1 Child, eight months old
My name is Jan. I am 25 years old and I am currently eight months postpartum. Before my husband and I even started trying to get pregnant, I was concerned about what might happen to my body. I had always been slim, my tummy flat, and my breasts were proportionate to my body.
We got pregnant quickly, which we were so thankful for.
Pregnancy agreed with me, I loved my fuller breasts, and my growing belly became even more special when I began feeling my baby’s movements. I still miss feeling the little hiccoughs.
I went into labour two days before my due date and progressed quickly at the hospital. Then unexpectedly, I stalled out at nine centimetres. My doctor wanted me to push, in an effort to thin out the last bit of rim on my cervix. This didn’t work, even after an hour of trying. So I gave in and got the epidural- the hope was that it would help me relax- and then successfully finished dilating. But my babe wouldn’t budge! I pushed for another hour to no avail. At last I gave birth with the assistance of forceps. It was the most intense ten minutes of my life. I had a beautiful baby girl weighing in at 7 lbs, 14 oz.
About two days after her birth, I really noticed my milk coming in. My breasts ballooned to a D cup. I actually enjoyed the leaking of milk. I loved breastfeeding too, the oxytocin made me blissful. My little girl was such a wonderful eater. I had some soreness in my nipples but after a few days it was gone, and I was enjoying the very rewarding experience of nourishing my child from my body.
Around five months of age, my baby girl began crying more than we expected. I had been noticing my breasts didn’t leak anymore and didn’t seem as full either. Soon we realized she wasn’t getting enough to eat.
I rented an electric breast pump and began pumping as much as I could to try to stimulate more production. I battled with it for a month and then decided to try a prescription to increase my prolactin hormone. The pills worked for sure, but my husband noticed I was becoming depressed. I would cry several times a day over nothing, insisting I wasn’t a good mother. I got angry with him easily and said and did hurtful things when that is not in my nature at all.
Together we decided that I shouldn’t take the pills anymore, so I breastfed as much as I could but supplemented with formula. Slowly but surely I could see that my production was coming to an end altogether.
Now my daughter is eight months old and she is formula fed (solids now, too). It has been about a month to six weeks since she breastfed. I miss nursing her. Her baby smell mixed with that sweet breast milk smell was intoxicating. Now I feel that she doesn’t need me in the same way she once did. Of course she still needs me, I’m her mother after all… but the breastfeeding was something only I could provide. It was my excuse to have my baby all to myself.
I have been feeling badly about my body. I am 108 lbs now. That is six pounds less than when I got pregnant. I know there are women out there struggling to lose the baby weight, struggling to love the extra skin and stretch marks. A lot of women wouldn’t want to hear me complain about my body I’m sure. But I actually felt more beautiful at 39 weeks pregnant (I weighed 142 lbs at that point). Even a couple of weeks postpartum when my tummy was squishy and still had the dark lines on it, I felt like more of a woman. I felt beautiful. I couldn’t wait to heal and make love to my husband again, wanting him to enjoy my more womanly figure too.
Now I am a cup size smaller than I was pre pregnancy. I am thin, I am boyish. I often wonder if my husband is still attracted to me- with my small, sagging breasts… that really don’t have much mass anymore. They seem more like hanging pieces of skin.
And yet, I know that I need to love my body. What an amazing accomplishment, to be pregnant and to give birth, and to feed my baby from my body. Sure, I looked “better” pre pregnancy, but my body had never accomplished anything so incredible before. Despite wishing I looked more like my “old self”, I now respect my body more.
1st Photo- Eight months post partum
2nd Photo- 38 weeks pregnant