My popped balloon

February 29, 2016

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The face after your balloon pops, literally.

The worst, and I mean absolute worst part of pregnancy, in my opinion, is the deflated balloon effect after giving birth. I quietly accept the 9-10 months of growing a watermelon inside my body, the separating abdominal muscles, the widening of hips and loosening of joints for the miracle of life that is to come. But the aftermath is just plain ugly. And empty. Looking at the deflated mess that was once a beautiful round and glowing belly feels so lonely and discouraging. Add to this the crashing of hormones that make you feel like you’re on a roller coaster of crazy, the physical handicap-ed-ness of recovery which doesn’t allow you to do much about it, and the never ending job of a taking care of a newborn which drapes you in the sweet smell of spit up-poop combo, and you’ve got the recipe for optimal insecurity.

“What if I just look like this forever…?” I questioned my husband, seeking the reassurance I so desperately wanted to hear. I wanted him to tell me he liked the new me with the extra curves. I wanted him to grab one of my many new love handles and give some sort of moan of approval. I’d love him to notice that my boobs grew 3 cup sizes since giving birth, but he politely pretends to not notice. (Actually, “pretend” might be giving him too much credit – I’m not sure if he notices at all.) While I appreciate the respect my husband has for me and all women, every once in a while I simply want him to find me physically attractive.

“You won’t.” was his answer. Not only was this the opposite of reassuring, but it presented me with a new sense of pressure. I guess he EXPECTS me to not look like this forever? Here I am trying to embrace my new extra large muffin top, (the same one my toddler still kisses thinking I have a permanent baby inside, and my other two children keep telling me needs to “go down” as they point and giggle) and he thinks it’s reassuring to tell me that it will go away? As if all I have to do is be patient and in a few months I’ll open my eyes, look in the mirror and smile at the return of my 6 pack? I guess that is all he has to do anyway. Meanwhile I’ll be attempting to do kickboxing my living room at 5 a.m. with my toddler screaming for a third napkin to wipe up her spilled bowl of cereal and the newborn crying until I pause the workout to wrap him in the moby all while my husband sleeps soundly…dreaming of my 6 pack.

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