This turned into a meandering entry, sort of tying together my post about breastfeeding with general new-mom malaise. I feel happier than this post might suggest, but man -- I suck at being able to blog with a newborn.
I've heard some women say that they gave up breastfeeding because they wanted their bodies back.
Being pregnant means, among many other things, giving up control of your body. Your body just starts doing all kinds of crazy-ass things, and even if you're really good and eat perfectly and exercise, your hormones are still going to go all psycho on you. You just have to waddle along for the ride.
So sure. After nine months of out-of-controlness, I get why women want to reclaim themselves. Breastfeeding is taxing on your body, your psyche, your schedule.
I, on the other hand, haven't managed to have control over my body (weight-wise) in so long, I didn't think being pregnant would bother me much. And it didn't. And now that I'm breastfeeding (i.e., still lending my body to nurture my baby's), I'm still not bothered.
Not by breastfeeding, anyway.
Something happened a few weeks ago that made my digestive system go haywire. I mean, I had problems -- indigestion, acid reflux, cramping, bloating, irritability -- throughout pregnancy, but that's pretty normal. When some of these issues cropped up again a few weeks after giving birth, I figured that, too, was par for the course. But now my problems have gotten far worse, and I'm starting to worry. I haven't (yet) seen a specialist, but my OB examined me, and thought it could very well be pregnancy/post-partum-related. He reminded me that my body's undergone huge hormonal shifts, and is still undergoing them.
Meanwhile...have you heard about how breastfeeding is awesome because it burns so many calories? Have you heard that breastfeeding is a great way to help you shed your pregnancy weight and get your uterus back to the size it was before it enlarged itself x400? Yeah? Because I sure did. I read that over and over again. And then I gave birth and changed my diet slightly (for the better) and started breastfeeding and guess what!
I have gained weight.
OH YES I HAVE. I didn't know this until I asked specifically, but for SOME women, SOME women LIKE ME, breastfeeding can totally fuck with your metabolism for the worse. It can slow it down to a crawl. NOW I hear,"Oh, I didn't lose any of my pregnancy weight until I stopped breastfeeding!" from everyone. BAH! BAH I SAY!
I am not bf'ing for any reasons having to do with weight loss or gain, but come on. I didn't expect this. I look like I'm five months pregnant. My uterus has not, to the best of my ability to tell, re-shrunk. My upper abdomen is taut and my lower "pouch" has grown. AS IF I needed a reason to feel worse about my twice-weekly-showered, boob-leaking, spit-up-stained-top-with-eleventeenth-day-in-a-row-yoga-pants-wearing self.
Eve herself has been a dream baby, don't get me wrong. She is very alert and interested in the world around her, but also totally good natured and chill. She smiles a lot and her fussiness is still fairly easy to address. She still sleeps great at night. She was and is a great traveler.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. Even if she's not screaming all day or all night, she still requires constant attention and tending to. She barely sleeps at all during the day, except in random 10-20 minute bursts.
Meaning I can't just sit down and write a blog post, for example. In fact, the only time I have enough time to put two thoughts together in one post is in the morning before Eve wakes up or at night after she's gone to sleep, but that's only if I'm not also passed out with her. I usually am. (She's been asleep all morning which is very unusual but also why I'm getting to write this now.)
I knew it would be hard. I don't exactly mind the hard. It's just...
About a week ago, I put aside a couple cute catalogs I wanted to take a look at. I finally remembered to take them up to bed with me three nights ago. And in three nights and three days, I still haven't been able to look through them. That's what having a new baby is like. I don't need to look at the catalogs, who cares about some stupid catalogs?, but there they sit on my bedside table. Reminders of how I can't manage to do even the easiest, most mundane day-to-day tasks.
But here I am, here we are, closing in on the three-month milestone, and I don't know how to jump "back" into life with a baby.
Personally, I thought I did a helluva good job, gallivanting across the country with a newborn, lah dee dah, no big deal. Except apparently I thought we'd return from the trip and get back to life and I would somehow know what to do next.
But for all its ease, the trip back East was hard, too, and it took more out of me than I expected, and I haven't been feeling well since we returned, and now I'm just here. Home. With a baby.
Again, I understand why women stop breastfeeding, if only to reclaim part of their body. I want to reclaim some semblance of organization, order, control, too. I have no intention of quitting nursing -- it's the only thing I feel like I accomplish all day -- but I wouldn't mind more control over everything else my body does. And hey, while we're at it, more control over my whole day.