Much of the scrutiny on the post-baby body stems from a superficial interest. That is to say, society pressures you to appear fully recovered from pregnancy with far more urgency than it cares about actual physiological recovery. Many women suffer from lingering physical impacts of pregnancy - but you can't necessarily see all of those injuries. Instead, it becomes a small chipping away of a normal level of function. Unfortunately, many women believe that this is now their new "normal"; they think they have to live with embarrassing body "stuff". But ladies - we don't have to live this way!
Personally, I have a few lingering issues that were either caused or have been exacerbated by pregnancy. During the second half of each pregnancy, I suffered from a condition called symphysis pubis dyusfunction. In laymen's terms, it means that it felt like a horse was kicking my pubic bone with every movement, great or small. It meant that carrying anything was out of the question - including my toddler. It meant that I lived on a set number of spoons - and deciding to go to Target meant that I used all of my spoons for the day - and for the next day. Have you heard of spoons? I started using it to exlain my limitations when I had SPD during pregnancy.
No, my body doesn't look the same way it did before kids. More importantly, it doesn't *work* the same. My diastasis recti means that I can't lift or carry as many things anymore. It means I lack core strength and stability all around, and so I live with chronic back and hip pain. The aftermath of the SPD involves lots of pain in my hips and feet. Generally, my feet have "fallen", and I suspect I have plantar fascitis. Which, in case you were wondering, makes it painful to simply walk. Even seemingly uninvolved systems - like my vision - have been impacted by the strain that two back-to-back pregnancies puts on a body.
And even with all of those complications, I consider myself lucky. An alarming percentage of women live with the daily fear of peeing their pants. Stress incontinence can weaken crucial pelvic floor muscles, leading to a lack of control over when you release your pee. Some women even have issues with being able to poop effectively and without pain.
Let's revisit this. We live in a society where women are taught that it's normal to have to give up ever having a good poop again.
No, honey. You can have kids and still retain your basic bodily function - you deserve to have both. Pelvic floor therapy can do wonders for many women. Women with diastasis recti, like myself, can do physical therapy to slowly heal muscles. If the divide is large enough, surgery is an option. Getting insurance to cover that surgery as necessary, though? That one's a little harder.
It's 2018, and moms still aren't getting fair recovery treatment. As if we needed another reason to demand maternity leave, amirite?
Look, I don't mean for this to be a long whining complaint about my aches and pains. This isn't about me - it's about the millions of women struggling in secret with these (and other) issues. And they deserve to be able to have a normal life, even after pregnancy.