ve gained 40 pounds, lost 40 pounds, then gained 50 and lost 20. I am 30 pounds heavier than my “pre-baby weight,” up four sizes in jeans, and from a size Small to an XL (if I’m to hide the “mom pouch”) But I feel thin.
Stretched thin like chewing gum in the moments before the bubble pops.
I feel cartoonish, my hips and torso too wide now for legs I’ve always walked on. My body isn’t gone, I am lost somewhere within it. I feel disconnected, disjointed and disoriented. I am clumsy, my joints refuse to glide smoothly, my tendons ache like stale rubber bands. My muscles (and weakness) feel alien. I feel like I am taking up too much space, my footfalls too heavy. I can’t find a posture that feels natural within my new skin. Fatigue is stained beneath my eyes like a bruise.
I didn’t wait to get medical permission to exercise. I felt desperate to find myself somewhere within this body. Images everywhere tell me my new heaviness doesn’t deserve to rest until I take up less space. I need to reclaim my body, I need to get it back so it can exist quietly. I need to cover the darkness beneath my eyes so I don’t look tired, I need to politely refuse help when it is offered (and everyone stops offering after three weeks anyway.)
Mood swings worse than when I was thirteen and somehow I must find the patience to handle my toddler with grace and nourish my nursling discreetly. I am stretched, thin. But so very in love.