Can we really recover from pregnancy and c-section?
I like to describe myself as someone who helps women who have given birth by c-section. I try to avoid talking about recovery after a cesarean. Why? Because for me recovery means to have something that we have lost or has been taken away from us. I find in many women this feeling of having lost their body after pregnancy and childbirth. Our body has been damaged and therefore it is important to return to our previous being.
When we look for “pregnancy recovery” in the web we find lots of images of smiling mothers explaining they are happy because they have managed to wear their old jeans or bikinis. There are trainers that promise you will have a flat belly again and you will lose all the extra weight. It seems it is important to erase all the external marks that a woman has gone through this stage. A human being was formed whole within her body and she opened herself in one way or another for this new being to enter this world. This event has to change our bodies, our perception of the world and our life. So, have we really lost our body and we need to recover it, or has it become a different body? The body of a mother. The body of someone who brought life into this world.
Instead of feeling proud of what they have created, many women feel ashamed of their body. Their mind constantly goes back to the past to compare their present body with the body they remember. They want the extra kilos, stretch marks and scars to disappear. They are thinking about recovery. And in that process, there is a disconnection from the body they have now. The mind can travel to the past, be in the present and fly to the future, but the body can only be in the present, here and now.
Don’t get me wrong, after all the process of pregnancy and delivery, vaginal or cesarean, women need to look after their body. It has changed. They have changed. It is a different body and they are a different woman. We want to live painlessly and feeling strong, capable, comfortable in our skin. This is a great opportunity to gain awareness and connection with our body. We need more than ever to take care of ourselves, exercise, nurture and heal ourselves. Now that we know ourselves better, we can improve the relationship with our body.
But, is recovery possible? Is it worthwhile to look back at our pre-pregnancy body, while we can reconnect with our body now? I would like to talk, instead of about recovering, about feeling better in my body now.
I encourage all women to honour their experience. Especially if it was traumatic and if the changes you notice in your body have been huge. I want you to ask yourself if you can go back. If you can be the person you were before having children. And what is more important, I want you to ask yourself if you want to go back and lose what you have achieved in terms of growth or learning: the experience of becoming a mother, the wisdom it brought, the love in all its complexity.
It is time to accept and respect our bodies. It is time to focus on what you want to gain, not to regain. Not only from a physical point of view, also from an emotional and spiritual one.
Now, I have the body of a mum.
I have a scar on my belly.
I accept the challenges that came with them.
They are part of the experience that made me what I am now.
I am grateful for the love and the wisdom that came with them.
I don’t need to recover my old body. I just need to take care of the body I have now.