For me and my husband, my pregnancy was a lot like that movie The Thing: We knew only one of us was still human but could never quite figure out which one. So it goes without saying the post-pregnancy recovery was a strange journey that spanned the couch to the bedroom, something like how you might feel after riding the Gravitron: we laughed, we cried, we were very, very queasy.
But since my last postpartum update six months ago, I am feeling evermore like a version of myself I once knew and liked, even in broad daylight. It's true what they say - you can never go home again - but damn it if you can't find a theme park that feels just like it. The deets on my Postpartum State of the Union 26 months in:
Pee-Free Sneeze, If You Please
I can now sneeze like a regular person who sneezes whenever and wherever she pleases with no concern for whether she is wearing tan pants. I can sneeze in the morning, I can sneeze at night, and I can even sneeze while horseback riding or fencing, two things I have never done while sneezing (or at all). I think it's because I finally remembered to do that flexing thing that one time.
Nothing says sexy like large, comfortable panties and a bra your mom gave you, but at least now I can say things in the bedroom have returned to a college-like state, if by college-like you mean that it's either feast or famine and I'm a really cheap date. With a zero alcohol tolerance from still breastfeeding and systematically lowered standards due to sheer exhaustion, one beer gets me giddy and even my most mediocre phoned-in sex feels mind-blowing.
Everyone thinks you don't have sex anymore after a baby and are all upset about it, but the truth is you don't have sex anymore after a baby and you can hardly muster the energy to care, but the few times you do get it going on somehow get you through the next dry spell. Correction after asking my husband: OK, fine, so you DO care, but you can't care in the same way you used to care, because otherwise you're a hyena who is having sex instead of sleeping, or instead of competing over which of you your baby resembles the most or who gets the last fish taco. That's just as fun, right, honey? Honeyyy?
I honestly have no idea if I've lost even a smidge of the 15 lbs I was lugging around post-delivery because I refuse to buy a scale, but aside from the really convenient baby gut, I feel different, and more exercise and movement in general has made what's there shift more proportionally. On a good day, that feels like a svelte stroll through the land of Oh Look, It's Dinner Time And I Didn't Even Feel Hungry. On a bad day, you're back in that forest, clomping around angrily foraging for food. Wait, maybe that's only if you're still breastfeeding.
Breast is Best, Which Is Great Since I Can't Seem to Figure Out How to Stop
Thanks to TIME Magazine's elegant recent cover photo, all continuing breastfeeders are perverse psychopaths, or are we just setting back the cause of feminism? Maybe it's just the ones who live in Los Angeles. Either way, I'm still on the long day's journey into forever because my baby seems to still very much want and need it, and I'm trying to figure out the least impactful exit plan. I really do think there is a self-weaning possibility on the horizon, said the person who has no idea what she is talking about.
Man, can someone call What Not To Wear because somebody cannot bring herself to jump off the frump saddle. I can only buy even more transitional long skirts and very cheap T-shirts that will work both if I go forward into that good night or if I ever find myself back in a place where I can be the old me with just a baggier look. I KNOW, the new me IS ME, but mommy no likey. Mommy upset! I face everything else with clear-eyed realism, OK — I actually like getting older, wrinkles do not fuck me up, etc. — so cut me some mature-blazer slack here. If you get to keep your awful, faded flared jeans from high school then I get to wear my fading frumpy maternity jacket till I die, thank you very much.
B+. Just over two years ago, my husband and I were idiots with a newborn. Two years later, we are idiots with a 2-year-old. If you see us at the park you will notice our matching sunglasses, medium coffees and weary look that screams, "We have no family around to watch our kid for free." Sure, from the outside, it still looks like the old duck, but on the inside, it's a swan swimming 'round the lake practicing her comeback.
Tracy Moore is a writer living in Los Angeles. She's looking for a blazer that says "I still do on occasion read a book, honest." Send suggestions @iusedtobepoor .