“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which as landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” C. JoyBell C.
I have now had 3 surgeries in the last three years, I will call it my labor of love.
Two back to back C- sections within 18 months and recently umbilical hernia repair surgery; my girls are 3 and 21 months.
Before becoming a Mama I was what you called an independent woman with something to prove. Working hard was my middle name and achievement was my goal.
I was not the kind of women who would ask for help, in fact I was the friend called on to give advice and to lend a hand. This was a role that came naturally to me as I watched my Mom do and still do it.
So what happens when a type-a, independent, “I can rule the world”, women becomes a Mama of 2 in less than 2 years…
Well for a while she holds it together but slowly she starts to break..
She manages to run multiple businesses and take care of her girls while her husband, a police officer, works the night shift which leaves her eating alone and taking care of herself, the house and her daughters for 12 hours straight 5-6 days a week…
Her role as a wife and mother are satisfying to her but she quietly cries out for someone to see her and understand that while she wants and needs help, she “can’t” ask for it.
I reluctantly headed into my recent surgery to close the hole in my stomach left by my two beautiful babies because I knew I couldn’t do this alone.
I worried about the burden this would create for my husband who would have to take over.
I made lists of the things that I would still be able to do wanting to do “my-part” so I wouldn’t feel useless.
I secretly cried over the fear that my girls wouldn’t understand that Mama couldn’t pick them up and play with them, I didn’t want them to feel unloved.
But then I did something I have never done, I said “OK”!
I said, “OK” when the beautiful mothers in my MOPS group offered to make meals for my family as I recovered.
I said, “OK” when the mothers from my daughters preschool class offered to take the girls on playdates.
I said “OK” and meant it when mothers near and far told me to reach out if I needed help.
Motherhood is not a competitive sport that is meant to be won and you miss so much when you isolate yourself shouting ” I got it” from your island.
I have decided to give myself permission to feel sad, afraid, guilty, discouraged along with many other emotions knowing that I have a team of Mama’s around to comfort, support and fill in the gaps for me.
So, I’m going to own my story- all of it and love myself through it all knowing I don’t have to fight this particular battle alone!
Thank you to all who make up the village that surrounds me. My tribe is amazing!
If you have been a follower of my blog from the beginning there are a few things you know..
I’m a dancer
I LOVE being a Mama!
What you may also know is that I had very difficult pregnancies, both ending in C-sections after weeks of active labor resulting in no dilation.
This is not a post about how hard my pregnancy was; I know many women who have had worst pregnancies, this is about the emotional and still physically painful part of being “trapped” in your body after baby.
I use the word “trapped” because try as you may, you will NEVER slip back into your pre-baby self.
Even though you can’t be what you were emotionally or physically, you CAN be better in a different way, can’t you?
There are so many get your body back quick schemes that make me tear up when I think of all of the new Mamas who are pressured into thinking that you should immediately lose all of your weight and wear your old bikini.
I’m no stranger to hard work, being a dancer all of my life. I figured hard work and smart eating would do the trick..
Well, let me introduce you to my new bestie; diastasis recti ,aka your abs split in half from having back to back babies and can’t find their way back together.
No, this doesnt happen to all women but it happens A LOT. Doctors don’t prepare you for this and I certainly had no clue while I still looked 4 months pregnant 10 months after my baby was born.
Just as I started to look into it and begin to “rehab” it, you guessed it I got pregnant again.
BUT, I had a game plan this time. I knew what exercises to do and wore my ab splint religiously.
I started making working out my job, literally and have never felt better! The story ends right, NO.
Truth be told I have been having tummy issues, for lack of getting too detailed, since having my second. Even after losing a lot of weight and physically looking toned, I had a bulge around my belly button that just wouldn’t go away.
Again, thinking it was just my BFF diastasis recti, I ignored it and ignored it and ignored it…but it wouldn’t go away with my symptoms getting worse.
After an episode of extreme abdominal pain that my husband and I thought I would need to go to the hospital for I decided to get a second opinion, since the first doctor told me this was just a part of settling into my “new body”.
After about a 30 minute consultation, she looked at me and said you have an umbilical hernia. Without going into much detail, my condition means there is nothing holding my intestinal wall in place hence the severe abdominal pain I have been in.
I asked myself in that moment, why I never insisted at those previous doctors appointments that they rule out other medical conditions.
I asked myself how many other women are afraid to bring up their post pregnancy pain fearful of how they may look or sound.
So as I sit here writing this, I’m emotionally and physically uncomfortable. On one hand I feel relieved that that bulge will not be a permanent fixture on me. On the other hand I’m terrified to have this surgery, a surgery that will leave me unable to work out for 6 weeks.
I have worked so hard to get to a place where my back no longer hurts daily because I have regained my abdominal strength back.
I have worked so hard to get back into shape restoring confidence in myself that I thought was lost.
When you read all of the baby books they don’t tell you this part. They don’t tell you that for some women their post pregnancy bodies can’t figure out to get to a new normal on their own.
My body is one of those..I thought I would be the woman who would have her babies and dance her way back to her old self.
In March I will undergo surgery to fix the literal hole in my stomach my babies left. I won’t be able to lift my girls, carry anything over 10 pounds or do anything physically taxing for 4-6 weeks.
In a moment of honesty, I feel as if my body has turned on me, after all of the ways I have been loving and taking care of it.
As I lay here looking at the calendar with my surgery day circled I whisper to myself- we will get through this together.
Even the optimist in me is uncertain of just how she is going to get back to the place she has worked so hard to get to, BUT I WONT GIVE UP!
One. Day. At. A. Time!
P.S. please send me book recommendations, free time is something I’m not good at handling😉
Just an ordinary day on my morning trip to Starbucks..
But let me back up a few hours before that trip..
4am: first, “Mama!” cry from the hallway followed by my rush to take her back to her bed before she wakes up her sister.
4:05: HUBBY LEAVES FOR WORK
5:00am: say, “WHATEVER!” and let her have her way, which entails her crawling into bed and somehow taking up the whole bed while she tosses and turns for the next 2 hours.
7:45: CRA!!!.. forgot to hit snooze and get awoken with a foot in my face!
7:45-8:45: rush to get two kiddos ready, get showered, check my emails to make sure nothing urgent happened, take a look at my planner to figure out where I need to be, make coffee, make my shake, load the kids in the car..go back in for the book bag and lunch box I forgot.
9:10: drop child #1 at school with child #2 in hand.
9:15: drive to my little slice of heaven..STARBUCKS for coffee since I left the cup I made at home.
9:30: unload child #2, grab my purse and happily walk into Starbucks UNTIL..
A women races to the door in front of me and says, “So sorry, but I’m in a rush to get to work.”
So, I let her cut in front of me and surprisingly, I felt sad instead of pissed off!
Sad that she judged me in my yoga pants and Momlife shirt for not having a life deemed important enough to value…
Sad that she assumed I had nowhere to be …
Sad that she had given no thought to how my morning might have been…
Sad that she felt that because she was dressed up in a business suit that her “job” was more important than mine…
When will we get it as women, as mothers?
It’s ALL hard, no matter if your rocking yoga pants or tailored business pants.
It’s ALL hard, no matter if your giving a presentation to 50 board members or trying to get your kiddos fed and down for nap time so that you can clean up, prep dinner and put a load of laundry in.
It’s ALL hard, PERIOD.
So to that woman who cut me in line at Starbucks, your life is not more important than mine.. just different and that’s perfectly OK with me!