Same but Different
This is me at 38 weeks pregnant – just shy of 2 weeks before our daughter Lia was born.
My belly has been the topic of discussion and excitement in our household for close to a year now. For most of that time talk has been about the wonder of it’s expansion & round shape. Since baby’s arrival, the conversation has centred around my amazement of how my body has been shrinking and changing. I still have a dark line down my middle and the skin feels so strange. Some days I feel like this is not my body anymore.
I glance in the mirror and I wonder how my face looks just about the same, when I feel so utterly and completely changed. No amount of books, classes and advice could have prepared me for how things have altered over the past weeks and months. I don’t recognise myself, and my thoughts swirl around in my brain during the wee hours, wondering how the person that I used to be can exist at the same time as this new me.
And yet… There are countless days when I look down at our sweet daughter in disbelief and awe.
We made her.
I grew her in my body.
I worried a lot during pregnancy. Whether I was eating too much or too little, being active enough, resting enough. Various weird and wonderful bodily sensations prompted me to Google what on earth was going on (worst idea ever, note to self: don’t ever do that again). I’d wake up and stretch, and worry that I’d somehow hurt the baby. I kept telling myself that once I got to a certain point – 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 28 weeks – the worrying would be done (it wasn’t).
I worried vainly whether my body would ever be the same again.
And maybe it won’t.
Actually, it’s likely it won’t ever be the same at all.
That’s not a bad thing.
I can’t go back to before Lia was born – that life and that version of me doesn’t exist anymore. I need to somehow work out a new normal. For now, I’m enjoying taking this time getting to know our daughter – the other details will figure themselves out. I wake up at 4am, hearing her sweet baby snuffles and my heart melts. I love how pulling her close and focusing on slowing down my breathing can calm her. Her wriggling and cooing (sometimes yelling too) as I change her nappy makes my mouth stretch into a grin every time.
As the sun comes up, I hand her to Mike, and dash to the shower. I catch my eyes in the mirror, they’re are tired, but bright with something I haven’t seen there in quite a while. Contentment. My gaze travels down my body, familiar, but so different. I suddenly realise how proud I am of this body – somehow my body grew this incredible tiny human. My step becomes a bit lighter, and I smile.
Images shot by Charlotte Bryer-Ash