Postpartum, February 2013

Post­par­tum, Feb­ru­ary 2013

I took a bath.

I know it sounds like one of these “who gives a fuck” Face­book sta­tus updates, but it was my first bath since Mark was born. Oh, don’t worry, I take a shower everyday—I don’t want to per­pet­u­ate the pop­u­lar “French stink and don’t wash” stereo­type. But these days, ‘me’ time, alone in the bath­room, is rare, and I usu­ally rush through the shower much like I rush through every­thing these days.

Hot water and bub­bles plus fancy French beauty prod­ucts equals instant relaxation.

I soaked in the hot water, Mark’s baby bab­ble down­stairs tem­porar­ily muf­fled by the bath­room fan, and took a few deep breaths. I stretched my legs, ran my hands through my hair and got some of my Nuxe facial mask in my eyes—oops.

The smell of the scrub I use when I take a bath reminded me of last sum­mer when, in the third trimester of preg­nancy, I used to take a bath almost every other day in a des­per­ate attempt to ease lower back pain and a myr­iad of other small preg­nancy boo boos.

But this time, I no longer had a big belly bump peek­ing above the water­line. My belly is flat, my breasts even flat­ter—good­bye “preg­nancy  boobs”!

I have my body back for myself even though I don’t always have the time to be by myself these days.

When I first real­ized I was preg­nant, the prac­ti­cal side effects of bak­ing a baby were the least of my wor­ries. I’ve been fat­ter, I’ve been thin­ner, I have worn out my body trav­el­ing and I’ve soothed it with mas­sages when­ever I had the money for this oh-so-pleasant lux­ury. Over­all, I have a fairly healthy rela­tion­ship with my body—even though, like most women, I peri­od­i­cally wish I could fit this tiny pair of trendy skinny jeans and flaunt an out­ra­geous cleavage.

Oh, and I wouldn’t have minded smaller feet as well. Find­ing size 9–10 shoes can be a pain. But I’m 5’7, you can’t rea­son­ably expect me to have tiny Chi­nese feet.

A few months into the preg­nancy, when the baby bump started to show, I freaked out.

Okay, there was some­thing grow­ing inside me. Ahem… was my body meant for two peo­ple? I mean, would it like… expand? Would I end up like a huge balloon?

I went online and read a long litany of preg­nancy– and postpartum-related com­plaints, aches and pains. Acne, stretch marks, exces­sive body hair, hem­or­rhoids, con­sti­pa­tion, clum­si­ness, dizzi­ness, heart­burn, hair loss, stuffy nose, sore breasts… and these were just a few benign if icky side effects, apparently.

I read forum threads where expert moms described babies as small but lethal weapons of mass destruc­tion who destroy your body and pretty much kill your fuck­a­bil­ity. “But it is worth it in the end,” said most of these woman. “You have a baby! A cute lit­tle baby!”

I’m a mar­ried woman, but a French mar­ried woman. And at 29 years old, I sure didn’t want my fuck­a­bil­ity to be destroyed. And call me shal­low but I like my body, and I resolved to pro­tect it against the baby invasion.

I decided to fight back.

I exer­cised. I ate healthy. I mas­saged my round belly and thighs with almond oil to pre­vent stretch marks. And I kept my fin­ger crossed that I would get my body back, even though it wasn’t the body of a super­model to start with.

Well, ladies and… ladies (because I doubt gen­tle­men care!), I’m happy to tell you that you can indeed “recover” from nine months of pregnancy.

I did expe­ri­ence some icky preg­nancy side effects, the most annoy­ing ones being con­sti­pa­tion (seri­ously not funny) and sore breasts (I couldn’t even touch them in the first trimester!).

I have a few old and almost faded stretch marks from my teen years on my thighs but I didn’t get a sin­gle addi­tional one with this preg­nancy. I think using cream every day really helped! My belly came back to its nor­mal state and I don’t have extra skin hang­ing out. The only small dif­fer­ence I see is that my navel pierc­ing is a bit loose—I didn’t take it out when I was preg­nant though, no need too.

This is not to brag I have a per­fect body—far from that. This is just a mes­sage of hope to the women who are preg­nant or who want to become preg­nant and are bid­ding good­bye to their body. Sure, preg­nancy and hav­ing a baby changes you in tons of small ways. But your body is smart and it adjusts accordingly.

Four months after giv­ing birth, I’m back to “nor­mal”, what­ever “nor­mal” was. Preg­nancy is not a disease—it’s an expe­ri­ence, and your body will deal with it.

Postpartum, February 2013

Post­par­tum, Feb­ru­ary 2013

The Belly

The Belly

Hard to Believe He Fitted Inside Me!

Hard to Believe He Fit­ted Inside Me!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Look­ing great!!

    (But be warned, ladies — more dam­age often hap­pens dur­ing sub­se­quent pregnancies…)

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