Under the squish

Remember when I was pregnant and I'd write regularly about all the new and different ways I was physically miserable?

So, this is like that, only I'm not pregnant anymore. 

I had a baby almost five months ago. Which, first of all, how did that happen? I mean, I KNOW how it happened. I was there. It was bloody and barf-y. But, like, how has it already been five months? My baby is basically already a teenager, help me. 

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[Something, something, something, a cliche about time going too fast, something]. Except it's true. Holy shit. 

But, again, it's been five months and I'm still reeling from the physical aftermath of growing a human being inside my body. Why can't it be enough that our bodies were made to GROW PEOPLE? I developed an entire person with ten fingers and ten toes and a circulatory system and brain and necessary parts and pieces, and now he drools all over his footie pajamas and has a Buddha belly. I did that. It was hard work. SO WHY MUST MY BODY CONTINUE TO BE PUNISHED? 

At this point, my body's been under the control of reproduction for an entire year. It's like, "LOL here, I'mma grow a person inside your pelvis and then once you've done the ultimate in physical mastery by pushing that fully-formed person out of your body, I'mma un-do you as a person. Hold my beer."

Sigh.

My hair is visibly thinning. When my hair started falling out two months ago, it was a nuisance. Now I need to clear the shower drain after every shower, I can no longer pull my hair back without 32,000 flyaways creating a hair waterfall around my face, and if you look closely at my part and around my hairline, MY HAIR IS THINNING. When I hold the entirety of my hair in my palm, it feels less. There is so much less hair on my head, and it's mortifying.

Look, I've never had good hair. During pregnancy it got pretty full and healthy, but now it's done a complete 180, and I want to cry every morning when I look in the mirror. I wash my hair less just to avoid the mass shed reckoning that occurs each time. To be fair, less washing is healthier for my hair, in general, but what's the point of taking care of hair that falls more limp, lifeless and thin every single day? 

Okay I know worse things can happen to a person, but can a girl just have a moment to mourn her hair? I hate it. So much. I'm a woman. Society only gives us so many acceptable tools with which to feel good about ourselves -- and one of those, sadly, is our looks. Pregnancy fucks that right up.

I value my worth now in whether I can fake like I have a full head of hair, how many ounces of breast milk I can pump in a day, and whether my old favorite jeans feel comfortable as they squeeze around my newly-widened hips (spoiler: THEY NEVER DO).

My hips have grown wider, and not in a "well, I really packed on the pounds" kind of way. Not a way that's reversible. In a way that means the actual structure of my hips is not the same. I'm less than 10 pounds from my too-low pre-pregnancy weight, but nothing fits the same. Not my jeans, not my running tights. Hell, not even my tops fit the same. Two years ago I weighed more than I do right now, and all of these clothes fit me just fine.

Every day that I get dressed is a battle. I don't feel good, probably because none of my clothes feel comfortable. But spending the money to buy new clothes is accepting defeat, even though this is an unwinnable battle. 

What used to be firm is squishy, what used to be comfortable is snug, what used to flatter makes me self-conscious. 

TO SUM UP: my pelvic floor is weak, my hair is falling out en masse, my body is squishy, my hips are wide, and my boobs often leak and are lopsided depending on when Owen last ate or if it's been three hours since I last pumped. Five months later. 

I know this is all "part of the process," but you know, the process is bullshit and I'd like my body back. 

I love being a mom. It's empowering and fascinating. I love this tiny being with the fire of a thousand suns. He is an extension of my body, as if my soul were split in two. My tiny Horcrux. Bringing him into this world and navigating this new life with him is the most badass thing I've ever done. 

So, what I wish is that the way I feel on the outside reflected how I feel on the inside. Because inside I am amazing. Somewhere. Under the squish.

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