Thursday, July 21, 2016

everything I should have said



when Caleb was exactly three weeks old, we took him out on a Sunday afternoon to a festival at the birthing center that our midwife had invited us to. We walked there of course, since we mostly walk everywhere and Waldi had him in the wrap. We felt proud of our obvious new parenthood and our sweet little one. I remember we ran into friends shortly after leaving our house (as one is bound to do in Marburg) and we introduced them to Caleb with pride. 

So when an older woman passed us and expressed interest, we stopped to chat to her for a brief moment, enjoying the attention and excited to show off our baby a little more. 

that was when she said it:

"from the looks of your mama, you could already have a sibling on the way..."

well, she said it in German and this is a loose translation but I can assure you, it was just as rude. we were more than a little shocked and kept walking without returning any comment. 

of course, as it always goes in these moments, all the witty and cutting replies come to you after the fact and you regret not putting the rude stranger in their place. so instead, you write about it on the internet. Because there were so many things I could have said in that moment.

I could have told her that I tried on 3 different shirts before leaving the house that afternoon before I found one I was even remotely comfortable in. (Not to mention that this was only the third or fourth time I'd been out in just as many weeks...) 

I could have told her about my struggle to let my husband carry the baby- not because I didn't want him to, but simply because I then wouldn't have a baby and a wrap to cover my postpartum squishiness.

I could have mentioned the fact that I no longer recognize my own body- the extra skin around my midsection, the stretch marks spread out like battle scars across my stomach, the belly button I'm sure will never look the same. 

I could have admitted how I've already signed up for a postpartum exercise class, how I've scoured all my books to develop an exercise plan for once I get clearance from the doctor to exercise again, because, in weak moments, the extra pounds make me feel ashamed. How I seriously doubt that my old jeans will ever fit me again, how awkward I feel that the only pants I can currently wear are my maternity ones. 

Or I could have told her an entirely different story.

I could have told her how it felt, meeting my baby for the first time, knowing that my body had been growing and supporting him all those months before. I could have mentioned how amazing it was to realize I had the strength to bring him into this world, could have talked about how hard that was- it's no wonder my body doesn't look the same.

I could have told her how my baby's favorite place to nap is on my chest- his little hands holding onto the folds of my shirt, his little body nestled into the cozy softness of my belly. He doesn't seem to mind the extra squishiness...

I could have laughed it off and told her, with good humor that if she thought I looked pregnant now she should have seen me a few weeks ago, when I was waddling around with what looked like a watermelon under my dress. I could have told her how for the most part, I really enjoyed pregnancy- weight gain and all, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I could have admitted that, deep down, I don't begrudge my body for taking time to heal, for showing signs of what it's done these last months. Because, lady, I just had a baby. Life does not continue uninterrupted and I bear the evidence of that in more than one way. And I must admit, I am proud of my baby AND my body and thankful for what it's given me and allowed me to achieve.

And I refuse to let some insensitive stranger take that feeling away from me. 

9 comments:

  1. You go girl! Some people are just stupid (insensitive?) and that is their issue not yours. Caleb is beautiful and so are you.

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  2. Maybe that's here sense of humour...my best friend just had baby no 5 and sure all the younger kids asked why mamas belly is still "quite big" she just laughed about it. I do remember myself having similar thoughts but then just got on with it; and even if the old jeans never fit again, so what; you just had a baby and it's healthy and beautiful, and so are you!

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  3. our bodies are amazing! you are amazing! remember that!
    I had my baby 14 months ago and my body still dosent look as it did before and i dont no if it will ever but all The Love and all The Joy is so real (that it really dosnt matter) e
    njoy this wonderful magical days of newborm baby and mama

    love from a far away stranger

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  4. Good gracious, that was just plain rude and from an older person who through experience should have known better. Of course you're squishy, most new Mum's are ploppy in a way they had never imagined, it's perfectly OK. The good news is that you have a beautiful baby who is loved and nurtured and in all likelihood with time you'll shrink back to a slightly different 'normal'. Fear not, all will be well,x.

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  5. Yes, so true. I just put out some clothes i've been storing for years now waiting for my body to return to something that i used to be. but i finally let go of that, cause thats the pre mum me or the mum of 2 not of 3, and that just doesn't fit anymore.

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  6. Bravo -- I'm glad you said it even if it wasn't said to her at the time. You are the gracious one.

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  7. what a terribly rude thing for that woman to say, I hate that people think they can just blurt out any awful thing that goes through their minds. With a new baby, you shouldn't be worrying about how your body looks at all, I think it's crazy how celebrities "bounce back" so fast! I know looks are a part of their job but still... Anyway, loved this post ♥

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  8. It's funny how a rude comment by someone who might not even have all their marbles can affect you. I still remember struggling to get out a library door with my baby in his stroller and an elderly woman standing by, waiting to come in, and because I thought she had waited for me to pass before trying to enter, I said, 'thank you! and she said, 'well, I don't thank YOU!' presumably she thought I should have waited for her. I tried not to let it ruin my day, but it ate at me- was I rude? should I have let her come in first? in the new baby/elderly hierarchy, which comes first? etc. etc. I was literally making myself crazy the rest of the afternoon Anyway, all this is a long winded way of saying: I have been there, my friend. When my body looked like it belonged to some lumpy stranger and I was months away from even physically healing enough to begin exercising. When nothing I put on fit or looked good, so all I wanted to do was stay inside in sweatpants. You will rediscover your body again, either returning to your original shape or becoming a whole new version of your self. As long as you love your body and at home in it, your body is beautiful. No one else's opinion even matters.

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  9. I have never been able to understand why people feel the need to make comments like this. I always try my best to not comment on the body of others. Because its just not my business and I know how cutting those comments can be. But I think people know they cut, and say this anyway. And that becomes a reflection on them and not at all a reflection on your body. You are allowed this time, to get used to your new self, and like a pregnancy body, it is going to change, until a few months from now and you look down and realize you've made progress. I still feel like when I move my stomach is a few seconds behind me after having Sylvia. I hope you are being kind to yourself. As I am trying my best to be t myself.

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