If I had a dime for every time I heard a new mom say, “I can’t wait to get my body back!” after they give birth, I could put a pretty good dent in my student loans. And who can blame them? It’s exhausting work growing a tiny person inside your own body for nine months. You undergo these big physical changes in a short amount of time, and frankly you’ve come to appreciate the pre-pregnancy body that you complained about a year ago. I get it. I felt it. But here I am, four years later and two kids in, and I say it now from EXPERIENCE..
I just want my body back.
I could care less if I can fit into the same jeans I wore five years ago. I’m talking MY. OWN. BODY. BACK. Truthfully, I think my sudden rant stems from the still-frequent night wakings of my 20 month-old, as she demands “milkie” and sleeps only in my arms when she’s gassy. I’m sleep deprived, first and foremost, so I’m a little bitter; but lately, I just notice that it’s a very rare occasion that a child isn’t attached to me somehow. My body has become their property, and I really just want to re-claim it as my own. I’ve provided some evidence as to how they’ve managed to commit this act, sometimes so stealthily that I don’t even realize it’s happening:
Exhibit A: The living room. 8:30 p.m., children not asleep but should be. I happen to notice that I have 2 children draped somewhere on my torso. Has this become so normal to me that I literally had to take notice of it? My husband’s sitting with the cat in his lap on the other couch. How does he do it?! I ask him if we can trade, but it’s clearly not our choice.
Exhibit B: Walking anywhere in the house. Last week I observed that the kids seem to fall into orbit, like this gravitational pull, whenever I stand up and leave the room to go anywhere. I’m not sure when we all became magnetized, but I can barely hide in the corner of the kitchen to eat chocolate anymore. We all know, mamas, that the bathroom is basically a joke. I don’t expect to get much alone time there. But at least let me walk to the kitchen to put my coffee mug in the sink.
Exhibit C: “Up..up..up..” Baby Lu wants up. All the time. And lately the novelty of her beloved family members, all willing to hold her, has dwindled and their holding abilities are not up to par with the amazing way I hold her, apparently. Also, the novelty of “walking like a big kid” has worn off, because walking is for suckers. Big thanks to her super-observant 4 year-old bro, who now sees my empty arms as an opportunity to catch a free ride. Or throw a fit when I say no. Or hang on my arm as a “compromise” that he reached without any input from me.
Maybe I should be flattered. My kids seem to think that I’m so wonderful, they can’t possibly leave me alone. Baby Lu will actually scowl and whine for milkie IF SHE SEES ME LIE DOWN, because why on earth would I ever want to rest without an entourage. I know I’ll miss these days when they pass (like how my 4 year old just said to me “I want to come sit in your lap. Because I love you”, and my heart exploded), but I won’t miss ALL the days. I won’t miss the physical exhaustion for continuous sleep disruptions. I won’t miss the little kid fits when I refuse to carry someone. It’s all worth it, so I do it, but I think I’ve earned a right to complain a little because it’s a lot of work.
It’s been four amazing, glorious years since I earned the title of “mama”. Four years of snuggles, night wakings, “up”s, and breastfeeding (yep..my oldest weaned approximately two weeks before my daughter was born), and truly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But if you think you’re getting your body “back” after pregnancy, or even the first few months of life, just wait. You can run (and you may lose weight!) but you can’t hide. My kids rented-to-own. They shacked up for 9 months, but they’ve apparently earned full rights to use it as a crash pad; or for my toddler, a late night vending machine. It’s hilarious, heart-warming, and super irritating all at once. But hey, that’s motherhood in a nutshell. Someday I’ll get my body back, hopefully at least to the point where I can sleep uninterrupted. Then maybe I’ll worry about pilates and kickboxing.