Oh lady-love… you are blooming beautiful. I know your body is aching and your skin is stretching and you can’t sleep at night and climbing every little step is as if you’re climbing a mini everest. I know your feet are swollen now and your engagement ring has finally come off. You have forgotten what it feels like to not be carrying an eight pound baby lump around. I promise, as soon as she slips out, you will feel as light as a feather.
However… you will not look as light as a feather. I know you think that being healthy and eating a plant-based diet will mean you will slip straight back into your dark blue skinny jeans, but alas, mama bear… leave them at the back of the cupboard for a while. Even the baggy dresses and jumpers you usually wear over leggings on your bloated days will cling to your postpartum tummy and swollen breastfeeding boobs. Try not to think or worry too much about this. Hard as it sounds, try not to compare. I promise that as time goes by, every day, your body will shrink and tighten naturally. Please don’t attempt to run too soon or eat too little – it won’t work and will only place more pressure and frustration on yourself as you find that
some most days you won’t be able to stick to that healthy eating and fitness schedule. You will eat when you can – mostly toast – and walk when the sun shines – mostly pushing a pram or with your baby strapped to your chest – and that’s ok. Be kind to yourself.
You are not going to have the time to do yoga and the meditations that you do now. Relish, really relish, these last few days of silence and stillness. It’s going to frustrate you that just as you begin your second sun salutation, your baby will wake up from her nap crying. You too will feel like crying as any chance of feeling zen flies out the window. Just keep your mat rolled out – some days you may get a three hour window in which to stretch.. but accept that most days you won’t. It’s going to be so hard and you cannot fully comprehend now how much you will ache for time alone. People don’t quite explain this properly, or perhaps you don’t get it until you feel it. But you will find the space to breathe and be still when you’re feeding her and when she’s sleeping. Put your phone down. Hold her close and shut your eyes. Connect to source and ground to earth with your babe in your arms and breathe deep to your core.
Breastfeeding is not going to be a walk in the park. I know you haven’t even thought twice about it; that you’re just expecting your goddess mama body to know exactly what to do. spend some time researching and looking at the correct way to hold your baby in position to your body whilst feeding her. Get the name and number of the nearest physiotherapist now – you’ll be needing laser for those nipples. Everyone will offer advice, but don’t worry, you will know what the right thing is for you to do. There will be blood and tears, I am afraid… but you will make it through, I promise. You’re going to be breastfeeding for a very, very long time and your baby will be the chubbiest and healthiest little button. That emergency soya formula in the cupboard will remain unopened.
If you feel like the secret of the universe is in your belly now, wait until you’ve birthed it. You already have a deep knowing of the power and strength of la femme, but once you’ve pushed your child into the world, you will truly understand the magnificence of la mama. And, beyond the physical and spiritual event of your birth, you will find even deeper wells of strength in mothering your child. You will be pushed and pulled in a million directions; you will be exhausted and fed up and angry and resentful and yet still you will find, somewhere deep inside, the energy to get up again and tend to your baby. To rock her for another ten minutes, even though your back is breaking and your arms are numb. To let her sleep attached to you, whilst you remain as still as a mouse, just so that she can feel your warmth and comfort. To sing another lullaby, even though your throat is hoarse. To let it go, when despite of all of the above, her first word is “dadda.” You will shower in two minutes flat, neglect your leg hair (all hair, really), skip meals, cook and clean and work, and still have the power to be up all night with your teething-growth-spurting-crying baby. You honestly have no idea the depths of your courage, ferocity and bravery. You may not always be told by this the people you want to hear it from, but you’re going to do so good and you are an amazing mother.
Lastly, and I know this is what you are most concerned about right now… don’t be afraid of the birth. It’s the easy part, my love. Just as you suspect, your body will know what to do and you also have a wonderful support team. Contractions are painful, but manageable. The worst thing about the birth process will be your exhaustion, but as soon as that precious baby girl is in your arms, you will be on such a high that the night’s struggle will melt away. Recovery will take a few weeks, a few months, a year… but everything goes back to normal, I promise. You will stop bleeding. You will walk easily again. You will fit into your clothes again. You will be as beautiful and as feminine as you were before, and even more so. You will wear a lot less makeup, put your high heels out to pasture and replace champagne with coffee. But you will also do things you never dreamed of and hold within a magical creativity that artists can only dream of. Drink it in, savour every moment, and bask in this new way of being. In a years time you will wish you had done so more.
PS: You should have bought the pram with the drinks holder. In fact, go exchange it right now.