I vaguely remember those days of bliss (painful bliss?), after birthing my babies. I mean, how much detail would you expect a stitched up, overly exhausted, hormone-wrecked new mom to remember? Post-birth days are a blur.
The one thing I do remember is the way I instantly fell inlove with each baby. Like, immediately. There is no feeling like it, right ladies? I lived in that euphoria for days post-birth… the pain and broken body not as important as the sweet smell of my baby.
And even when my sister and I jokingly chat about how scary I look post birth, I know that it’s in jest and I honestly couldn’t care less about my appearance or what other people think, in that moment.
But one comment that a visitor made after seeing me (in all my unkept glory) kinda stuck with me.
It had been about three days, 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.
Well thought out Brazilian waxes 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!
I am reminded of this journey and just how much we go through to successfully carry, birth and raise our children. 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.