I vaguely remember my post-birth days. I mean, how much detail would you expect a stitched up (perineal stitches are evil), overly exhausted, hormone-wrecked new mother to remember? Those days are a blur. If I were to remember anything, it would be how instant the falling inlove with my kids were. Like, immediate. The only other thing I remember, though, was a comment someone made after seeing me (and my glorious, unbrushed hair, teeth, pretty much everything), after a particularly grueling birth.
It had been day two or three post birth and I was frazzled and in pain. Our visitors arrived with supper (praise the good Lord) and quietly had a peek at baby, before heading home (and again I say, praise the Lord). But not before I hear one innocently whisper to the other “yoh, motherhood strips you!”
At the time I remember thinking, gosh are these people really going to comment on my underwhelming appearance right now?! I mean, I was both mortified and uncaring about the whole situation. It didn’t bug me enough to want to, you know, block people on Facebook. But it did make me want to contour my face into perfection and put on a push up bra, like, immediately. (I did neither, btw.)
Looking back now, as I sit in pain with baby number five in my belly, I’m reminded of that comment. Motherhood strips you. How true those words are!
A close friend of mine shared that she learnt a lesson in being undignified the day she birthed her kids. There is nothing quite like the raw abandonment a mother feels, as she births her child. At that moment, you literally don’t care who sees your what.
Your well thought out brazillian wax and tanned calf muscles are unimportant, as you thrust your legs up, on either side, to pretty much whoever wants to hold them, so that you can get the kid out asap. Your pretty Woolies bra and face beat really not that impressive, as you clutch your newborn tightly while they latch onto your raw nipple, drawing blood.
Those first few days of motherhood strips you and you become someone else – well, still you, I guess, but like, the undiluted version. You’re overly aware of your body and your child’s needs and, honestly, making sure that both are okay becomes the primary concern. All the other frills and bows are just… well, froth. You know, froth: the top part of a cup of really good coffee that gives it that pretty aesthetic but doesn’t determine how great the java is.
And as for the rest of Motherhood… yep, pretty much the same thing! Your children take priority – numero uno (have you seen Kari and I dress for church? She’s model chic and I’m “can someone tell Luchae that her top is on inside out”). Your priorities are never the same again!
This week, as I battled through some pregnancy pain and discomfort, I was reminded of this journey and just how much we go through to successfully carry, birth and raise our children. And I was reminded of the stripping… the vulnerability of the human body and how a mother abandons her own dignity, to ensure that her child is safe, alive and healthy.
I’m not saying that there is ugly in the birthing process. No matter how you’ve come to meet your child – whether it be on a hospital table or through a tear-streaked filling out of forms – it is beautiful… satisfying… a hot mess of emotions… but so fulfilling.
And if you think about it, a stripping HAS to take place. Because you’re pretty much never the same again.