Look, pregnancy was not my favorite, most comfortable too-many-months, and that is well documented. I'm thankful that part is over, to be honest, but can we talk about the amount of hair that is shedding from my head right now?
Because this is bullshit.
I've got very thin, unremarkable hair. Always have. Pregnancy was a short-lived perk for my hair because it completely stopped shedding. If pregnancy does anything kind to your body, it is this. My hair spent several months simply glorious. Healthy. Strong.
And then, because pregnancy must have the last laugh, that hormonal situation completely reverses. All the hairs I did not shed for nine months are POURING OFF OF MY HEAD. I knew this would happen. I was warned. I've dreaded it since partway through pregnancy. And now here I am, three months postpartum, and the reckoning has begun.
I know this is a big ask, and maybe it's asking too much, correct me if I'm wrong, but... IS THERE NOT ONE FAVOR THE PROCESS OF HAVING A CHILD CAN DO FOR OUR BODIES? One single favor? Throw us one goddamn bone?
Instead we're saggy, engorged, leaking, misshapen, AND BALDING. Also sleep deprived and hormonal, but whatever, right? Details.
This hair shedding situation is honestly the last straw.
It just started three days ago. With every shower, I'm clawing hair out of the drain. Every time I change a diaper, I'm pulling fallen hairs off of his diaper-creamed butt. There are hairs wrapped around his pacifier, draped over all my clothes, covering the bathroom floor. My hair is thinning. I'm told this can go on for months.
Other things that have become a new normal: diaper blowouts. Owen has a fond new habit of shitting out the back of his diaper. And he's so pleased about it. Seriously, that baby loves getting a clean butt. I've started to sense when a blowout is coming. He'll be slightly agitated, sort of in that way you get when your belly starts rumbling and you're nowhere near a bathroom. YOU KNOW THAT FEELING.
And then... explode. It's physical. It's audible. And he's immediately calm. Like all he wanted in the world was to poop his pants. (Come on, I know you know that feeling, too).
Diaper-changing is an adventure because he's typically SO VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT. The best conversations* with him come right after a diaper change.
* He makes incoherent babbling coos and you mimic them with scientific precision. He continues. You continue. Repeat forever.
I also spent Sunday morning cleaning breast milk out of the curtains in the nursery. BREAST MILK. OUT OF CURTAINS.
Like, who the hell's life is this?
Oh right yes, it's mine.
I regularly pick boogers from his tiny nostrils and clip his fingernails and wipe drool from his chin with my shirts. I never don't have breast milk droplets on my pants, and if he spits up on my clothes, chances are I am still wearing them the next morning. The one benefit of returning to work today after the holidays is that I showered, dried my hair, applied makeup and wore a real outfit.
But here's the thing. I didn't just STOP doing those things because I have a baby now, and something about NO TIME and OH MY GOD and PARENTING. I am just a lazy piece of shit. It's like I was just meant to mom. Because I can be unshowered and bare-faced and smelly, and rather than admitting I'm too lazy to hygienically care for myself, I can just shrug and point at my baby.
DON'T BUY IT. DON'T BUY IT FOR A SECOND. I AM JUST LAZY, I PROMISE YOU.
I get it, I do. I can see how there is no time or space to shower, and how it becomes much less important that you smell like sour breast milk, and that you just don't care that you're wearing the same nursing pad in your bra that you had in yesterday. Those are all incredibly valid things that happen to you when balancing new life with a very needy, tiny person.
I just happen to love that now I have a valid reason for those things, rather than just shrugging and gesturing broadly at the world.
Thank you, Owen.
He is the gift that keeps on giving.
I'm not going to lie, though. It feels AMAZING when I finally do prepare myself for the day like an actual member of society. I forget that when I'm in the throes of infant care. I'm sure Todd also appreciates having a wife who's not bumming around the house barefoot in stretched out leggings and a bathrobe.
For ten days straight.
While rapidly balding.
So here we are with an entire year stretched ahead of us. We've vowed to make 2018 a year of nothing. We won't get engaged, buy a house, get pregnant, plan a wedding, get married, and have a baby this year. We're just going to watch the calendar pages roll by, while enjoying the fruits of 2017's labor. We'll also spend all our money on the medical bills that continue to explode from our mailbox every week.
THANKS, CHILDBIRTH. THANKS, AMERICA.
I'm going to return to me in 2018. I gave a lot of myself in the last two years. I'll continue to give a lot of myself, especially since there is a tiny, perfect human and husband who deserve every ounce of myself, but I'm going to reign some of that self back in. I'm going to work on remembering who I am underneath the events of 2017. Doing so will make me better at being the person I became in 2017.
Wife, mother, homeowner.
When 2018 is over, 2017 will thank it. I will thank it, too. Todd will thank it, too, because I'll probably shower a lot more.
I'm going to run forever in 2018. That's the largest piece of self that's been missing in my life. Not just running, but the community. I miss my best friend. I miss running mile after mile with her. I miss Saturday mornings that start at dawn. I miss race registrations and race medals. I miss my parents cheering me on at finish lines. I miss goals and paces and inspiration. I miss nailing workouts and failing workouts and new running shoes.
I miss it all SO VERY MUCH.
It will look different this year. Less Saturday mornings at dawn, and maybe more miles with friends in Milwaukee rather than Madison, but it will feel okay. It will feel normal. It will feel like me.
PLUS I have an adorable new cheerleader. So 2018 will be rad.