Postpartum, sex is non-existent when you are at the mercy of a body you no longer understand.
Periods return with a vengeance. Punishing you for their time away. So heavy and unpredictable, you are afraid to leave the house.
Stitches and scars mark a body you no longer recognise as your own. Deflated breasts that once marked the anticipation of life no longer stand proud and perky, instead they remind you of the struggles of breast feeding; a screaming child, toe-curling pain and tears.
So many tears.
You wonder if it reminds him of your failures too.
Stretch marks line your tummy, purple and pronounced, they are still fresh. Rippling across a spongey looseness that are your abdominal muscles. You miss the blossoming of pregnancy. The ever-rising bump, taut and proud. Marks will fade and your tummy will tighten, until you have the next one. Battle scars layer one on top of the other.
Laughs, coughs and sneezes all now to be approached with caution. Trousers dark to avoid embarrassing leaks. Counting and holding, Kegel exercises rule the day but you can’t even feel the pelvic floor. You are convinced it left your body with the baby.
Bravery is what he calls it, but you know it as pride.
Pride in a body, which is powerful and strong. It knows just what to do, adapting and growing, producing life.
You can’t understand it, even though it happened to you. You felt it; every wave of sheer force rippling through your abdomen, you felt the cord cascade after the mass left your body. You felt the relief.
But still months later when the haze of hormones sustaining you has cleared, you are in awe of the body that created your baby boy.