Permanently Postpartum: The Stuff That’s Here To Stay
Today’s topic might seem a little off for a column called “Bounce Back,” but I want to talk about the stuff that did not necessarily…uh…bounce back, for me.
First and foremost: my stomach. I am finally coming to terms with the fact that it will never, ever be the same. That I am not One Of Those Lucky Women And You Know Who You Are Okay Yeah I’m Just Jealous. Around week 38 of my first pregnancy, I erupted in stretch marks. Not the deep purple lesions that some women get, but white-ish textured zebra stripes spreading outward from my belly button in a hurricane-like weather doppler formation. My skin remains fairly even in color but weirdly dimpled in texture. My belly button sort of droops and the stretch-marked-up skin around it sort of hangs loosely, having never fully recovered its once-glorious elasticity. No matter how much I exercise (and I do — I can do more crunches than my husband and somewhere under all that skin are some decently hard abs), the pooch remains. It sticks out a little bit and droops over my pants when I sit down in all its muffin-top glory. It doesn’t seem like it got particularly worse after my second pregnancy — no new stretch marks, at least — but I’m slowly resigning myself that this is as good as it may get. Unless I get a tummy tuck. Which…I’m not getting a tummy tuck. Tankinis and shapewear for everybody!
Second: mah HAIR. It started growing faster when I was pregnant, and now after two pregnancies, the growth is CRAZY. Whole inches in mere months, highlights and bangs be damned. I’d be okay with the head-hair growth, I guess, since I do like long hair, but oy. The rapid growth extends to…ahem…other parts of my body. The hair on my legs, pre-pregnancy, was so peach-fuzz like I could barely justify owning a razor. After Noah was born, the hair from my knees down got darker and more noticeable, and now grows so freaking fast I have to strategize the timing of a shaving session before putting on a skirt. Same goes for eyebrows and underarms and bikini line. God.
Third: Freckles and moles and spots. I got a lot more during my pregnancies. And no, shocker of all non-shockers, they did not magically go away afterward.
Fourth: I also feel like I sweat a lot more, although I sort of suspect that’s a breastfeeding thing (milk comes in, chest gets warm, gaaaah sweaty mess), but I suppose time will tell.
And lastly, migraines. Okay, this is a good one! See, it’s not all negative scary terror around here. I used to get terrible, debilitating migraines on a fairly regular basis, since high school, at least. My head would throb, light hurt my brain, my back stung and I would often eventually throw up. Despite a brief (yet horrific) re-occurrence during the first trimester of my last pregnancy, I have not had a single migraine since having children. And you know what? I will gladly take a doughy midsection over migraines.
Your turn, since your stories are always my favorite. What changed for you, forever, after giving birth? What are you still holding out hope for a return to “normal”?
If you landed here but are still pregnant, visit Amalah’s Pregnancy Calendar. You won’t regret it.
Have you heard of P&G’s Thank You Mom campaign? Alphamom contributors are sharing motherhood advice on how moms (like your mom) can be helpful at particularly stressful times (ahem, postpartum) times and encouraging you all to tell your moms how much you appreciate them. Submit your story and you could win $1,000 for a special visit with your mom! Each month there are 15 winners. The contest runs through November 30.