Thursday, April 22, 2010

mama body

I am grateful for the work my body's done, really, I am. I just wish that what it has had to endure throughout pregnancy, labor, nursing, carrying, and so on and on, wouldn't leave me feeling like such an old rag falling apart.

I remember last year when my daughter Lilly was close to turning one, thinking I'd never been in better shape. After a year of long daily walks (to break the tedium and to help her sleep), frequent nursing, and about a couple of workouts at the gym a week, I felt great. Strong. Last spring I did crunches, kegel exercises, and push-ups at home everyday for 10-15 minutes or as soon as Lilly'd go down for a nap, and my belly felt sort of together, though not its former flat.

Now I might wake up in the morning and sometimes my belly might resemble something like what it looked like last spring, if I didn't eat too much too close to bedtime. But as soon as I have a glass of water, it pops out. After breakfast I look like I'm three months pregnant; after dinner I'm at five.

I'm not a natural exerciser; I don't crave working out. But if I don't, I feel yucky and sluggish.

Unfortunately, because this past year my brain has been somewhat functioning (?!), I want to work, to write, when it's my time. Last year, on the other hand, my brain was too mushy to think straight, but my body could function. And exercising sort of helped me wake up slash stay awake.

During this second year of Lilly's life, my exercise has been limited to one or two yoga classes per week (and before winter kicked in, some walking).

This morning at yoga, my hands wouldn't even hold me up in table position, no way could I lower myself down to plank, or all the way down in reverse push up to chaturanga; my wrists were just hurting too much. My daughter likes to sleep on my arm, and I'll rather stay frozen in the same position rather than waking her, so perhaps I slept funny last night? Or is this pain caused by something else? Are my wrists so tired from lifting up and setting down? They have been hurting a little for a while, but nothing like this.

I hope it's not my typing. I don't think so. My body in all other ways is falling apart from motherhood. It's not just my belly.

It's also my saggy bum. Droopy boobs. Enlarged feet. Flapping labia. Gray hair. Discolored teeth.

We've had an unusually warm spring here and all around me nature is exploding with vibrancy and color. While I'm decomposing. It's a little depressing.

I'm trying to reverse the down spiraling turn by being more active. Twice this week after supper, I've gone for a brisk walk in the Arboretum (running hurts my knees too much). The prairie landscape is so amazing at this time of year! Fluorescent green trees and more budding, the blue river and sky, bright yellow sun, white little trout lilies. Lots of wild flowers I don't know the names of in purples and pink and more white ones. One evening, I walked by two deer who stood very still looking at me till I was very close; then they turned to run away. But they stopped to look back and I waved to them. It was precious.

These deer looked so young, peppy, tail up in the air like the bunny I saw my husband and daughter chasing around in our garden earlier this week.

So much energy! I want to feel like that again, bouncy and giddy with life.

Spring is revitalizing me too. But I just feel more like a happy old monkey, bony and potbellied, droopy tits and yellow teeth, slogging my body around with a tentative hop here and there.


  1. Just to prove that our own self-perceptions are always distorted by subjectivity and typically far more negative than how others see us, my first impulse upon meeting you was to envy you your tiny, slim figure with apparently none of the baby-fat curves mine will ALWAYS have no matter how much I run or diet. (It's just the way I'm made; my entire family has my body type!)

    But I do relate to the general feeling and experience of one's body "falling apart." Now at 39 and with a 3 year old and 5 year old, I often feel creaky, weak, and old, and my longstanding arthritis in my feet (hereditary) which had not bothered me in 6 years is flaring up again and making it impossible to run. Argh! So I understand where you're coming from too.

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