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, postpartum.
Welcome to Your Postpartum Body
First and foremost: my stomach. I am finally coming to terms with the fact that it will never, ever be the same, and 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 to the fact that 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: perspiration. I 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, no more migraines. 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”?
Published April 27, 2009. Last updated January 14, 2018.
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