The thing about a cesarean birth is that there are so many factors involved in recovering and healing: several layers have been cut through, healing comes in stages, the body evolves, scar tissue and adhesions can form without my knowledge, rebuilding strength takes time. I could go on. But on a recent visit to my midwife she enlightened me to a few things and also eased the pressure and stress I have been feeling about my own image and recovery. And then she hugged me. Her words, her empathy, and her willingness to give a strong, comforting embrace soothed me, body and soul.
Here are some of the things I didn’t know:
– Six months is really the starting point of when I can expect to feel, and re-build, normal level of physical functioning and returning to pre-pregnancy levels of aerobic conditioning and strength. So the pressure I’ve been feeling to be back to my pre-surgery body was me rushing myself. It really begins now.
– She sees postnatal women throughout the day, every day. As she let me know, I’m the norm in terms of recovery, weight loss or gain, and general condition overall. So the stress I’ve been feeling to drop my baby weight rapidly has been unnecessary. I told my midwife about a coworker who came back six weeks after having her baby and truly looked like she had not had one. Luckily for me, my midwife has met her once at a mutual friend’s event so my midwife was able to repeat to me again, “You are the norm, she is literally one in 100 women. Be kind to yourself and patient.”
– Roughly seven or so layers were cut through to bring my beautiful baby girl into the world. My midwife explained that it takes a while, sometimes a long while, for all the different layers to heal and it all heals at different rates. And while I may notice nothing changing, my body is in fact changing and healing.
– Scar tissue doesn’t like back bends. This is the lesson that brought me to my midwife’s office in the first place this week. Scar tissue, adhesions, nerves: all are growing, changing, shifting and healing every day. Normal tissue moves with my movements, scar tissue sits like a cement rock and if you pull too hard, it will painfully break apart a little bit. So again, be kind to yourself and patient, she said.
And lastly, she reminded me that despite pressures I feel from coworker’s recovery, gossip magazines, perceived body image expectations of yoga and fitness teachers and my own desire of the shape I want to be, I make beautiful babies. And she’s right. I must accept the gift and be patient and kind to myself.
So like I said, my midwife gives the best hugs. Her words hugged and soothed my soul. Her actual hug gave me kindness, acceptance and courage.