Monday, November 10, 2014

On Loving My Postpartum Self

No one reeeeally talks about it. The 4th trimester - the ups and downs, laughter and tears,
joy and insanity of it all. One day you are swimming in a sea of warm, squishy, newborn baby bliss
and the next you aren't letting anyone IN or OUT of your house because they are either going to
contract ebola and give it to your infant or lead a serial killer right into your living room.

People have been so kind and ask me how I'm doing and all, but I lean more towards "fine"
rather than dive right on into the fun facts of anxiety, stitches, breast engorgement, and the
whole achy, throbby - "I am falling out of myself" feeling. You following me?! TMI. I know.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

It was just this past Sunday. I had just put on one of my favorite dresses to go to church.
I was totally having a party in my head; celebrating the fact that...

A.) it fits
B.) I don't look so "lumpy" in it after all

An hour later I walked into the bathroom in a completely different outfit and my husband asked,
"Why did you change?" Well, let's see. When I put it on I had just breastfed the baby and
was looking decent in that department. Given time, milk reproduces, and I was totally channeling
Dolly Parton. Not for Church. Not for Jesus. I laughed it off. No big deal - I'd rather breastfeed
my baby than wear my favorite dress. Perspective, right? That's REALLY how I'm doing.

A couple weeks ago our 3 year old totally climbed into our bed in the middle of the night. Nathan
and I were both so exhausted that we just let him stay - unaware really. Long story long --
he peed on my husband, all over our sheets, comforter, feather tick. I woke up to *freaking out*,
lights turned on, and drama in our en suite bathroom. ARE YOU KIIIIIIDDING ME?!

I motioned to Nathan to GET OUT and turn the lights off before, God help me, the
baby that was just wide awake from 2-4AM wakes up AGAIN. I stripped the bed and marched
straight to the living room to tell my husband that this was ALL his fault and that
he could just sleep with said 3 year old - IN THE OTHER ROOM. For real.

Y'all, postpartum Brittany is cray cray. The next morning my husband let me sleep in
til 9AM and the first words out of my mouth were, "I AM SO SORRY. That baby. I was tired."

And then there is my body. I don't keep a scale in my house on purpose. Numbers don't matter.
It's all about FEELING good and being COMFORTABLE in your skin. That being said, I had to
promise myself that I would NOT step on the scale at my CHILD's 2 week check-up.

Yea, I broke that promise and had to pep talk to myself the whole way home. "20 more pounds
to pre-baby weight?! You've got this."
And just to make sure that I was thoroughly beaten up,
I went home and tried on all my non-maternity pants. Why why why?!

*bangs head against the wall*

I look down at my stomach and see DARK stretch marks this time - a straight line running down
my abdomen that looks even darker and more foreboding when I bend over. Weird, but I notice these
things... and I am sure MY HUSBAND DOES TOO and probably DOES NOT WANT ME ANYMORE?!?!??!

CUE: explosion of tears when he walks in the door from work. He wants to know what's wrong and
asks, "is this postpartum-ness?" Oh no he didn't. That's the post-baby equivalent of asking,
"are you PMS-ing?" NO. No, it's NOT. Yeeeeeessssss... yes, it is.

For the record, my husband DOES still want me. Phew. So that's good. Seriously though, so
THANKFUL for his covering and affirmation. He sees my post partum body very differently than
I see it - giving grace, love, and understanding - where it TRULY IS DESERVED!

I just had a BABY. A 10 and a half pound baby. I gained 50 pounds to bring such BEAUTY
into our lives. My body was stretched and pushed to the very limits to bring LIFE - a human
being (that still blows my mind!) - a breathing representation of the love my husband and I
share - and it is SO GOOD. So so good.

Despite the postpartum party going on over here, I AM finding it easier to be KIND to myself
this time around, to lower my expectations, and have grace on my brain, body, and those around me.
I'm laughing more and crying less. I am learning to LOVE myself in this season.

The other night I was laying in bed doing some spine stretches and deep breathing when my
husband walked in to give me a foot massage (SPOILED. I know.). I looked at him, feeling completely
humbled, and said, "You've seen my body do CRAZY things - with having babies and all."
(I mean, the guy has seen my intestines. I haven't even seen my intestines!) He laughed and agreed,

"It's pretty amazing actually."

"YEA IT IS! Too bad YOUR body doesn't do anything cool like that!"

*fist pumping mothers everywhere*

Motherhood is wildly beautiful, my friends. It bends and breaks us - strangely building us
up into stronger women. Pregnancy. Postpartum. I'd do it again and again to know this JOY
of loving and raising tiny humans -- the ones so intricately stitched together by the God
Who knew us all before there was time.

I'm going to go put a sweet potato in the oven now. For lunch. 20 pounds, remember?!
But you can bet I'll probably eat a Reese's peanut butter cup while I do it -- because GRACE, right?!
My body has been through a lot. It deserves it.

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  1. Brittany!! So good my friend!! I especially LOVE the line you wrote about your baby(ies) being a "breathing representation" of the love you and Nathan have for each other. That made me stop. And think. And re-evaluate me not wanting kids or not wanting to get married for that matter. You are good. You are loved. You are enough. :) And your children are beautiful and wild and crazy just like you and Nathan which is AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing about the stuff no one wants to talk about - and thank you for making it real. Love you!!

    1. Thank you, Caty! Oh man - it is beautiful - the whole "breathing representation" bit. It has to be on par with the whole goodness of CREATION we find in the book of Genesis. "And God saw that IT WAS GOOD!" If God is calling you to marriage and babies -- I can tell you with full confidence that there is complete and total JOY in that calling!!! Don't be afraid to run after HIS will!!! You will NOT be disappointed. Thank you for your kind words - means so much! Truly! YOU are good. YOU are loved. YOU are enough too!!! Love you back XO

  2. Oh, Brittany! You nearly had me in tears with your words! I have SO felt each and every thing you described. It is hard. But it is ultimately so beautiful. Praying for your postpartum healing. <3

    1. Oh no! Don't cry!!!! Unless they are happy tears :) Postpartum - definitely has its moments. Good and bad. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?! It will all "level out" soon. Thankful for that!!! And thankful for the prayers!!! You're the best <3

  3. Wow, this brings back soooo many memories of only 8 months ago when I went through all that for the first time!!! Part of me is sooo glad it's all over, and another part of me feels a bit wistful for such a sweet, tender time when God showed up in the middle of crying and diapers and exhaustion and aaalllll the junk. :)

    1. Oh momma - that is SO true. It IS indeed a sweet, tender time--- making me lean harder into God and feeling Him show up. It's beautiful. It's a good thing God is in EVERYTHING - even the postpartum-ness - because wowza... I know I couldn't do it without Him!!!


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