Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comebacks! Will there be a fifth one?

When I had Greta, she was my world, and I was hers. We didnt think about another baby until she was going on 2 1/2. We didnt have much trouble getting pregnant, maybe 2 or 3 cycles, and the new baby was born almost three years later, to the day. Very good spacing. My pregnancy with her gave me tons of stretch marks, huge new boobs, but all in all, a good return. Vaginal delivery, fit into my old clothes right away, when Mickey was born, Greta was still nursing but that was my choice it was infrequent,and it wasnt an issue. For the most part, with Greta, I felt like I had been pregnant, had a baby, and had a good long "comeback" between babies. Socializing, going out a little, wearing real jeans with zippers, decorative bras, a little alcohol, you know, just an adult.

After I had Mickey, the recovery time was harder, since he was a c section, and since I now had two children. But truly, by that Christmas I was bee-boppin Joy. I felt great, didnt really fit in the old clothes like before, had a scar on my belly now, but no freaky lump or roll or anything, and back to the old me for a good long while, too. Now, even though we tried to get pregnant as soon as humanly possible, (my period returned when Mickey was 9 months old), but pregnancy actually didnt happen for 20 months! So despite our secret sadness and worry and testing and charting and all that crap, I was having a very long comeback, so to speak. My farthest spaced children, in fact-- almost 38 months apart.

So we had our little Casey at home, when Mickey was 3 years + 2 months old, and it was a true one week recovery. I laid in bed for 4 days, came out to the living room for the next three days, daddy went back to work and I was doing great. I was tired, and going from 2 to 3 kids was a very very big adjustment for some reason, but the comeback was on the horizon, no doubt. I remember growing my hair very long, getting really into homeschooling, babywearing, cloth diapering, vegetarianism, all things natural, doing alot of baking, photography, reading, going to the library constantly, a very productive and positive time for me. Right before he turned one year old I got very serious about losing weight. I tried a few times before but it was too soon postpartum for me to be able to handle the low(er)-calorie thing without fits of rage and demetia, but when he was about 11 months old I had a little event happen to me in a dressing room and I started walking and drinking slimfast for breakfast and lunch and eating rice and steamed veggies for dinner and no more cola and no more beer and I lost alot of weight and then BAM I got pregnant when he was 17 months old although the comeback was a really strong one, that was January of 2005 and I have been in a state of extreme maternity ever since. Really, since Casey was conceived, in November 2002. pregnant,birth,lose a little weight,pregnant again, csection, dont heal up at all, pregnant again, csection, nursing all these little goofballs the whole time,hello it is almost November 2008!

Extreme maternity is pregnancy, full time breastfeeding at least one baby or kid, postpartum healing, depression, no sleep, no comebacks.

I dont know. I did have that cute fun blue hair time and lots of writing and blogging and good good times. But my body for SURE and my mind ALOT has had no comebacks and I am feeling it. Charlie's c section gave me the dreaded roll-sack-lump thingy on my belly which I detest and despise. The boobs have crashed and burned. I have grey hairs. Wrinkles. I can never come up with nouns, names, or titles anymore. Red spots. Spider veins. Neck ache. Back ache. Stiff hands. Broken shoulder never healed. Crazy crackling knees. Sexy!

This isnt about the scale or the clothing label. You guys know I am all about the beautiful motherly body and how glorious it all is, truly. But I am talking about comebacks here. If I can make one, just this one last time, it will be a true miracle. If youve ever had a baby or been the partner of someone, shared the life with someone who has had a baby you know about comebacks.

I have been in a state of extreme maternity for 5 years now. Its nothing compared to some of my readers with the 6 kids in 6 years (CNH!!! I LOVE YOU!!) but it was too much for this old girl. This comeback is gonna take time and its gonna have to be a real one, not a Wonderbra-and-coffee one, is this resonating with any other Mamas? Any comeback stories?

Ive made great strides mentally. For me, its too early for dieting. I am walking lots and drinking water. I am almost ready for exercises. My hair is resting and growing. I am getting my household back on track. My homeschool is smaller now but it is going nicely. Everyday is a little step closer to full comeback status.


Mere Mortal said...

Girl, I haven't even had a comeback after #2!!! I'm a mess...
And so, I say to you (bowing down in honor) that you are a goddess warrior. My heroine.
Your comeback will happen and THIS time - however long it takes - it will be BIG and POWERFUL and PEACEFUL and so well deserved.
I have the flabby-lumpy thing over my c-section scar too but it was only after #2 (my VBAC) that I happened. Strange, eh?
Big Love to you,

Judit said...

Hi Joy and Mere Mortal,
I do do do know the dressing room moment, I've had them but I can't say I handled them so well every time, Joy! And me too MM, my #2 is a toddler and me?! ugh. (I have lightyears to go bodyweight-wise) starting around her birthday I had a good few month streak with exercise and wholesome food but a minor injury here, a sick child there, a bit more stress and fatigue, and it fell apart and now honestly the only thing that motivates me to keep it semi-together is that I have to show up at work, to be with adults who wear professional clothing and have intellectual pursuits and career goals, and yes I have days when I feel like I arrive to work from a different planet. Mental comeback? I can't remember the last book I finished reading. So embarrassing. (Please don't tell my colleagues. Some of them are real librarians.)
How poignant, your term 'extreme maternity'. Your musings about your last 6 plus years are so profound. You have so much to be proud of for the rest of your joyous life after this final comeback. You will come back, you are coming back already! We all will :)

CNH said...


I feel like I was just starting to SPRINT after Isabella was born. I was RUNNING for that final come back and looking forward to having all my hair and working on my body and then *poof* that got shoved back another two years. I was sprinting and feeling the lovely wind in my hair and then SMACK down I went right on my face. The road burn isn't all that pretty either.

We will get it back. We HAVE to get it back. One. More. Time.

They are KILLING ME around here. KILLING ME! Ben has turned into some sort of freakish 'advanced infant' and I'm not kidding you at the ripe old age of 4.5 months started crawling. He'll be 5 months next Tuesday and he's climbing, sitting, crawling, and teething. Thank the maker that Claire is just sitting there watching him do it or I think I might actually die.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy
I have a combeback story and I truly never thought I'd get there.

My son was 5, dd was 2 when my twins were born. Three years of extreme sleep deprivation made it impossible to even consider giving up my vices. (i could someone open a can of coke anywhere in the house.. and oh coffee!)

I put my eldest son back into school after withdrawing him unable to meet his needs any better at home. We had no family help.

But the little ones just turned 5 and in the last year I lost 20 lbs and trained for a half marathon which I ran last sunday. I haven't ran since before the kids and never more than a couple Km's.

The comeback happens, I believe it does for all. But it happens later when we start to become outnumbered by our little people. And it doesn't happen before we can count on a good nights sleep.

Don't worry - you'll get there, it just takes a little longer. And when it finally came for me that's when I started thinking about how I could have another baby - go figure!

Jill said...

My comeback with #1 totally spoiled me for any future comebacks. I was all of 21 at the time, and within a week was back to my normal weight and fitting into my TIGHTEST jeans. I really truly looked like I hadn't even had a baby. Even my scar was so faint that most probably would never notice it.

Now, I am only 2 months out from #2, but this comeback hasn't been so sudden and complete, which surprised me. None of my pants fit yet, I still have a linea negra (but no stretchmarks!), my boobs grew exponentially so not only do none of my pants fit, none of my shirts fit either. My body has a lot of weird-looking fat on the lower half and although like you I'ma ll about the motherly goddess body and celebrating it, I still look at myself naked in the mirror and think, "These weird fatty lumps are kind of...ugly." I don't care about scales either. I just want to be able to wear my normal clothes, because I don't have a whole lot of "fat clothes" to pick from.

And my hormones are all fucked up which is a post all on its own so I won't go into it. I'd really like to be able to get through a whole day without crying for no reason.

But like I said, I'm only 2 months postpartum so I expect to have much more time to make a comeback.

Kneelingwoman said... "comeback" stories are a bit more complicated. I did indeed "rise from the ashes" of normal childbirth with my first three kids--all born between the ages ( mine ) of 29-34. I had a lot of postpartum "anxiety" after both Emma and Hugh ( #'s 2 and 3 ) probably connected to the fact that I was also attending births and was at my "busiest" in terms of Midwifery, at that time. It was when Hugh was about 2 that I decided that living a "rotating door" existence with my own family was not the example I wanted to set for other families that I cut down on births, making a determination to do nor more than 1-2 births per month; no more than a dozen or so per year. I had not counted on what became the "North Star" of my life thus far--I began losing babies! When Hugh was a year old, I suffered a mid-term ( 14 weeks ) miscarriage, including a postpartum hemmorhage that cost me half my blood volume, a D/C and more than a month of literally "crawling" around the house as standing up meant dizziness/passing out. I couldn't life Hugh so, we nursed lying down. I had to scoot, on my bottom, to the bathroom for the first two weeks! I became horrifically depressed and sad as it had never occured to me that miscarriage would be part of my childbearing life. I went on to have another miscarriage the following year and, in 2000, I gave birth to my son, Paul, at home, but he died 6 hours later of a genetic neuromuscular disorder. A year later, I had Mary, with spina bifida; an emergency c section. I had also gained an extra 30 lbs. beyond the 40 I gained with Paul ( and hadn't had time to lose ) so, I spent the next 18 month learning how to parent a child with special and complex medical needs and losing all that extra weight-- a task that actually proved very healing and empowering for me. Every time I went running or lifting weights, I felt that I was doing something that Mary couldn't do so, why complain about being tired, or not wanting to etc. It was quite growth-enhancing actually. I also continued to attend births which was extraordinarily healing during this time as I worked with lovely families who were both supportive and, at the same time, very willing to expect me to be "their midwife" which helped me rise to the challenge. At 44, in 2004, I became pregnant for the last time with Samuel, born by scheduled c section, in February 05, with the same lethal neuromuscular disorder that claimed his brother in 2000--Samuel died in December of 05. He spent his first 8 weeks in NICU and was readmitted, typically with Pneumonia ( he had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia along with everything else which made him very prone to aspiration pneumonia ) every few weeks for his entire 10 months so, "recovery" was simply a matter of will--I had to recover and I had to be present for him, my husband and kids but I don't minimize any of the pain or the agonizingly difficult time this was for us.

The "up" side of all of this is that, yes, of course you "come back". We do it because it's in our nature to heal and grow strong.......we are strong women and birth is "natural" for us, even when it isn't, if you take my meaning. You area all young and have healthy children ( thank God! ) and as hard as it may seem right now, I can assure you that you DO have what it takes; you will feel better, grow back into yourself ( and your smaller clothes ) and those babies will be off to College before you know what hit you. Enjoy every minute! You are all "wonder women"! Love, Michelle.

emjaybee said...

My son is three, and he's my only, but yes, I am just now really starting to feel anywhere close to my prepregnant self. But tougher. It was not an easy first for me; don't know if there'll be a second, so that's not on my radar at present.

I think I had a hard time wanting to lose my pregnancy weight because pregnancy was the only time in my entire life that I was proud of my body...I stuck out, I took up room, and it was awesome, not a moral failing. I don't miss the aches, but I missed the feelings of wholeness for a long time, of self-certainty. BUT, having had those feelings once allowed me to know what they felt like, and to be able to start feeling them when I wasn't pregnant.

I honestly bow down before you moms with three and Two would be my absolute limit, but then we started late :)