30 January 2011

Dear belly: a love letter (of sorts)

Dear Belly,
I am sorry it has been so long since I have said nice things to you.
Please know, that even at our worst, even when we were fighting all the time, I would not change any choice I made to get us here.
But that does not mean it has not been hard.
Very hard.

It has been 11 weeks since Della came, and at first, I thought I would hate you forever.
You were still big and full and not very doughy, just 8 months or more pregnant looking even though the baby was out and beautiful and in our arms.

The first three weeks were the hardest, since you stayed late term maternity-huge without budging. I wore my maternity pants with no alternatives, and avoided my profile. I could not see my feet, and had to lift you out of the way to catch a glimpse of my new scar to check for healing.

Then, miraculously, you began to recede. I felt impatient, kept stepping on the scale even though my weight was nearly down to pre-pregnancy. Within a few more weeks, my maternity pants were beginning to be big. By week 5, I was hiking them up, but no other pants, not even my fat pants fit. My stretchy pants were too tight too. Awkward inbetween-ness, I just wanted to have you be gone. I would sit and grab you in my hands like bread dough (you'd gotten softer and softer), and feel my own revulsion. Gosh, what a waste of energy better spent nearly any other way.
At 6 weeks I looked the same as I did at around 5 or 6 months.
At 7 weeks I bought pants that fit me as I was, not as I wanted to be.

Now, at week 11, I fit normal pants, one size up from before. You slob over the top a little, and my profile is not at all what I would want, with belly sticking out farther than boobs. But, you have done this amazing thing. You were beyond big with Della on the inside- mammoth in fact. Laughably large. And now, you are down to a protruding doughy jiggle that I am aware of but probably no one else in the world would be when seeing me either again or for the first time. You have done more than I can ask for, at nearly 44 and remarkably inelastic, you have made an incredible journey from way out there to back to the neighborhood again.

Thank you Belly, thank you for not staying as big as you were, and for coming down to the size you are now without effort on my part except, perhaps, the nearly impossibly inhuman effort of patience (I am not known for self patience, I confess)...

If this is what I look like, then, this is what I look like.
Most of the time, I think I can be ok with this.

Love, mostly, and except for sometimes,


Emily Erin said...

I am glad that you are learning to be gentle with yourself and your body. You are right; it did a miraculous thing to carry Della, and once you are no longer breastfeeding, you can consider if you want to take the extra step of going on a diet. For now, love the belly-- remember, Della's not even out of her '4th trimester' which is when babies really 'should' be born if our bodies could handle it. Give yourself a few months past *that* milestone and see where that takes you. Hugs from here!

heather said...

i remember that stage. i bet the belly will continue to slowly get back to its old self again. just needs more time. mine did. after 17 months, it's *almost* the same as it was before--and nothing like it was after just 11 weeks. :o)

you know, i kind of wish i'd taken some post-birth belly pictures... weekly or something. because i was always feeling kind of sad about the state of the belly and didn't really realize it was shrinking all along on its own. but if i'd taken some pictures, i think i would've been able to see the progress... but i suppose i couldn't bring myself to take and keep photographic evidence because i was kind of ashamed of it.

It is what it is said...

As women we are so critical of ourselves and our bodies and as I approach #45, I have settled in to who I am. Even though I'm on a weight loss journey now, I try to be thankful for all the ways my body has served me well and seen me through.

Good for you for noticing yours.

Joannah said...

This was good for me to read. As I watch my body change, I'm grateful for what it's finally doing after all these years of trying, but scared of the aftermath. I keep reminding myself that Michael would love me no matter what, and I will not be harder on myself than he would be. I will just take care of our daughter and take care of myself the best I can.

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

You didn't need those interim pants for very long at all!

Both of my twins have a great time poking and jiggling my belly. They love it even when I do not.

They also pat their own when I say "tummy." Their bellies are easy to love!

madhu said...

Really this good to read me..Thanks for sharing!


amy said...

You are such a wonderful writer. I enjoy reading every word that you write and following your journey. Thank you for sharing it!

Kate said...

Mine's still a little wobbly 10.5 months out. I may have to learn to love it the way it is!

alyssa said...

i didn't have a baby, so what's my doughy belly excuse? ice cream and cupcakes. clearly, your excuse is better. love you tons. xxx