There is a reason I am finally writing this post. I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of emotions, and feel like I'm ready to finally tell my story.
The story I'm going to tell is not one very many people know. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can count the people who know this story on one hand. What I'm going to say is heavy, so fair warning. I'm not looking for a pity party and I'm not fishing for compliments. This is a real story that I hope will help someone else.
Ruth was born in March of 2011. I was so excited to be a mom...to be HER mom, and I was happy as a clam. For about a week.
Ruth didn't want to nurse. She only did for about a week, at which point I reached a level of frustration with the whole thing that I decided I'd rather bottle feed, than be angry all the time. I went back to work 3 weeks after she was born. And it all went downhill from there.
I fell into a deep depression. I don't think a lot of people knew how far I had fallen. I don't like it when people worry about me, so I kept a happy face up. I faked and lied my way through daily conversations about how I was doing. I struggled to get out of bed each morning. I had a hard time encouraging myself to eat. I was always sad. Always crying when no one was looking. I had panic attacks periodically. I eventually reached a point where I had fleeting thoughts of ending my own life. It began one morning on my way to work, where a scary little voice told me how easy it would be to run off the road. Again, I said it would be heavy. I let myself have those thoughts for a week or so before I told Tyson.
In the midst of the depression, I was also dealing with some serious body issues. I didn't realize how much a baby can change a woman's body. I thought I would be back to pre-pregnant me after a few weeks. I was very wrong. I was stretched out, my hips had spread, I had ugly purple lines all over my belly.
I felt fat. And ugly.
Tyson and I talked, and we decided I needed to get off birth control. I thought that would help me balance out. I went off the week before Ruth's first birthday.
It was amazing. Within DAYS I was feeling human again. I wasn't sad. I wasn't crying. I didn't want to end my life.
But I still hated my body.
I got pregnant with Ruby in April of 2012. Again, I was so excited to be having another little person at our house. I knew what to expect.
Or so I thought.
The week before Halloween, I starting having contractions. 4 an hour for 6 hours. I went to the hospital and they tested for an enzyme that is released when the body is preparing for labor. They were certain it would come back negative, so they sent us home. Not ten minutes after we got home, they called saying that it came back positive.
The next morning, I went to the doctor and received a steroid shot to help her lungs develop and was ordered to "take it easy."
I worked up until the day she was born. She was born in January, on a very cold day. And I was so happy again.
And this time, that happy feeling lasted.
But I still hated my body.
Friends and acquaintances left and right were having babies. And looking like they had never been pregnant in the first place. They were out running 5K's and marathons a month after they had given birth. They looked fresh-faced. They had muscle. They had flat tummies. They were skinny.
"So and so has lost so much weight since she had her baby!"
"Look how great she looks! You'd never know she just had a baby!"
"She's so skinny! How lucky!"
And then I looked in the mirror and realized no one would be saying those things about me. I haven't lost much of the weight. I don't look great. I don't look skinny. In fact, most mornings I'd avoid looking in the mirror. The days that I did venture a glance left me feeling low for the rest of the day.
Who is this monster of a woman looking back at me? Look at her stretched out belly. Look at her hips. Look at the ugly purple lines running up and down her calves, her thighs, her belly, her upper arms. (My pregnancy with Ruby had me very swollen the last month.) Look at all of the imperfections that define who she is.
I don't want them to define who I am anymore. I want them to define what I did.
I grew a baby. I grew TWO babies. I spent 18 months total sustaining life. I brought two someone's into this world, who hadn't existed before. I'm helping my husband get through school. I work full time.
Everyone says there's always time to go work out. And I feel so embarrassed when I'm told that's what I should be doing.
I'm working full time. By the time I get home at night, all I want to do is be with my girls. I'd rather hear Ruby's new laugh and Ruth's new words than lift weights. I'd rather color than swim laps. I'd rather read story after story after story than go running.
I'm beginning to love my new body. I will never fit into the jeans I wore in high school. But you know what? I'm okay with that. I like my new jeans. The ones with the spit-up stains from Ruby and the leftover PB&J from Ruth's dinner. The ones that have held sick babies through the night. The ones who have missed a wash or two to make sure the kid's clothes get washed first. They fit better. They fit ME better.
Those purple lines will never go away, but I've EARNED those stripes.
Looking back, I don't remember much of the first year of Ruth's life. I was too deep in my sadness. And that breaks my heart. Those are days, weeks, months that I can't get back.
I'm okay. I'm going to be okay. I love my Ruth and my Ruby. I love Tyson. They love me back, even though a lot of the time I don't deserve it. I am learning to be comfortable in my new skin. This is a tough lesson for me to learn, but I WILL get there.
2 years ago