I was recently looking through an album we have, with pictures of me and N from the time we started dating, through our engagement, our wedding, the oh so wonderful pregnancy, and finally the year and a half since our little angel was born. The album begins three years ago, and it is amazing to see how many changes can happen in such a short period of time.
I was particularly struck by the difference between two pictures. The first was taken on Chanukah in 2010, when LH was 2 months old; the second exactly a year later. Of course the babe is completely different, but that's to be expected. What shocked me was the huge difference I saw in myself.
In the 2010 picture, I am very skinny, very pale, and just generally sickly-looking. The 2011 picture looks like a completely different person - healthy, happy, clothes that fit, color in the cheeks, and a good weight for my frame.
As soon as I delivered the placenta, my health took a major turn for the better. In normal illnesses, two months is a long time in terms of healing and getting better and looking healthy. And the funny thing is, I really did look healthy two months later - but only in comparison to how I looked while pregnant. Now, looking back, I can't believe that I thought I looked so much better already. How I look now is how I should always look (although I could do without the bags under the eyes).
Women are always asking when they can expect their body to go back to normal after pregnancy and childbirth, and the usual answer I see is that it took nine months to get that way, so you need to give it nine months to get back to how it was. This was actually quite true for me in many ways, too, although excess weight and a flabby stomach were not my issues.
I didn't return to my pre-pregnancy weight until 10 months postpartum. I only had to gain about five kilo to get there, but between the breastfeeding and the eating issues I was having, each kilo was a huge struggle to get and to keep. Part of it was trying to rebuild my lost muscle mass, while at the same time keeping my activity level relatively low in order to conserve calories. Not an easy balance, I can tell you.
But even from the expression on my face you can tell that my outlook has changed. At two months postpartum, if someone had mentioned to me thoughts of having another baby I probably would have had a panic attack. Now, I am much more emotionally healed and have come to terms with the fact that I want more children = I have to have more pregnancies = I run the risk of HG repeating or even worsening. And you know what? Even though I still have a hard time saying 'yes' when someone asks me if it was all worth it, I wouldn't trade my daughter for the world. If there was an easier way to get another little treasure I would take it, but apparently pain and suffering are the way to go.