I, like pretty much most of the female population, have never been happy with my body. I spent 24 and a half years picking faults with it – but never do you think more about your body than when you’re pregnant. In a way it’s a miraculous thing – you’re growing an actual human being inside you! Sometimes I look at Alexandra and wonder how the hell I (with a little help from Dylan!) managed to create a little bundle of cells with eyes, a nose, mouth, a heart, lungs etc. It actually blows your mind when you think too hard about it.
But as astounding as the task your body undertakes when pregnant is, it also tries its best to wreck every part of you! That lovely thick shiny hair, now falling out in clumps every day. That stomach you didn’t like much anyway, now lined with stretch marks. Let’s not even talk about post-pregnancy boobs!
I’m very lucky in that my ‘ITU diet’ as I dubbed it got me down lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight and back down to pretty much what I normally weigh. Apparently there’s not a lot of chocolate and cake in that stuff they tube feed you with! I know not everyone’s in that situation (I was about to write ‘I know not everyone’s that lucky’ but then I realised how wrong that is – fat is definitely better than nearly dead!). But despite weighing the same my body looks hugely different. I didn’t like the shape it was in before but it weighed X stone by going to the gym and trying to be careful about what I ate. The same X stone reached by giving birth and then being critically ill does not come in the same shape package at all!
I would never want my pre-pregnancy body back, the body which hadn’t grown a child and then somehow managed to give birth to it, the body which had never had a tiny newborn placed upon it, the body which had never produced food for a baby even though she wasn’t very good at actually taking that food, the body which was actually functioning properly inside with all organs intact, the body which wasn’t a mother’s body. For I can work on this body and, although I’m pretty sure I will never be 100 per cent happy with it, I can teach my daughter that this is ‘normal’, this is ‘real life’ and that if one day she becomes a mother she too may come to love her lumps, bumps, marks and sags.
Harriet and Alexandra X