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  • Jessica Urlichs

"Wow, You've Really Bounced Back"




I once told a woman not long postpartum that she’d really “bounced back”. I had no children of my own then, but she looked great and I thought it was what you said to new mothers.

It wasn’t.


After my first pregnancy no one spoke those words to me. It was something I longed to hear. I was actually really proud of my body, I just didn’t know I could be without being fit and toned.

I wanted to smile at what I saw in the mirror.

I couldn’t.


After my second pregnancy I suffered from postnatal anxiety, I drank a lot of coffee because I was up all night and I didn’t eat a lot because I always felt full, of nerves mostly. The weight just fell off me. Later I would find out about postnatal depletion.

I kept telling everyone “I’m fine, I’m fine”

I wasn’t.


I went out one evening with some friends and someone greeted me with “wow you’ve really bounced back”.

I thought about the previous night, my back to the wall at 2am breathing through the cries.

My top in the car I had changed last minute because there was spew down it.

The nipple cream on my bedside but how proud I was having succeeded this time with breastfeeding.

The lack of self care I had time for right now.

I thought about the immense change we go through entering motherhood, how utterly fragile yet strong we are.

I wondered why we considered ‘going back’ to be more beautiful than becoming.

When it isn’t.


I thought all along I needed to hear those words.

I didn’t.

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