Fear & Loathing Through Parenthood, Part 2: the Body Issue

Welcome to Your Mom Bod – from imbalanced hormones, to having your body evicting its tiny squatter, then, slowly realizing things aren’t going quite back to how they were before it was two.

Becoming a Glass Case of Emotions

Before I crossed over into parenthood I had always prided myself on my stoic disposition. When I was younger my sister and I watched Must See TV Thursdays with my parents. My mom would let us stay up with her to watch ER. Without fail, my mom would cry every episode. We teased her all the time. Even though she was a good sport about it that bitch karma decided to pay me back with the same emotional reaction to everything once I became a mom. Disney movies, Stranger Things Season 3, sad scenes in Avengers, basically every episode of Handmaid’s Tale, those Extra gum commercials – it’s awful! The first few months postpartum were insane. I could barely look at my daughter some days without being totally overcome with emotion. Hell, that first week I think every time I talked to, saw, or thought about MY mom I’d get all verklempt! Realizing the beauty and galactic magnitude of what a baby represents – it’s all a little much, man.  It does simmer down but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to my robot-like emotionless state. Prepare yourself for some extreme highs and lows and then an overall heightened sensitivity to everything. If someone calls you out, like your two little twerpy daughters, tell them “just wait until it happens to you”. If someone calls you out whose not your daughter, tell them to STFU! You’re a bad ass mom now, show them your full range of insanity!

Important note: Remember all those cute baby books you received at the shower? ‘I Love You Forever’, ‘You are My I Love You’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ – well DON’T READ THOSE if you don’t want to weep. Ugh, and that poem someone will no doubt send you after you’ve had your baby. Just don’t. My cousin’s wife sent it to me and it almost feels malicious because it’s so stark. It’s about the love you feel for your baby. It’s beautiful and deep but it’s like listening to break-up music. I had to bail halfway through because I legit couldn’t stop crying. It hits hard. So don’t expose yourself to something that you know will trigger you to becoming Niagara Falls.

Me, pre-pregnancy
photo via reddit

I wasn’t going to but it needs to be addressed: Hemorrhoids.

This is TMI but I don’t care because I’ve never heard anyone talk about it and someone needs to! Everyone has butts, everyone poops, everyone gets hemorrhoids (just go with me).

Before pregnancy my butt issues were nil. I always thought hemorrhoids were some urban legend like the Blair Witch or STDs, but like our slutty friend chlamydia, hemorrhoids are real. Real pain the ass! Amiright?! User warning: prenatal vitamins give you wicked constipation. So if you don’t experience a hemorrhoid during pregnancy you will more than likely meet your new friends post-labor. It happens because of all the pushing your nether-regions do getting that little peanut out. Add to the fact you most likely haven’t been able to go to the bathroom in a few days due to said prenatal vitamin constipation…let’s just say that first BM after labor does not feel good. The hospital gives you sitz pads and cream. Don’t be like me and live in denial of the hemorrhoids being there and ignore them…use the medication to get rid of them! I thought I was young and hot so I didn’t acknowledge I had them at first. Big mistake. Use the cream. All mom’s have had a hemorrhoid or two dozen. So if you need to talk to someone about it call up your mom and she’ll be there in a minute with hemorrhoid cream for you and a shoulder to cry on because you are no longer young and hot. You are beyond young and hot. You are an exquisite, ethereal creature who is literally sustaining the human race. You are worldly. You are beautiful. Mom up and get rid of the hemorrhoid.

Your cooter’s Healing Process

(Was trying to think of a funny enough word to make all you mom’s laugh, who doesn’t think cooter’s a good one?)

Image from The Shining via Paul Matthew Carr

The above scene from Stanley Kubrick’s rendition of The Shining is a great reference for what things are like down under those first three or so days post-labor. (For vaginal delivery, I can’t speak to the healing involved in c-sections.) The hospital gives you stegosaurus-sized pads, use them. Use the pad ice-packs that some wonderful human invented. Use heating pads. Use the common sense that comes with just delivering a baby. Avoid jumping on a trampoline or running the hurdles at a track meet. Use the fact that you just made this little person you’ve been creating for nine months appear for everyone. Use the sympathy card. USE MOTRIN! The orange pills specifically. Listen, you’re going to be in a bit of pain but it’s honestly not nearly as bad as I had expected, so if things are crazy painful, or you find yourself hemorrhaging what seems to be crazy amounts for days afterwards, call your doctor. Make sure everything is okay. For the most part you’ll be able to know what seems typical and what seems abnormal. They’ll tell you better details about what to watch out for, but a lot of common sense comes into play. You’ll be surprised at what you can handle and what you instinctively do.

MOM STOMACH, Mom Boobs, Mom Bod

Everyone is different. I had mentioned in my ‘Self-Care for Pregnancy‘ post the couple things I did during pregnancy to help keep me active and do my best to avoid stretch marks. However, certain things are just passed down from your mom, your grandma, your great-grandma – probably the cave people that we all evolved from. They were probably dragging their knuckles around, in addition to their saggy boobs & stomach. Bitching about these problems all the way back then.

Doughy. That’s how my abdomen feels now. Granted I’m not doing cross fit or training for Ninja Warrior, but I do yoga almost every day and chase around a one year old non-stop. Unfortunately it doesn’t change the way my stomach feels and looks though. Mom jeans are a thing for a reason. They hide that pooch. Why the pooch? “Apparently” your body shifts around during pregnancy to make those housing arrangements and some of your stomach muscles get tossed aside because you don’t need shredded abs while your incubating a fetus. Look it up on Pinterest or just google it if you want to learn the biology and not take me at my word. (Remember: you’re not young and hot anymore. You’re a living work of art showcasing the circle of life in action.)

This is basically what I look like when I’m naked now and only wearing a scarf and chef’s hat
photo via Pilsbury

The worst side-effect of children to me so far are “mom boobs”. Ugh, I HATE that term. So harsh! What are mom boobs you ask? They are the two husks on your chest to remind you, no, HAUNT you, non-stop of the beauty of what once was. Honestly, I wish I would have flashed more people and sent more nudes if I would have known my breasts were going to turn into the consistency of what I think a ball sack feels like. It’s rough. But a healthy baby and excellent breastfeeding experience were well worth it. I mean, you can only be so vain or self-conscious. Plus, there’s always surgery. After my baby-making years are behind me, momma might treat herself to a lift and start smoking Virginia Slims for breakfast.

Sensation changes

Another body thing I’m not sure anyone’s ever talked about (aside from hemorrhoids and mom boobs) and I’m not 100% sure how to explain it but here goes, is a sensation loss. I think that’s the right word. Like take for example my mom boobs. Pre-baby, when those things would get knocked around, lightening would surge through me and my engine would rev, now, I’m so self-conscious. It feels like something’s unplugged sometimes. Similar sensations go for down below…in your erogenous zones. It’s just different. At least that’s what my experience has been. I don’t know if other women have experienced this but it can feel very distressing at times. It’s tough to share that but it’s true. It happens to one third of women between ages 18-59, according to WebMD. I hate it because I had the opposite problem before, if you catch my drift.

Me, circa 2016, when my man would tell me he wanted pizza, beers, and movies on a Saturday.

It’s important to first off, accept that things are different. You might need to look up some ways to kick-start the ol’ sex drive, be it a new toy, changes in diet and lifestyle, or jumper cables. As always, talk with your doc if it stresses you too much. Also, be as open as you can with your partner and let them know whatever it is you might be going through. My husband is awesome and never makes me feel pressured or anything and is always reassuring when it comes to my self-image. If your person is anything but that way, it’s time to get your Lizzo on and go all “that’s the sound of me not calling you back” on their ass. Seriously. You or your baby don’t need that. Positive vibes only.

mom brain

The last major thing I’ll touch on for this post is just your overall state of mind. Like I was saying earlier your hormones definitely go haywire for a little while, and you’ll feel some real highs, and lows, but if it’s ever anything you’re getting concerned about please talk to someone. PPD is real and it can be pretty scary so don’t let abnormal feelings go too long without addressing them. I will say that being a mom is overwhelming. It’s constant, constant change and in this day and age, everyone expects everything out of you. You don’t realize until you become a parent, but after birth you let this little piece of yourself go. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression people will say having a kid is like having your heart walk around outside your body. Which is so true. But it’s not just your heart, it’s a piece of your soul. And you want to be all that you can be to protect that little angel. So make sure you’re mental state is where it should be if you ever are worried about that. Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic’s page on postpartum depression. If things are getting really serious before you can talk to your doctor or get a referral for a mental health professional (I am a HUGE advocate of therapy), call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use they even have a webchat if you’re one of those people who hates talking on the phone: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.

I didn’t intend to make this last bit a PSA but it’s all true stuff that us moms can go through, so never feel you’re alone in your thoughts!

As always, if you have anything to share on this topic, chime in below, follow high, momma and stay tuned for part 3 of fear & loathing through parenthood, coming soon!

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