13 Years Postpartum

Most people think of postpartum as a few years or months after giving birth. You have a baby and you recover. You get back to yourself, but after birth who are you?

The entire landscape of your body changes as you concede to the development of a new human. Labor and delievery shifts your muscles and bones to make way for birth. Never again will your body be exactly the way it was before. I realized once my baby’s lungs filled with air, that I had never taken a breath quite as sweet as it was with her in my arms. There is no way I could walk away from my experience becoming a mom and be the same person. Honestly I don’t want to be the same person.

Motherhood has taught me so much and I am nervous of how much more I have to learn. 13 years postpartum now and I still feel so new at it. I am still watching and listening to her cues. Making mistakes and learning how to fix them. Postpartum has not always been a linear growth but sometimes 10 steps back with only 3 steps taken forward. Sometimes it’s a circular, scatter, and histogram chart all rolled into one, confusing, frustrating and senseless. Other moments it clicks, just right, and I find myself completely humbled by the opportunity to be a mother at all.

13 years ago I woke up at 5:30am to use the bathroom. I tried to lay back down but my stomach just kept hurting, like period cramps. I decided to get up and try to move around to help my mind get off the pain, but the pain just kept coming. I realized I might be meeting my baby girl today so I began organizing, cleaning, and packing. My mother came into my room and asked what I was doing. Through my labored breaths I told her I needed to clean up some more and then take a shower, ‘I think I’m in labor’. Her eyes widen, she told me to sit down and that we needed to leave for the hospital now. I cleaned more and then dressed myself for the hospital. The hospital ride was bumpy and uncomfortable as my contractions continued their steady pace. Once we arrived I found myself crying tears of joy, fear, and excitement after my cervix was checked and was confirmed that my baby would be arriving that day. When my water broke and my contractions intensified I found myself in tears, not from pain though. Tears knowing that this was happening, I was going to walk out of the hospital with a baby totally depended on me. I received a epidural and I was able to settle my emotions as I waited for her arrival. I was fully dilated, and had a strong urge to push and I was told my baby was breach a c-section would take place instead. I wasn’t prepared to have surgery and didn’t want to have surgery. Tears came from her father when she was pulled into the world, it was love at first sight. I found myself waiting it seems like for hours to embrace her, smell her, touch her. I needed her most and I was kept from her. When I had her, I held her. Despite being exhausted from labor and surgery I held her, I nursed her, and kept her. 13 years ago and I swear it was just yesterday, every moment is still so fresh.

Holding my daughter in my arms the world became a different place. So much I had to protect her from, so much I had to learn to teach her, and so much I wanted to give her. Holding her made me realize how inadequate I was for her, yet more driven to succeed for her that I could wrestle a bear and win. It truly is explainable…

Giving birth has made me realize how freeing self-sacrifice is and how secluded my world was before. Though I find myself humbled and often feeling inadequate for her at times, I know if I am loving her with all my heart I am enough for her, for them. Honestly I still figuring out who I am singularly but I know I am their MOM and I couldn’t be happier.

13 years later…

She makes me laugh, not giggle but laugh.

She believes in herself when no else does.

She looks like me but moves like her father.

She is my daughter, my very first daughter.

This is 13 years postpartum. #thisispostpartum