42.5 Weeks: Best.
July 30, 2009

The one thing that Donald and I cannot seem to wrap our heads around is how quickly a pregnancy ends and a new life begins.  You spend nearly a year building up SLOWLY to this point and then suddenly, abruptly, almost violently, pregnancy?  Just.  Ends.  It feels so right, like you’ve come full circle, but at the same time it seems so impossibly expeditious, like something that starts out so unhurriedly should not end so quickly.

And in the blink of an eye, the baby you loved and longed for is here.

My belly the day after giving birth to Charlotte.  Please ignore the marks from the sheets; I did alot of laying down and very little standing up for the first few days!

Of course, this also means that in the blink of an eye, everything changes.  And most notable of all those changes has, for me, been what is happening to my body.  I expected lifestyle changes and perspective changes, but I was unprepared for the hundreds of ways in which my body would change after having a baby.  My postpartum body is wholly unfamiliar to me.

My vagina, for example, is held together by stitches.  This is sort of like being a teenager held together by bad mascara and fake eyelashes, BUT SO MUCH WORSE.  Toilet paper is seriously the bane of my existence.  Toilet paper, THAT MOST BENIGN OF ALL MATERIALS ON THIS PLANET.  And you should just see me walk.  I move my legs like I just got off a horse.  A really big, fat-ass horse.

One of our first family photographs =)  Here is my belly at five days postpartum.

My breasts?  OH MY GOODNESS, DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED.  My breasts deserve a post of their own.

And then there’s the matter of my belly.  Day One postpartum, my belly had more in common with a loaf of yeasty dough than anything human.  Day Five postpartum, my husband said that at least I no longer looked so pregnant, now I just looked like I’d let myself go.  Jackass.  And today, Day Ten postpartum, I look like that girl who overindulged during the holidays and hasn’t quite lost the little jiggle that accompanied all that pumpkin pie.


The upside is, though, that when my pregnancy came to that abrupt and horribly painful end?  I got the cutest baby in the world.  And when I look at my daughter, I’m pretty sure that all the stitches and breast changes and jiggly belly in the world are worth it.  I know I’d go through a helluva lot worse for her and I am unbelievably proud of my body for bringing her into this world and providing me with the ability to nurture her.

So my body may not be what it was a year ago, and it may not be familiar, but as far as I’m concerned it’s the best it’s ever been.

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  1. By Monica on July 30, 2009

    I spent SO MUCH TIME hovering above my babies with a camera, trying to catch a yawn on film, only to give up and then have them yawn the second I set my camera down.  I’m so glad you managed to catch one!

  2. By on July 30, 2009

    I am so glad that you are honest and candid about your post pregnancy body. It is refreshing to see a woman who doesn’t hid it nor tries to pretend they lost all the weight the next day. You are looking fabulous! Thank you for keeping me inspired as I march along my last month of pregnancy. All the best.

  3. By Francesca on July 30, 2009

    Huge congratulations! She is very beautiful and your labour sounded vaguely manageable (dare I say it?).

  4. By Elizabeth on July 30, 2009

    Hmmm.. yes, the body postpartum is a disgusting thing, to experience.  My advice - don’t use a mirror.  Precious Charlotte… you are worth every second of discomfort and yuck.

  5. By kbreints on July 30, 2009

    You go girl. It is amazing to me that people think that you are supposed to look unpregnant the minute that baby comes.

    Your daughter is darling. You are amazing and will be back to your old self (kind of) soon enough!

  6. By C @ Kid Things on July 30, 2009

    It’s a year after giving birth to my daughter and I still look like I’m 6 months pregnant. Although at a certain point, I guess I have to stop blaming baby and start blaming chocolate donuts.

  7. By on July 30, 2009

    I just want to smell your sweet little Charlotte… :)

  8. By *emilie* on July 30, 2009

    thank you so much for sharing !! as “J” said, it feels good to read such a honest blog.. as i am also heading towards the end of my first pregnancy…

    your little girl is very, VERY sweet..

  9. By on July 30, 2009

    Think post-pregnancy boobs are bad? Wait for the post-breast feeding boobs.  They made me sad. So sad. I guess I’m used to them now, but sometimes when they seem to be deliberately pointing in opposite directions to make me crazy, I’m sad again. But a healthy baby is worth more than perky boobs. (Keep saying it.)

  10. By Vicky on July 30, 2009

    Sitting on ice packs helped me ALOT.  Good gravy I was so swollen it’s not even funny.  It’s amazing how one look into those tiny little eyes gazing up at you makes it all worth though isn’t it?  Even at 3 years post partum that face still melts my heart.  Stinker. :0)

  11. By kim on July 30, 2009

    dont’ forget the doughnut… sitting on one of those inflatable doughnuts you get at the pharmacy… well priceless!

    Yea, i totally thought that baby and the 30 lbs gained would disapear the second he came out! not. The good news is, it’s all just a blury memory after awhile.

    and don’t even think about the laundry now… it’ll get magically done by the laundry gnomes late tonight.

  12. By Tara on July 30, 2009

    It’s funny how things that might have been really upsetting or frustrating before, don’t really matter as much now.  Because you have what really matters - your sweet little girl.  And she’s beautiful, just beautiful.

  13. By Daphne on July 30, 2009

    you due date was a week right after mine - and sure enough - you gave birth EXACTLY a week after me! LOL

    It’ll get better and if you’re breastfeeding, it really helps.

    All the best!

  14. By Meg on July 30, 2009

    Guys never know the right things to say. Your baby is sooo cute!

  15. By Jinxy @ Jinxyisms on July 30, 2009

    I had something to say till I got to the picture of Charlotte yawning.  Lily kept trying to kiss her in that wonderful big open mouth way babies kiss.  I died right there of cute.

  16. By erin on July 30, 2009

    Good Lord she is a cutie!  Just adorable.  Is it just me or does she look just like Donald?

    I thought I would never get used to my postpartum body, but somehow I did.  I think the worst was that loose feeling inside my belly, as if my insides were all slippery and sliding around and there was nothing holding me together.  I guess in a way there wasn’t, since TK had been pushing everything in place for 9 months, but still.  But strangely, that feeling goes away, even though I thought it never would, and I’m getting used to my new body.  It’s still kind of weird though and honestly, I don’t look in the mirror much unless I have clothes on.

  17. By Dutch Donut Girl on July 30, 2009

    Yep, you are still keeping it real :)
    I’m sure your belly will be back to its old self soon.
    I can’t stop saying it: what an adorable little girl!

  18. By erin on July 30, 2009

    Oh and by the way, we (me and TK) did not get up off the sofa for about 3-4 weeks.  We still spend lots of days just laying in bed, me with a book and her on my boob.  It’s great.  (Beides, she looks so cute in her jammies that some days I just can’t bear to take them off.)  So indulge, and don’t feel bad about “doing a lot of laying around!“

  19. By sarah on July 30, 2009

    beautful post, beautful daughter, beautful family.

  20. By sarah on July 30, 2009

    beautful post, beautful daughter, beautful family. congratulations again on your wonderful, tiny family.

  21. By Jena Simms on July 30, 2009

    Just wait until you don’t take a shower for a few days because feeding, changing, cuddling, giggling and more feeding is way more important than clean hair.  Love these first few months of life.

  22. By Amber on July 30, 2009

    You are so brave and amazing to post photos of your post-baby body—I NEVER EVER see things like that and your honesty is wonderful. PLUS, you have the added bonus of having no stretch marks and looking gorgeous! :)

  23. By Megan at FASS on July 30, 2009

    Um..Are all yawns so heart stoppingly cute?

  24. By Kiza Olson on July 30, 2009

    So true! I also described my postpartum belly as dough! I remember thinking “What is this?!“ And your Crohn’s? How is that?

  25. By Stephanie on July 30, 2009

    Ok, something that I was doing was using a squirt bottle and squirting warm water instead of using toilet paper. It might be a little more time consuming (I can’t believe I’m sharing this publicly), but it was SO much better.

    And you’ll be AMAZED at how quickly the belly basically falls off. I wasn’t doing anything except riding the bus back and forth to the hospital for a month and mine was almost gone, and at this point (4 months out) there’s still a little, but most people think I’m back at my pre-pregnancy size. So never fear!

    and I love love love her yawn face! Gaaaah, I love her.

  26. By Susannah on July 30, 2009

    My teeny baby is now almost three and a half and I can tell you that your body goes back to normal. Ish. Sure, I pee all the time because somehow my bladder did not escape unscathed and I have a little pooch belly, but for the most part you return to your former self. Only better because now you’re a mom.

    Congrats on the sweet sweet girl.

  27. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on July 30, 2009

    Stephanie - I am totally using the squirt bottle and warm water too!  It makes a world of difference, but then I need the toilet paper to dab up the water afterwards.  SIGH.

  28. By Elizabeth Mackey on July 30, 2009

    Judging from the first picture, you will be looking great very soon!! Great job in not getting stretch marks!
    Isn’t the human body amazing?!

  29. By Jaye @ canadian-mom.ca on July 30, 2009

    Did they give you a little squirt bottle to wash your yahoo with while you pee? That was a godsend for me - toilet paper was certainly not my friend, either. Keep it together ;)

  30. By Stephanie on July 30, 2009

    Charlotte is so cute - and you guys all look great. A million congrats :)

  31. By beyond on July 30, 2009

    i was away for a while and seeing a picture of your beautiful charlotte yawning today makes me really happy. congratulations and all the best to the three of you!

  32. By Rebecca on July 30, 2009


    I understand exactly what you mean about the sudden end to pregnancy.  I found myself feeling sad and missing it A LOT the first couple of weeks, even as I was enjoying my new baby.  It was a such a big part of who I was (mentally and definitely physically) for almost a year!  And then suddenly it was over.

    I think your belly is bouncing back perfectly.  And you have NO stretch marks, you lucky girl.  My belly is very very sad looking, and I’m 5.5 months post-partum.  Make sure you do those sit-up exercises they tell you about at your 6 week pp visit.  I didn’t do them very much and I think that’s part of my problem.  Or the fact that I weighed about 20 lbs more than you to start with, and we’re roughly the same height.

    As for the stitches, I know that pain.  Tucks pads are AWESOME.  Use them instead of TP.  Also, a hand-held shower sprayer is great—if you don’t have one, send your husband to the closest discount or home improvement store, stat.  Warm water is very healing, and also good for “cleansing”.  Trust me on this one.

  33. By Rebecca on July 30, 2009

    Oh and what someone else said—DO NOT LOOK “DOWN THERE” WITH THE MIRROR.  I did at like 5 days out and it was SCARY.  I started crying.  Thankfully, the human body IS amazing and you will heal up.  A few weeks later, everything looked “normal” if not exactly the same.  Now, how it feels, is another story…

  34. By Restless Mama on July 30, 2009

    You are beautiful lady!  And so is Charlotte - what a precious little gem.

    Almost 11 months later and I’m still no better with the gut but things are a’changin’ soon.  I just wanted to enjoy my son and not have to worry about my body - so I love your perspective.

  35. By Stephanie on July 30, 2009

    I, personally, think that every change during pregnancy and birth is a badge of honor. Wear it proudly because the only reason you have it, is because your child gave it to you. If you didn’t have it, you wouldn’t have your child and therefore, that makes it all worth while.

  36. By Brittany at Mommy Words on July 30, 2009

    Oh Sarah the post baby body was a huge SHOCK to me.  I had never felt anything like that belly before and I had no idea that my boobs could get any bigger.  I was also unprepared for the lactation consultants, who I now consider angels from heaven, were going to be literally pawing my breasts for the first two days after Sophie was born.  I just have to say thinking about right after the baby and all that happens in the hospital I am still in shock!  And now my boobs, which were a C before everything and ballooned at a E while feeding Sophia have shrunk post feeding Miles to a B.  Now, at 14 weeks pregnant, they are a little bigger but I think I a m looking at an A cup after feeding this baby.  Still it’s all worth it!  (I have to be honest though - it has made me reconsider my opinions on a boob job.  Sorry I just gotta say they do not look or feel the same and not in a good way.)

  37. By MommyNamedApril on July 30, 2009

    great post!  she’s beautiful and i think you look FANTASTIC!!!

  38. By Alias Mother on July 30, 2009

    It’s true.  You do look gorgeous.  Have patience with your body.  It worked very hard.

    My recommendation is to pull out your favorite jeans and try to wedge them on.  Make note of how far up your legs they come.  Put them away.  Do it every week.  Then, suddenly, one day, you will realize that you can pull them all the way up and zip them.  You won’t be able to breathe, but they will zip.  Then you can let out a whoop that will scare the neighborhood.

    Not that I did any of this, mind you.  It’s just a recommendation.

  39. By Wild Dingo on July 30, 2009

    “no longer looked so pregnant, now I just looked like I’d let myself go”

    FINALLY! Donald said something that makes him sound like a “normal” guy. Phew. I was beginning to think he was 1. made up or 2. a saint in human form.

    Charlotte looks delicious! (ooops, better be careful, don’t want to give the dingoes any more bad press.)

  40. By on July 30, 2009

    Though Charlotte is very likely the cutest itty bitty thing I have ever seen, that empty belly is a close second. :) Sheet marks and all.

  41. By Mom To A Preschooler on July 31, 2009

    Beautiful post! Congratulations on your new baby. She looks really adorable. Our body really changes during and even after pregnancy, but you are right, we cannot complain when it gave us a beautiful bundle of joy. I wish you all the best!

  42. By Jaye @ canadian-mom.ca on July 31, 2009

    p.s. I’ve awarded your blog. Check out my site for details :)

  43. By on July 31, 2009

    What a beautiful baby!  I LOVE the name Charlotte, and I hope my husband and I have a girl so we can use it!  :) Congratulations to you both!

  44. By Beth in SF on July 31, 2009

    When someone asks (and someone always does) what I wish I had known, I always say I wish someone had told me how freaking hard recovery is.  They didn’t offer me a wheelchair to leave the hospital, but I’m too shy to have asked for one, but I sat on my bed and cried when I realized I’d have to walk all the way to the car.  The horror.  And I also cried 5 days postpartum when my mom arrived and I told her, “I think I’m going to have to poop today”.  Because seriously, that is the scariest prospect at that point.  I wish I knew your postpartum hate for TP, I just kept pissing myself, so I usually showered instead. 

    Oh, and I lost a ton of my hair a few months postpartum.  The fun continues!

  45. By Babing at High Altitude on July 31, 2009

    Congratulations! She is absolute perfection! Charlotte is also my mother’s name, and what a wonderful name it is. Enjoy this newborn time, there is nothing in the world quite like it.

  46. By mommica on July 31, 2009

    Damn skippy!

  47. By Megan (mommyesquire) on July 31, 2009

    I had all of those same thoughts after Aubryn was born.  Your body will never be the same as it was a year ago.  But, you will always have a greater appreciation for your body - look what you did!  You grew a perfect little human!

  48. By Joe @ Irrationaldad on August 01, 2009

    I love the yawning baby picture.

    Also, is Donald seriously that much taller than you, or is he standing on something?

  49. By gretchen from lifenut on August 01, 2009

    Darling yawning baby! I love how their whole bodies get involved, and now I’m yawning too.

    My body, after 11 pregnancies and 7 babies and nursing all of them? Shot to hell. It must still work in some capacity, or I wouldn’t be in my position. It just doesn’t look pretty any more. But? I love my body. I’m still nursing my 7 month old, so I appreciate my body, sincerely.

  50. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on August 01, 2009

    Joe - He’s really that much taller than me.  I’m on the downhill slope in this picture, but Donald is also 14 inches taller than me =)  I can look him squarely in the armpits.

  51. By itsybitsyknitsy on August 03, 2009

    What an adorable family!

  52. By Heidi on August 04, 2009

    Seriously. Your husband is a GIANT. I’m with Joe. You look like a jewelry box ballerina next to Donald.

  53. By Leah on August 04, 2009

    I LOVE that you posted a pic of your postpartum belly. I was too horrified to even take a picture, but now I kinda sorta wish I had.

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