Worries for the postpartum me

At 26 weeks pregnant, I am filled with anticipation and excitement. I can’t wait to meet our Little Dumpling. I want to know if he has a ton of dark hair like Luffy! Will he have chubby baby cheeks? Will he be long and skinny or short and plump? Will he be a happy baby? I want to hear him cry and coo. I can’t wait to hold him in my arms. I can’t wait to meet him.

However, the further along I get in my pregnancy, the more I’m starting to worry about my postpartum body. I’m not talking about weight loss, necessarily – I’m not delusional and I firmly adhere to the thought process that it took my body 9+ months to make this little guy and I should fully expect it to take 9+ months for it to return to “normal.” I have no problem giving myself time. I’m more worried about the … complications from pregnancy. Complications like diastasis recti or an umbilical hernia. Beyond documented, medical complications, I wonder if my feet will be larger or my rib cage wider. I wouldn’t mind my hips being wider, I suppose, but I’ve always been rather pleased with my delicate feet and narrow torso. Worse, a lot of these complications anecdotally appear to happen more often to small, short women and I am a small, short woman. Will I recognize my body after Little Dumpling is here?

Women talk about things settling back out of place or stretched skin that never really shrinks back or scar tissue that bulges out of place and I worry about my future postpartum body. Will I like it? Can I learn to love the new body I have? Will I even miss the old body? After all, these changes take a lot of time. I will never have a direct comparison other than perhaps photos and old clothes. Perhaps I’ll never miss it. Or maybe I’ll wake up one morning when Little Dumpling is a happy 12 month old and lament over the reflection in the mirror.

Of course worries such as these are par the course for pregnancy – or really any situation in which the outcome is uncertain. Although there’s not much I can do now, I try to set myself up for success by not dwelling on the what-if’s. I remind myself that our bodies change as we age regardless of pregnancy (or really, our bodies will age regardless – period). Even pre-pregnant me didn’t have the same body as 23-year-old me, for better or worse. I remind myself that “bouncing back” from pregnancy doesn’t necessarily have to be linear journey and that it doesn’t need to take place in a set time frame. I remind myself that, regardless of what my body looks like afterwards, I should always be thankful because it gave me Little Dumpling. My body made my son (totally duh-sville, but just writing it out is awe-inspiring).

One thing that I am truly thankful for as I navigate the unknowns of pregnancy and beyond – the weight gain and the awkward grunts and the unladylike gas and the questions of my postpartum body – is that I have Luffy. I have no fear concerning his reaction to my postpartum body because …. well really because of so much. The fabric of our relationship. The trust I have in him and our love. Simply because of the person he is. He encourages me. He compliments me. He reassures me when my hormones are surging and I feel my worst. I am so lucky to have found him. Can’t wait to give him a little token of my appreciation (maybe about a 7lb, squalling token of appreciation!).