"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.
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.
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 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.