Last night I took a bath. Not a quick rinse in the shower. An honest, hot bath with coconut bath scrub and lavender soap. If you have never had a baby before, you are probably thinking, “And? That’s exciting?” The answer is – Hell yes, it is! I shaved my legs and I got to soak in complete silence for about fifteen glorious minutes.
For the last month and a half, there has been very little me-time. I wake up during the night to feed my little girl. I tend to every cry, dirty diaper, and demand for a bottle. I sanitize bottles, wipe spit up, and sooth gassiness – all while working from home, keeping the house relatively clean, and making sure we have dinner at an appropriate hour every night.
Trust me, this isn’t a complaint. For every blow-up dirty diaper and moment of extreme fussiness, there is a laugh or heartwarming smile. The exhausting middle of the night feedings also include sweet, middle of the night cuddles. When she looks into my eyes with complete trust or snuggles her little head into my neck, my heart knows completion. I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the hot bubble bath soaks.
I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the hot bubble bath soaks.
That said, your body goes through a toll during pregnancy and delivery. I still have a hard time recognizing my own body in the mirror. Even after losing 20 pounds in the month after labor, I still weigh more than I have in too many years to count. It’s disheartening to glance in my closet and know that I cannot squeeze into more than half of the clothes that fill it. But there are some blessed days – usually when I manage to get more than four hours of sleep – when I can look in the mirror and be the tiniest bit proud of what I see. I lost 20 freaking pounds in a month! Granted, most of that was excess fluid and a six-pound baby, but STILL, 20 FREAKING POUNDS!
Last week I fit into and wore my first pair of normal, non-maternity jeans in months! Sure, I bought them a size up from my pre-pregnancy size, but they aren’t maternity jeans! So many people toss the line that it took nine months to put the weight on, it’ll take time to take it off. It’s true – it’s a cliché for a reason. But that doesn’t help squash the little nagging voice of doubt and self-deprecation that creeps in every time I see my arms or belly jiggle. I’m working on extinguishing that voice – and my husband’s sweet reassurance helps. But, still, delivery is a trauma.
My delight in the quiet fifteen-minute bath springs from more than just the much-needed quiet time. After labor, you come home with a beautiful baby that needs to eat every 2-3 hours around the clock. You have just gone through one of the most painful and intense things your body will ever experience. There is bleeding, swelling, and soreness. Going to the restroom is an event and sometimes you can even unintentionally pee yourself. All while the demands of a new infant make sleep a fading memory. A bubble bath, even if you manage to sneak away to get one, is completely off the table. Soaking in water can cause infection and would probably end up looking like a scene from Jaws in under five minutes with all the bleeding that occurs in those first few days.
No one outright tells you about the postpartum experience or the care that is involved. No one tells a newly pregnant first-time mama about the pad-cycles, numbing spray, and adult diapers. Luckily, I am an obsessive researcher type and was, at least some-what, prepared for what may be involved. The hospital gives you provisions but it was so nice, especially in that first week, to have additional provisions waiting at home.
I am the luckiest woman in the entire world. Completely and utterly lucky.
It’s been 7 weeks. The bleeding and pad-cycles are gone. I haven’t peed myself in at least a month – and last night I took a bath. The first hot bubble bath soak since before my daughter was born. And, after I toweled off my imperfect body and rushed out of the bathroom with wet hair to feed my crying daughter, all I could think was how I am the luckiest woman in the entire world. Completely and utterly lucky.