Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Good, The Bad, And The Fugly

It's been five months. Five months since I pushed a human being out of my body and called it my own once again. Well, kind of. She is attached to me in so many ways that we are still very physically connected. Because those are the shoes I've decided to settle into. Those of an attachment parent. And so far, they fit real nice. But today isn't about that. Today is about life after the baby. Just me. In my Skin. Before the mirror.

Pregnant. And a pirate.

I've borne two beautiful children. I grew them within my body and pushed them out of my body with strength I didn't know I possessed. It's an amazing thing our bodies do as women and far beyond my comprehension, but in the aftermath. In the battlefield of my body. That is where my struggle lies. The war within and without myself.

Sometimes I can see the me I used to be.

I stand in front of the mirror before my shower and look at my body. Sometimes I don't want to but I make myself. Things appear to have shifted all over. Skin is still soft but sits a little further south than before and looks wearied and puckered in that place right below my navel. My bones seem to have shifted as well. Hips are still tilted out and up. I wonder if that will ever go back to the way it was when I was nineteen. I sigh. Probably not. I can see the blue veins mapping my chest and legs, telling me I am alive. Sometimes when I stand here I don't feel like it.

This new body is hard for me to embrace. I struggle against it. I fight accepting it. I CAN change it. And so I endure endless squats, lunges, and crunches. I refuse to eat bread and sugar...well, sometimes. And yet there seem to be things I just cannot change.

I'm standing before the mirror again. Wondering why my arms are so big. They've always been so small. Well, before children. I look at my face and ponder the tired look I see in my eyes. I push and pull the skin in so many different ways trying to find the me that I feel like on the inside. The me I was just a few years ago. It's all happened so fast.

Learning to love me without the frills.

I wake up for the fourth time this week drenched in sweat. My hair is stuck to my neck and the baby is stuck to me. There is a damp spot on the sheet where I've been laying. Night sweats. Again. I step out of the shower and run a comb through my hair. It comes out in obscene amounts. I try to reassure myself by remembering that we all lose 80- 100 hairs a day. But this is much, much more.

These things are all battle scars. You might call them badges of Motherhood. They are a testament to the fact that I've given life. I've shared my body with other people. And in the course of it, I was changed forever. In so many ways.

As I look at my laughing children, I know without a doubt I would do it again. And I will probably do it again in the not too distant future. And I will be surely changed again. And in time, I hope that I can learn to accept and embrace the changes.

For now, this is who I am.


Anonymous said...


You are too young for those kind of night sweats!!! If you have noticed heart skips too....go have the doc take blood and get your thyroid levels checked!

The hair, the sweats (plus bouts of dizziness and heart palps) thyroid symptoms.

Jillian said...

Hmmmm, I have been on high levels of steroids for my eye and I know that is a hormone. The thyroid also controls hormones doesn't it?
Thanks for letting me know. I have a doc appointment this week. I'll ask them to do some blood work.

Amanda said...


I am standing here holding Olivia, and I am crying my eyes out like a big baby. In the most beautiful way, you said what most mothers feel and express through complaints.

I, too, look at myself and see the changes - the tired eyes, the extra squishiness, the shedding hair - and, yes, while I complain about it sometimes, it is completely worth it.

I love you and look up to you in so many ways. You are a true gem.

XOXO to you and your beautiful babies.

Amanda said...

PS - I forgot to tell you that I also think you are beautiful...inside and out.

Lauren said...

You are beyond beautiful Jill! I actually think you look the best in that close up shot with no makeup- you have such pretty skin! You and Amanda seriously are a pair of Yummy Mummy's if I've ever seen them!

I don't have the body, skin, or hair I did five years ago and I don't even have adorable and sweet babies to show for it. However, that's life and I'm happier now than I was five years ago so I'd take that any day!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog after search results for a 'bicycle basket liner' sent me in your direction to a post from almost two years ago where you are living in Africa. It is amazing to play 'catch-up' and read through where life has taken you since then.
I am not yet married nor do I have children but one day my dream is to experience my own unruly joy like the kind you so eloquently and generously share with each blog post. Thank you for reminding me what I have to look forward to. You are a beautiful writer. By the way, motherhood looks simply divine on you, DEE-VINE!